July 24th, 2015
Oahu’s LGBT community has a new Chinatown destination, thanks to the recent opening of Scarlet Honolulu in the space formerly known as The Fix and SoHo Mixed Media Bar.
The new gay club is the result of a partnership between local television personality Lanai Tabura and Los Angeles fashion designer and photographer Traver Rains. Rains introduced Tabura to Scarlet Chicago’s Rob Savvy and Robbie Baldwin earlier this year, and within just a few months Scarlet Honolulu was born.
“We did this in six weeks,” Tabura said during the club’s opening night on Friday. “What I didn’t know was (Rob and Robbie) were already coming to Hawaii on a regular basis and they always noticed there was no place for them to go. There were bars, but no clubs.”
While Tabura brought his experience as an entrepreneur and local connections to the table, the creative direction for Scarlet Honolulu came entirely from his partners. The new club is nothing like it’s Chicago-based namesake, which has more of a classic speakeasy vibe.
Here in Chinatown, Scarlet is loosely based on a dollhouse theme, with a spacious dancefloor flanked by a handful of VIP areas. The artwork on the walls features a series of dirty dolls in action; Lanai said his partners set up a photoshoot in Chicago to create the images, which were shot in an actual dollhouse and blown up to create larger-than-life wall treatments in the club.
(Nearly everything on the walls at Scarlet Honolulu is NSFW, so you’ll have to check it out in person to see what the fuss is about.)
“I’m most proud because it’s so different and bizarre to me,” said Tabura. “Different, because you don’t see anything like this. I think everyone is going to want to check it out.”
Along with Scarlet, Tabura and his partners plan to open two other businesses in what used to be part of the old nightclub space as well as an adjoining restaurant space. The Tiki at Scarlet Honolulu is expected to open in “about two months” with a classic tiki bar theme, followed by a new restaurant concept in “about three months.”
Tabura declined to provide any more details, other than to confirm that his brother (and “The Great Food Truck Race” co-star), chef Adam Tabura, would be part of the team working on the restaurant.
“It’s a three-step deal,” he said. “We have some good stuff coming.”
Until then, Scarlet will carry the torch from 8 p.m. to 2 a.m. Wednesdays through Sundays with a variety of parties, including Way Back Wednesday, Frat Night Thursday, Fireball Friday and The Banger Dance Party with DJ Luna on Saturdays. The club will host a Pau Hana Industry Party on Sundays.
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 and follow him on Twitter and Google+.