Jed Roa moves from Pipeline to Showbox
The former part-owner of Pipeline Cafe served as general manager under new owner Greg Azus until the Kakaako nightclub’s final night of business on Monday, when everything at the bar was $3 and an all-star lineup of Clubland veterans showed up to pay their respects.
“It was pretty good all night long,” Roa said earlier this week. “A lot of old employees came though, so that was cool.”
The very last moves in the Pipeline endgame come this weekend, when a public auction will be held to sell off all furnishings, kitchen equipment, glassware, lighting, electronics, memorabilia and more. Preview viewings are scheduled from noon to 3 p.m. today and 8 to 10 a.m. tomorrow; the first item will go up for bid shortly after 10 a.m.
Once the auction is finished, Roa will be able to finally close the book on his Pipeline days and look ahead to the future — one that may very well include him working at multiple venues in Honolulu.
He’ll start that journey next weekend with the grand opening of Showbox Honolulu (pictured at right), a 7,400-square-foot space on Dillingham Boulevard formerly known as Coyote Nights. And while he wouldn’t comment on the record, Roa hinted that a number of other venue owners also wanted him to apply the same type of makeover to their businesses.
“The way I look at it, there are many people who have multiple locations as owners and I can do the same thing,” said Roa. “I don’t have to own it, but I can still do all the work.
And obviously, they wouldn’t be calling me if they didn’t need help.”
COYOTE NIGHTS originally opened in 2006 to much fanfare and buzz over its custom sound system that reportedly cost more than $100,000 to buy and install in the split-level space. Having a liquor license to serve drinks until 4 a.m. didn't hurt, either.
As I wrote back then:
First impression: This spot will be great for concerts. It's not as big as Pipeline, but definitely has more space than venues like the Wave and Anna Bannanas. The room has a high ceiling, with a second floor lounge that would be perfect for VIP seating.
I was also blown away by the sound and lighting rig, installed by Creative Sound's Jeff Kang. DJ Mike D took the night off from Pipeline to come and spin on Saturday, and marveled at the power and sound quality. More than $100,000 went into the system, which includes a 10-foot video screen and eight double 18-inch subwoofer cabinets.
But the owner of the club, a Korean woman known only by the name Su, couldn’t get the operation off the ground and things fizzled out pretty quick. In recent years, the local Micronesian and Marshallese communities have served as the main sources of customers, causing Coyote Nights to all but disappear off the radars of mainstream club kids.
Fast forward to 2011, and Su has enlisted Roa to give her place a facelift. The new club will seem familiar to Pipeline customers from its early days (1999-2002) who remember how the entertainment lineup would vary pretty drastically from night to night and week to week.
“Right now, we’re looking at live rock on Fridays, while Saturdays will be more hip-hop with a DJ,” said Roa. “Some salsa people want to come in, and Dancing Dave Productions wants to do some jazz. Micah G wants to do some reggae, too.
“And I’ve already called Rex Navarette. Being that close to Kalihi, it’s a guaranteed sell-out.”
With a listed capacity of just over 400 people, Showbox hopes to fill a void for some of the medium-sized concerts that would be too small for Blaisdell Arena. Some 70 parking stalls will be repurposed as a valet lot on the weekends, and Roa said he’ll stand firm in keeping all events 21-and-over.
“It’s just easier to deal with,” he said. “I’m just happy to have a venue where we can do big events.”
OF PIPELINE'S 60 former employees, about 15 were being considered for positions at Showbox. Along with keeping Honolulu’s concert scene alive, Roa hopes success at his new club will be a way to keep more people employed.
“The people I’ve worked with, I know how they work, so it’s going to be easier with them around,” he said. “The thing is, I still have to determine the staffing, because it all depends on how many nights we’re going to be open.”
Showbox’s soft opening will be next Friday, Feb. 11, when “Beats Antique” takes place at 9 p.m. DJs Azia, TKO and Atma will be joined by Shakti Dance Movement, Giinko Marischino and Hawaii Fire Artists. A grand opening party is scheduled for next Saturday, Feb. 12; a private, VIP event will take place starting at 6 p.m. before the doors are opened to the general public around 10 p.m.