November 30th, 2011
BY JASON GENEGABUS / firstname.lastname@example.org
Addiction Nightclub and Beach Club replaces Crazybox at the hotel and will be open for business from 10:30 p.m. to 3 a.m. Thursdays through Saturdays. The Beach Club will take over the Sunset Pool Deck from noon to 4 p.m. Sundays, starting Dec. 4.
While the vast majority of staff at the club are former Crazybox employees, there were significant changes made at the management level.
The Modern's new director of nightlife is Matt Bendik, who was managing partner at VOYEUR in West Hollywood, Calif. before getting the call to relocate his core team to Honolulu. He previously served as vice president of development for the Light Group in Las Vegas, and also has nightlife experience in New York City and Dubai. He is joined by assistant director of nightlife Tyler Dickinson, public relations and special events director Karl Singer and VIP hostess Kristina Welker.
As is often the case, it didn't take much to convince this crew that Waikiki was the place to be.
"When I came out, I really fell in love with the island and the culture," Bendik said earlier this week. "I worked with some of the (Modern's) owners on a hotel program in Vegas several years ago and they were having some issues getting the nightclub reopened, so they asked me to come out and take a look and give them some advice."
Once they arrived, the four got to work on the best way to reposition and relaunch the nightclub. What Bendik quickly discovered, however, was there wasn't much to be done when it came to staffing and design.
"I'd say 90 to 95 percent of the staff is the same, and they've been great," he said. "I was prepared to rebuild the entire nightclub, but I was really kind of pleasantly surprised. They've really enabled me to focus on the programming.
"We made a few minor tweaks … but for the most part it's all the same. We have implemented some design changes, (but) I wouldn't go so far as to call them major. We added some projection, so there's some images on the walls. At the backbar we added some digital video frames."
And what about that incredible lighting display that was the centerpiece of Crazybox? Contrary to previous reports, it didn't need to be removed after all.
"They're so beautiful," said Bendik of the thousands of light bulbs. "I had to leave them!"
THE BIGGEST change at Addiction is the seating; instead of bleachers, more traditional banquettes have been installed. The switch "made the space a lot more intimate" and allows for staff to provide "high-end service" to customers. With a capacity of just 250 people, reserving a VIP table with bottle service is the recommended way to best experience what the nightclub has to offer, although Bendik insisted a "New York mindset" would not keep Hawaii residents from being able to party there.
"I'm not trying to force other markets into a new market," he said. "From a service standpoint, there's a standard that should be met … so you'll see some influences. (But) we like a nice healthy mix of different demographics."
Don't want to spend big bucks on your own private party area at Addiction? Get friendly with the resident DJs from the Nocturnal Sound Krew or someone who works at the club. They'll be able to add your name to a guest list that will get you past Welker at the front door with no cover charge — as long as there is room inside. Hotel guests will also receive complimentary access.
Otherwise, guests can expect to pay $20 at the door (ladies get a $10 discount). If you get tired of standing in line waiting for people to leave, you may want to reconsider going the VIP route; Welker can facilitate walk-up reservations on a space-avaialble basis.
"Your best bet is to dress nice, show up early and come with an even ratio (of girls to guys)," said Bendik. "But if you know any of the DJs or any of the staff, it's going to be really easy to get access."
There is no cover charge for the Sunday afternoon Addiction parties, although you must RSVP in advance to email@example.com. This will help keep the crowd under control, while also providing local residents a shot at joining the party. (VIP reservations for both the nightclub and beach club may be made using the same e-mail address.)
ALONG WITH their own resident DJs, the club will fly in special guests to complement the entertainment lineup, starting with DJ Miles this week and DJ Savi next week. DJ Spider will be the featured guest Dec. 15-17, and DJ Sid Vicious will fly in to help pump things up heading into the club's big New Year's Eve celebration promoted by Flash & Matty Boy Productions' Flash Hansen and Architechs Entertainment's Blaise Sato on Dec. 31.
"We're not a promoter-driven venue … but for New Year's, I just signed a contract with Flash and Blaise, so we're collaborating to create a really awesome party," Bendik said. "We have some really cool things coming up that weekend at the Lobby Bar, pool deck, (the Modern's) ballroom and the club."
As our conversation wrapped up, there was one last question that needed to be answered. Is this new look at Addiction a temporary thing? Once the club got back on its feet, would Bendik simply pack up and move on to the next challenge?
"When we signed a contract, it was open-ended without a timeframe," he replied. "I look at Hawaii as a long-term thing. I think it's a great market and it's under-served.
"We really want to put together things that people are going to talk about. At the same time, I don't want people to think this is a mainland club. It's really not. We're just enhancing it. People will come and experience it and get the right impression."
Jason Genegabus is Entertainment Editor/Online at the Honolulu Star-Advertiser and has covered the local nightlife, music, bar and entertainment scenes since 2001. Contact him via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.