In the Mix

Modern Honolulu reopens nightclub

November 5th, 2011

After a messy corporate takeover and rebranding, the hotel now known as the Modern Honolulu has reopened its signature nightclub in Waikiki.

The space that used to be Crazybox was open for business last weekend — and according to sources, the general public was allowed inside — although a hotel employee said Thursday the club was only open for a "private party" on Oct. 28. The employee also confirmed a "soft opening" would take place Thursday night, with former Crazybox resident DJs ESKAE, Compose and Anit back in action.

The dance floor was packed at Crazybox during Rev. Run's birthday celebration at the nightclub in 2010. (Courtesy photo)

Their return was a bit of a surprise, given all the bitterness that erupted on various social media networks when real estate developer Ian Schrager's EDITION brand was ousted by Marriott International and renamed the Modern. Former EDITION employees banded together in solidarity, creating a Facebook page and voicing support for efforts to get them back to work at their old jobs.

Unfortunately, that hasn't happened — and at first, the backlash was pretty nasty. The Modern's new management company, Aqua Hotels & Resorts, bore the brunt of former employees' frustrations. When the Modern was forced to temporarily stop selling alcohol while they reapplied for a liquor license, some tried to infer the paperwork issue was a larger indicator of the new hotel's inability to survive the changes.

At Crazybox, the doors remained closed longer than any other venue at the hotel. According to sources, the nightclub's name and even some of its interior design features are trademarked and may need to be changed before it can officially reopen. The management switch also meant former EDITION director of nightlife operations Laura Modica was no longer involved with the club; she has since relocated from Honolulu to Chicago, where she remains employed by Schrager at his new hotel, Public Chicago.

"Let's just say it's not (Crazybox) if Laura Modica (isn't) running it," wrote DJ ESAKE, aka Steven Kanemoto, in an Aug. 31 update posted to Twitter and directed at this reporter. He declined comment Friday when asked about his return to the club.

A public relations representative for the Modern also didn't provide much detail Friday when asked about operations at the newly reopened nightspot, confirming only that the space was open for business from 10:30 p.m to 3 a.m. Thursdays through Saturdays and that "familiar bartenders and DJs" were back at work.

Still, it appears the club doesn't yet have an actual name. And while a grand opening party is tentatively planned for Dec. 1, "all programming and services are being fine-tuned" with "enhancements still in the works" throughout November.
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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 jason@staradvertiser.com.

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