Ocean Club Prepares to Close Doors

Mel Holi, general manager
Mel Holi, general manager

HONOLULU (KHNL) - Another longtime landmark business at Restaurant Row is shutting down. First Sunset Grill, now Ocean Club. The Club will hold its last party in exactly one week.

Ocean Club is one of the oldest tenants at Restaurant Row. After ten years serving as one of the main anchors at the plaza, Ocean's sudden shut down has some nearby business owners worried about what this may mean for them.

Just when Ocean lands a spot in an industry magazine's top 100 nightclubs & bars in the United States for 2007, failed negotiations over lease terms forces the club to shut down.

"I've just been here for so long and it's tough getting over this," says Ocean Club employee Jonathan Poynter

"The mood has been pretty somber around here, a lot of people are upset," says Ocean General Manager Mel Holi.

The sudden closure has some neighboring businesses at Restaurant Row worried.

"It just concerns me because if someone big like Ocean Club leaves, then it just brings some kind of doubt," says Restaurant Row tenant Hazel Lee.

Doubt over what's in store for other business owners once their lease is up.

New tenants at Restaurant Row feel secure.

"We're not worried because we have a long lease, it's a 10-year lease," says Jalemar Sagaysay, co-owner of Pasta Basta.

While new tenants at Restaurant Row feel secure, Ocean's closure has older tenants on edge.

"It's just really tough for businesses over here. And unless you can have your own draw then it becomes even more difficult if you're going to be depending on places like Ocean Club to bring you some business," says Lee.

Holi would not say why they couldn't agree on lease terms with their landlord, but did say Restaurant Row's rent is rising.

"Real estate market is just skyrocketing here and a lot of small businesses just can't keep up with it anymore," Holi says.

While Ocean's last party is next Saturday, the club officially closes next Sunday.

Ocean hopes to take its business elsewhere. The club is in negotiations right now to open a new venue next year at an undisclosed location.