In the Mix

Pipeline Cafe to close

January 22nd, 2011

FL Morris / 2010

New Orleans rockers MUTEMATH perform at Pipeline Cafe last August. The nightclub will shut down Feb. 1 after more than a decade in business.

Pipeline Cafe will close in February after more than a decade of hosting concerts, parties, fundraisers and other events, the nightclub’s current owner confirmed Friday.

Greg Azus took over in 2008 and continued to promote a variety of events, putting extra emphasis on live music and stand-up comedy. He also expanded the club’s food menu and opened for lunch to service office workers in surrounding neighborhoods.

In December, City and County of Honolulu fire inspectors cut the legal capacity of the venue to 299 people from 951 after finding several violations. At the time, Azus said fire sprinklers over a 2003 expansion area were not connected to an adequate water supply. Pipeline also developed the expansion without a building permit.

“The time it would take to get that work done was estimated at six weeks,” Azus said yesterday. “We could have stayed open; we just would have still had the minimum occupancy. But to pay the rent and get that (fix to the sprinklers) done at the same time would be (financially) impossible.

“I’m disappointed, obviously. I wish I had done better. But I’ve already borrowed a big amount just to get the club, so I’ve got to pay that back. I’m already (at risk of) losing my house.”

Star-Advertiser / 2010

The crowd outside Pipeline last month before Mickey Avalon performed at the Kakaako club.

Pipeline will host a handful of events over the next 10 days before auctioning off whatever is physically left in the club on Feb. 5. Comedian Lachlan Patterson will perform at 7 p.m. next Wednesday; stand-up comic Jim Jefferies will follow at 7 p.m. next Friday, and hip-hop artist Trina will perform during Hot Lava Entertainment’s “Pro Jam ’11” next Saturday (doors open at 10 p.m.). Azus said he will also host a $3-everything, liquor liquidation party on Jan. 31.

After being forced to scramble and relocate multiple concerts after news of Pipeline’s problems came to light, BAMP Project’s Matty Hazelgrove wasn’t surprised to hear news of the confirmation.

“We were not too surprised,” he wrote via e-mail yesterday. “Several weeks ago, we were advised not to book any future shows past February.

“Pipeline was instrumental for a company like us to get a foothold in Hawaii. We have had great times there and made a lot of relationships that we will carry with us for years to come.

“I’m actually in Virginia prepping for a wedding of Jacob Marshall (from the band MAE), who is now one of my closest friends. Without Pipeline, this relationship would have never had occurred.”

FL Morris / 2010

The Used performed in front of a packed house at Pipeline last January.

Pipeline was a favorite of promoters and concert fans alike, due to its somewhat neutral decor and ability to host a wide variety of events. Also important was a liquor license that allowed drinks to be served until almost 4 a.m. From 2001 until about 2006, the club was packed to capacity nearly every weekend; even mid-week events would attract hundreds of party people to Kakaako.

“I think Pipeline is an important part of the concert-going community,” said Cedric Duarte, local sales manager at Ohana Broadcasting Company (KDDB-FM, KPOI-FM, KQMQ-FM, KUMU-FM) and a regular visitor to the club since it opened in December 1999, earlier today. “At Pipeline you could go see a rock show, a reggae show and a hip-hop show all in the same week, and the crowds would range from a couple hundred to more than a thousand people.

“Being indoors, they could control the elements. The party would go on, regardless of the weather outside.”

Star-Advertiser / 2010

The scene at Pipeline during a "Neon Foam Party" last October.

It's not clear whether Pipeline will open under new ownership. Azus would not comment on whether other parties are interested in taking over the space, deferring all questions about the future of the building to landowner Kamehameha Schools.

“In the interim, there are probably going to be fewer shows until a new venue can open up,” Duarte said. “But whenever one venue closes, another one or two pop up.

“For a long time, Nimitz Hall and World Cafe were the spots. And then when they closed, Pipeline showed up. Ultimately, another venue will open and replace them someday.

“I think this affects me more personally,” he continued. “I remember the shows and being there with my friends having a good time. I’m going to miss it.”

Star-Advertiser / 2010

"Basics" went down at the club last October.

9 Responses to “Pipeline Cafe to close”

  1. Anonymous:

    This is sad. Pipelines is a great venue. Fat Freddy's Drop (last July) was insane. One of the best acts to play at Pipelines. I wish things could have worked out for the owners. Aloha!

  2. Leeg3g:

    They had a good sound system there. Shame.

  3. Kalihiv_girl2:

    well where is the next place to be called a the hot spot to hang out for that age gap/group I hope another corp will take over and keep the pipe open for business.

  4. Bradley George:

    I think you are looking for, sexy fun party and music place on Honolulu

  5. Bradley George:

    I think you are looking for, sexy fun party and music place on Honolulu

  6. Bradley George:

    I think you are looking for, sexy fun party and music place on Honolulu

  7. Bradley George:

    I think you are looking for, sexy fun party and music place on Honolulu

  8. Big Al:

    I've promoted numerous shows there, and have met some of the best people there. Gonna miss everybody Jed, Pepe, Andres, etc. When Chip ran it, it was a different atmosphere from Gregs... But none the less an awesome time all around. Good food, drinks, music. Groundation, Atmosphere, Mos Def, Midnite, etc. have rocked that spot. Now everyones going to Aloha Towers or Kaakaako Amphitheater. We'll miss you pipeline. Alojahs

  9. JM:

    Great story JG.

    "Kalihiv_girl2" -- Visit for concert-specific event postings.
    Aloha Tower, 4Play, Showbox, Anna Obrien's, Kakaako Waterfront, Blaisdell, Waikiki Shell, Boardrider's, Next Door...
    Hawaii still has lots of concert venues and new ones always pop up too.

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