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NIGHTLIFE

The Enabler

June 12, 2008

For those who think that alcohol makes karaoke easier, Caffe Brass Monkey would suggest that you think again. Ask the guy who, on a recent Thursday night, tried to make it through Jay-Z's "Girls, Girls, Girls." "I got this young chick," the aspirant Hova slurred. "She so immature. She like, 'Why you don't buy me Reeboks' . . . Dang, I'm drunk." That last part was not in the original.

The interior of the Monkey resembles a Swiss chalet remodeled with fast winnings from the Nikkei Index. Beneath the sloped wooden ceiling, all the tiny tables face the platform at the end of the room that serves as the stage. One wonders how the weirdly fratty crowd managed to find the entrance (tucked behind a sagging strip mall next to the sorrowful hole left by the Ambassador Hotel), and why hulking goombahs sometimes lurk uncomfortably close to single female singers.

But the cramped quarters and general mayhem usually make quick friends of everyone. When someone nails Journey's "Don't Stop Believin'," like one ambitious woman did in the wee hours, the room becomes electric. But trust the Enabler when we say that tackling Steve Perry is not for amateurs.

3440 Wilshire Blvd., (213) 381-7047

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-- theguide@latimes.com

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