Wednesday, December 22, 1999

Bar bids
for a shot at
‘Today’ telecast

Neighbors and the liquor
board are cool to granting 2 more
hours to keep the TV crowd

By Leila Fujimori


The Pier Bar at Aloha Tower Marketplace wants to do some extra celebrating on New Year's Day to accommodate a special broadcast of NBC's "Today' show.

The nightclub has applied for permission to continue to serve liquor for an extra two hours after 2 a.m. so a crowd will stick around when the network wants to go live from Hawaii sometime between 2 and 4 a.m. during a wrap-up of millennium celebrations.

"This is a once-in-a-millennium opportunity," said Anne Smoke, a spokeswoman for the Aloha Tower Marketplace. She said the national publicity would be good for business.

But neighbors and the liquor commission staff say rules are rules and shouldn't be broken, even at the turn of a new century.

"The commission can only grant an extension to a class of license," said Administrator Wally Weatherwax. "It can't do it for an individual. It must open it up to anyone who wants to serve past 2 (a.m.).

"There's two hours from 12 a.m. to 2 a.m. that they can celebrate," he said. "There doesn't seem to be any need for an additional two hours."

Pier Bar owner John Bilgrave disagrees. "It's good PR for Aloha Tower and Hawaii," he said.

Neighbors at high-rise condominiums across the street from the marketplace are also skeptical of the proposal.

Lynn Matusow, chairwoman of the Downtown Neighborhood Board, recalled complaints last New Year's Eve from the Harbor Square people about activities at Aloha Tower.

"The noise from speakers was booming across Nimitz," she said.

Matusow said she did not receive enough advance notice to put the issue on the board's agenda for December. So most area residents and board members are unaware of the application.

Harbor Court resident manager Mike Burr said a lot of the residents are concerned about "a lot of people parking on our property, and wild people coming over and through our property in elevators."

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