Remember watching the classic movie The Big Chill? Yes, it was the movie about a group of idealistic college buddies who had not seen each other for years. They reunite, reconnect and reminisce about the good ol’ days.
The Big Chill, at Rumours Nightclub at the Ala Moana Hotel, was named after the classic movie. Malcolm Sur, the creator, original DJ and boogie man himself says he named the weekly event “The Big Chill” because he wanted a place where his friends could hang out, have a great time and party— something he felt Honolulu was lacking in the ‘80s.
The Big Chill, home to the longest running nightclub in the state, is party central every Friday night. “Simply put, it’s all about the music,” Sur says.
The passion for good music from “back in the day” still lives strong every Aloha Friday, from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. For Friday-night regular, Jodi from Mililani, who has been coming to The Big Chill for more than 20 years, dancing is the greatest way to stay in good health and enjoy herself with good friends. “I’m with my girls, and no worries about work,” she says. “It’s Friday night!”
Since 1984, Rumours Night Club has been a hotspot for company parties, class reunions and pau hana with friends. If you like to boogie down, it’s the place to go. The club has an extensive collection of hits from the ‘60s and ‘70s—from Motown and Marvin Gaye to The Temptations and Earth Wind & Fire. Then there are the “let’s get on the dance floor” songs by Rick James, Kool & The Gang and, of course, the King of Pop, Michael Jackson.
According to Malcolm, there are people who have been coming to the club since day one. He calls them the “Original Chillers.” In fact, he heard of a story about an original chiller who recently passed away on the Mainland and in his obituary headline read, “Original Chiller is Gone.”
Twenty-four years after opening, Malcom is starting to see some old familiar faces. The 20-somethings from the ‘80s are now empty nesters and are entering retirement. They have more free time … and they’re looking for a good time. Many of them are finding their way back to one of their favorite haunts, dancing the night away to the tunes of their times. Even Yvonne Elliman, a celebrated Hawai‘i recording artist from the ‘70s, still loves to come down to Rumours and groove to tunes like, “Play That Funky Music White Boy.”
With new general manager Vince Depietro and assistant manager Pauline Keb, expect more to come in terms of parties. “Rumours Night Club and The Big Chill has withstood the test of time and the locals love our easy parking at the Ala Moana Center,” Keb says. She books parties in the club’s two private party rooms, which are always great for celebrating birthdays, class reunions, retirement parties and even yakudoshi.
As the writer of this article, I’m also a regular patron of Rumours. I love the energy my fellow baby boomers still exhibit in their middle years. In fact, I celebrated my 50th yakudoshi at the Big Chill. What a party we had!