Former Ocean Club space gets new owner
The Restaurant Row space will be a new club run by the owner of the O Lounge
The Ocean Club space at Restaurant Row has a new owner.
Elizabeth Hata Watanabe, owner of the O Lounge, has signed a long-term deal to develop a new club in the now-closed but long-running nightspot.
Officials of Shidler Group, which owns the complex, could not be reached yesterday.
Watanabe is not revealing the name of the club until she gets it registered, the target date for opening or the cost.
Though she has hired an interior designer and contractor and says, "I'm cracking the whip."
The new venue will be upscale and aimed at the 25-and-older crowd of young professionals, she said.
"There is a need for something for that age group ... for grown-ups," she said. "This is something that I've actually wanted to do for a long time."
While it will be a nightclub, it will have more of a focus on food than does the O Lounge, with after-work appetizers and a light supper menu, she said.
The menu has already been designed by Ernesto Limcaco, executive chef of Y. Hata & Co. Ltd.
Y. Hata, the food-service distributor founded by her family more than 100 years ago, will be her supplier for the new venue, as it is for the O Lounge.
Despite the family connection, Y. Hata and Watanabe's company are not partners in either nightclub venture.
"I own both properties and have no investors and no partners -- because I'm a very difficult person to work with," Watanabe said, laughing.
The O Lounge will continue running. "The intent for that is to be more for college-age kids," and will cater to the 18-to-24-year-old demographic, extending from the nightclub to private parties and fundraisers, she said.
"We do intend to have one or two nights for 21-and-over," at the new venue, but it "will never go 18-and-over," she said.
Ocean Club replaced the old Studebaker's nightclub in 1997 and had a ten-year run before closing Sept. 2. In announcing its closing, Entertainment One Pacific Inc. stated its intention to open a new club, possibly in Waikiki, in 2008. The company encouraged patrons to its Web site, oceanclubonline.com for updates. The page is currently blank.