Food & Drink

Downbeat Diner and Lounge
Image: Downbeat Diner and Lounge

The Beat Goes On. With Meat Patties.

Downbeat Diner is a gift to the hungry club-goers of Chinatown.

Downbeat Diner and Lounge / Depleted after making party faces at Next Door? Are things certainly not right with you after you got done getting right at Manifest? Too shaken and popped after a night at thirtyninehotel?

The after-effects of a night in Chinatown cannot be solved by a simple block-long stumble to your vehicle from Mercury, theVenue, Indigo, Lotus or the Dragon Upstairs.

Hey hipster, you don’t need more cigarettes or camera phone photographs to twitpic. You need to sober up and get food.

Until now, the nearest source of sustenance in the wee small hours of the morning was at Zippy’s Vineyard and let’s face it, that place is gross and ghetto. (Sorry, Rod Tam.) A hop, skip and a dougie away from all these aforementioned establishments is Downbeat Diner and Lounge.

Yes, alkies it’s also a lounge. They have a full bar if you need continuous inebriation during your meal. Not like we’re judging though. A can of PBR goes good with diner fare. Getting its own spot in the drinks section of the menu is Red Bull ($3). That’s an option you ain’t gonna get from Likelike Drive-In.

As for the food, already a favorite that one craves like a Korean chicken plate or a Zip Min is Downbeat’s take on the loco moco ($7). Made with “hapa rice” (both white and brown), the patty comes in both Big Island free range beef and vegan. Purists take note: The sauce isn’t beef stock so you’re not counteracting all the healthiness. Also available are good old-fashioned American, Western and Teriyaki burgers ($7.50–$8.50).

Another option on the menu is the BLAT, a bacon (or vegan bacon), lettuce, avocado and tomato sandwich on sourdough ($7.50). Not sure how it’s pronounced but rest assured, it has nothing to do with the Filipino slang word. (Go look it up or ask a Pinoy buddy.)

The sides are all made for sharing and picking while sobering up. The Cajun fries ($4) have an alcohol-sucking spice sprinkled over it but there’s also kosher salt and fresh garlic options. Those wanting their potatoes in a different way can get the homemade Hash Browns, which brings one back to being on a farm in the Mid-West.

For those requiring sweet not salty, the desserts are terrific. Otto’s cheesecake is available as is a basket of apple fritters with caramel sauce. (Both $5.) And believe it or not, vegan apple fritters are also there too.

If you haven’t already noticed, the prices are extremely affordable, covenient for the usually budget-strapped nocturnal lifestyle. The decor gives the diner-theme a new spin with the vinyl booths emblazoned with a black and white design depicting legendary artists and entertainers like Frida Kahlo, Elvis Costello, Bill Murray and even Israel Kamakawiwoole. The owners and staff understand their community and clientele so service is friendly and welcoming as well as hip and tattoo-ed.

We’re not saying that Downbeat Diner and Lounge is the greatest restaurant to drop on the island since Morimoto’s. We’re just saying that it’s the greatest restaurant to drop into Chinatown after midnight. How long before other food-minded entrepeneurs throw their chef hats into the nightfly ring?

42 N. Hotel St., Mon.–Thu., 11am–3am, Fri. & Sat., 11am–4am, [downbeatdiner.com], 533-2328