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O.C. Clubs | Wanna Dance?

Smooth Operators, No Rough Edges

November 26, 1998|GENA PASILLAS | SPECIAL TO THE TIMES

It's late on a Tuesday evening and you're slicked out in your best duds. A quiet ride down to the coast brings you to Studio Cafe, the lively Huntington Beach seafood restaurant that transforms once a week into a swanky nightclub.

Your body sways in the darkness, obeying the groove of a deep hypnotic beat. Man, you're smooth--you're at Club Smooth.

Red light drizzles from the disco ball onto the dance floor. People spill over the tiny 20-by-20-foot space, but most everyone is accommodated.

DJs Eric Cubiche and Danny Love, armed with a stockpile of vinyl records on a recent evening, used 1980s mix-and-scratch techniques with funky tunes from the '90s, awakening the break dancers among the crowd. Remember the popular '80s dance style of simulated robotic movements and "moon walking" across the floor? Heaven help us--the mania has returned here.

This out-of-control retro movement doesn't stop in the '80s, either. In fashion terms, Club Smooth takes us back another decade: You won't hear anyone singing about the carwash, but you'll surely spy a butterfly collar or two--and, perhaps, an afro. Still, those not flattered by polyester will be relieved to know that Club Smooth welcomes almost any attire (gang garb excluded).

Club Smooth may appear small and cramped at first glance, but you'll soon discover ample space for schmoozing. A roomy patio, kept toasty by heat lamps this time of year, is the perfect place to strike up a conversation or simply gaze at the ocean.

You may even meet a special someone. Test some of those sure-fire come-ons where they can be heard--and where the deck is already stacked. Few can resist the romance of an ocean view, especially after dark with the pier lights dance off rippling water.

The Club Smooth bar offers $2 bottled beers and well drinks from 9 to 11 p.m. ($3 thereafter).

If love doesn't follow romance or booze, try food. After all, the shortest route to a man's heart is through his stomach, or so they say.

The Studio Cafe kitchen serves appetizers ($3-$7) until 10 p.m. (the fried calamari comes highly recommended). Those who can do without the grease can turn to the sushi bar ($5-$10), which serves until 10 p.m.

BE THERE

Club Smooth, at Studio Cafe, 300 Pacific Coast Highway, Huntington Beach; (714) 536-8775. Tuesdays, 9 p.m.-2 a.m. Cover: $5, $7 after 11 p.m.

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