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Best of 2001: Best Arab Music Nightspot

Hajji Baba's
1065 Fourth Avenue, Downtown
619-595-7887

During the daytime, Hajji Baba's is a normal Mediterranean restaurant. Shish kebobs, Greek salads, gyros. But Thursday, Friday, and Saturday nights, the place transforms. Musicians arrive. Tablas (bongo-like drums) come out. The dance floor is cleared, and a three-piece band (guitar, tabla, and synthesizer), which can sound like traditional Arab flutes (mizmar), violins, and the oud (an18-string guitar) starts playing to that hypnotic Middle Eastern rhythm. One-two and one, two. If you're lucky, Sohaila -- real name, Jo Ellen Handelsman, of Escondido -- will be there. "Without knowing Arabic, I have a feeling for the music," she says. She's so good she travels three or four times a year to dance in the Middle East. Often, customers get up and dance spontaneously. Music Thursday, Friday, Saturday, around 7:00 p.m. to close.

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Hajji Baba's
1065 Fourth Avenue, Downtown
619-595-7887

During the daytime, Hajji Baba's is a normal Mediterranean restaurant. Shish kebobs, Greek salads, gyros. But Thursday, Friday, and Saturday nights, the place transforms. Musicians arrive. Tablas (bongo-like drums) come out. The dance floor is cleared, and a three-piece band (guitar, tabla, and synthesizer), which can sound like traditional Arab flutes (mizmar), violins, and the oud (an18-string guitar) starts playing to that hypnotic Middle Eastern rhythm. One-two and one, two. If you're lucky, Sohaila -- real name, Jo Ellen Handelsman, of Escondido -- will be there. "Without knowing Arabic, I have a feeling for the music," she says. She's so good she travels three or four times a year to dance in the Middle East. Often, customers get up and dance spontaneously. Music Thursday, Friday, Saturday, around 7:00 p.m. to close.

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4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs
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