That's it, the place on the corner?" asked Mr. Los Angeles. "King King? It looks like a Chinese restaurant."

"Well, it used to be," said his niece Tammi," but now it's this neat club that I've been telling you about. Look, we're in luck - there's a spot right in front."

From time to time during the past few years, Mr. Los Angeles and Amy, his significant other, had attempted to introduce his sister's daughter to some of the more interesting spots around town. Now Tammi intended to return the favor.

Their first excursion under her supervision had bought them to this Oriental fa?ade at 6th and La Brea.

"Seems like an odd location for a night spot," Mr. Los Angeles said as he parallel parked

"Not at all," Tammi informed him. "You've got the Pikme-up coffee bar right next door and some ex-employees of Wolfgang Puck's have recently opened a restaurant and bakery up the block. The neighborhood's catching on."

King King's smokey interior was done up in vivid colors. The bar was painted with horizontal bands of yellow, green, red and black. The pillars were striped with symmetrical designs that might have been South American. Decals from the mysterious East adorned the walls, the pagoda lamps hung from the ceiling.

"Isn't it just like a movie set?" Tammi asked. "China Smith," Mr. Los Angeles said, "starring Dan Duryea."

The crowd at King King was nearly as colorful as the décor. Many wore brightly patterned sport shirts with the tropical target motifs. There were artist types in paint-splattered T-shirts, college kids in safari shorts and budding beatniks in black berets. A young brunette clad in a leather jacket studied the contents of an old Seeburg jukebox that probably contained everything from Little Milton to the Andrews Sisters. To her left, two skateboards were stashed behind the lectern near the entrance where incomers paid a $6 cover to a genial host in a stingy-brim straw hat.

"I saw the singer Tom Waits in here last month," Tammi said. "Was he looking for the heart of Saturday night?" her uncle asked. "Why don't we sit down," Amy suggested.

They slid into a red vinyl banquette with a view of the raised stage on which a six-piece band was tuning up. Drums, trombone, vibraphone, amplified acoustic guitar, percussion and stand-up bass traded warmup tones in front of a dramatic red-and-gold Chinese mural.

"Who are these fellows?" Mr. Los Angeles asked. "They're the house Latin jazz band," Tammi answered. "Uh huh," he said. Amy patted his arm reassuringly.

The band's opener was Jobim's "Wave," launched at a swaying midtempo, with a collective sound pitched at some pleasant point between mellow and raucous. The mallet man picked out patterns with sure abandon, and the trombonist had a nice rough-edged burry tone. "What do you think?" Amy asked. "They can play," Mr. Los Angeles conceded.

Their second number was faster, hotter, more rhythmic, punctuated, with brief vocal chants. The six had been joined by a tall guest percussionist called Long John. The trombone player traded his horn for a violin and played it with controlled frenzy. A powerful solo spiraled out of the amplified guitar. This admirable energy level was sustained for the next 20 minutes, and then the band took a break.

"Congratulations Tammi," Mr. Los Angeles said, "I admit I had my doubts at first, but it looks like you've come up with a winning hangout."