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The Monsoon Room\'s two-year anniversary

DJ trifecta will shack the tiny hut Tuesday

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We denizens of Tacoma like to imagine ourselves as residents of an actual metropolis. We nod appreciatively in the direction of Sixth Avenue and downtown. But this is all so much hallucination; for, as anyone who has ever left Tacoma for any reason knows, the City of Destiny just doesn’t stack up yet.

This, naturally, is part of its charm.  We have cute little nicknames for areas that aren’t as big as some Los Angeles parking garages.  What culture we’ve managed to acquire fights to avoid being smothered by Tacoma’s ubiquitous, leaden conservatism.

But sometimes you find yourself in a place that takes you away, far away from 15th and Fawcett — a place such as The Monsoon Room, smack dab in the Hilltop neighborhood.  This is a Big City Bar if ever there was one.

It’s freakin’ cool.  I live there.

Laura Malone of Tacoma opened this tiny, ultra-hip lounge two years ago on the corner of 11th and J Street.  Asian and African cultural motifs rule, washed in reds and greens, and lit by an army of candles.   A handful of bamboo-topped tables are a body’s length from the concrete-topped bar.  Red curtains hover above.  Palms, ferns, orchids and Martin Denny album covers add exotica, although Coltrane and Miles Davis battle acid jazz for airplay overhead. 

Malone’s’ close connections to the service industry and artistic community helped get this joint off the ground, albeit three years in the works.  Her friend Oliver Doriss designed the glass bamboo chandelier, as well as spins Friday nights as DJ Broam.  Chris the bartender knows his way around a cocktail, which may arrive on the exotic side with fresh herbs, spices and fruits.

Malone and crew will celebrate two years of making Tacoma cool with a May Day party featuring DJs Professor Alpinski, Uncle Eli and Broam working the tiny hut Tuesday, May 1 at 8 p.m.

[The Monsoon Room, 11th and J Street, Hilltop Tacoma,]

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