I found out a couple of weeks ago that one of my favorite dance music venues would be closing its doors. I have a lot of memories of eleven44. To me, it brought a level of sophistication to underground genres of dance music in Hawaii’s nightlife scene.
While clubs like Addiction, The M and The District all have raised the bar on visual aesthetics, I had a soft spot for the musical contributions that eleven44 brought to the table. Nights with themes like “Garden of Heathens” and the monthly Party After Dark provided an opportunity for Honolulu club-goers to experience musical genres usually reserved for secret after-hours events or a select few venues in larger cities around the world. The indoor cabana and large VIP area behind the DJ booth reminded me of the most upscale venues in NYC and Miami, yet drink prices were reasonable.
The party, of course, will go on, and promoters will be able to take their concepts elsewhere, but eleven44 gave a lot of DJs and promoters the opportunity to prove their skills and ideas in a space with a large dance floor and incredible sound system. Plus, an outside patio area and bar in a second room offered a place for mingling, flirting and meeting new people without the musical intensity of the main room.
While I’m sad to see the club go, it is nothing new for places to change ownership and direction. Before eleven44 came to 1144 Bethel St., the space had been occupied by two bars, The Venue and BambuTwo, which both offered their own flair to the Honolulu nightlife scene. When eleven44 took over both and combined them into one large venue, it had large shoes to fill.
But these types of changes also mean there are exciting opportunities for updating and rethinking the concept of a night out. I hope that whoever takes over the space pays as much attention to detail and quality in the sound and musical selection and that made eleven44 stand out. I’m looking forward to seeing what is in store.
As one door closes, another always opens: Scarlet Honolulu has taken the place of The Fix, formerly SoHo Mixed Media Bar and before that, Club Pauahi. Scarlet is an upscale club that seeks to expand Honolulu’s LGBT club scene from Waikiki venues like Hula’s Bar and Lei Stand, Bacchus Waikiki and Fusion. Perhaps this new club will help increase the diversity of clientele that is drawn to Chinatown. I’m also looking forward to the acts and themed events that this larger venue is capable of hosting.
It’s an exciting time for nightlife in Honolulu and it will be interesting to see what happens over the next few months.