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Friday, January 15, 2010

Zanzabar Turns Ten

Zanzabar Turns Ten

A photo of Zanzabar taken in 1999 after its 1.2 million dollar renovation.

Photo: Courtesy of Zanzabar

Zanzabar Nightclub hit its 10-year milestone last December and though many new bars have sprung up around Oahu, business has seemed remarkably consistent at Zanzabar throughout the years.

The space originally opened 20 years ago as Maharaja, but in the winter of 1999, it was renovated and re-opened as Zanzabar. At the time, Scruples, The Wave, Studebaker’s and Pipeline were the only major clubs on Oahu.  Remember those days? Over the years, 1.8 million people have passed through Zanzabar’s doors.

So, how do they do it?  James Boersema, a managing partner, explains, “I think it is because we attract a varied crowd that consists of locals, tourists and the military.  We can do that partly due to our location in Waikiki because that is really the only place where all three audiences congregate.” Zanzabar also has a simple name that can’t be confused with any other clubs. And, a rarity these days, it was designed as a true nightclub, unlike the many restaurants-turned-nightclubs we see today. 

Since Zanzabar’s 1999 opening, Level 4, Pearl, Mai Tai Bar, Thirtyninehotel, Bar 35, Soho, Black Diamond, The Shack Waikiki, Oceans, Bonsai, Senor Frogs, and Lotus Soundbar have all opened and I still see lines out Zanzabar’s door. I’d say Zanzabar definitely deserves some recognition.

Posted on Friday, January 15, 2010 in Permalink

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About This Column

This Kamehameha Schools and UH graduate manages the website for HONOLULU. In her free time she researches Hawaiian genealogy, when she’s not out and about or taking care of her 5-year-old son. She blogs about Honolulu bars, Hawaii nightlife and entertainment.

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