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‘Bizarre’ new LGBT nightclub Scarlet opens in Chinatown

  • SPECIAL TO THE HONOLULU STAR-ADV
    2015 July 17 PUL SCARLET - Scarlet Honolulu's grand opening in Chinatown on July 17, 2015 in Honolulu, Hi. PHOTO BY KAT WADE / SPECIAL TO THE HONOLULU STAR-ADVERTISER
  • SPECIAL TO THE HONOLULU STAR-ADV
    2015 July 17 PUL SCARLET - Scarlet Honolulu's grand opening in Chinatown on July 17, 2015 in Honolulu, Hi. PHOTO BY KAT WADE / SPECIAL TO THE HONOLULU STAR-ADVERTISER
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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 entertainment personality Lanai Tabura and Los Angeles fashion designer and photographer Traver Rains. Earlier this year, Rains introduced Tabura to Rob Savvy and Robbie Baldwin of Scarlet, a club that caters to the LGBT community in Chicago. Within just a few months Scarlet Honolulu was born.

“We did this in six weeks,” Tabura said during the club’s opening night on July 17. “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.”

‘SCARLET GRAND OPENING’

With “Rupaul’s Drag Race” star Raven

Where: Scarlet, 80 S. Pauahi St.
When: Friday and Saturday (open 8 p.m.)
Cost: $5 cover before midnight, then $10
Info: scarlethonolulu.com, twitter.com/scarlethnl 21+

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 its 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 dance floor flanked by a handful of VIP areas. The decor features a series of dirty dolls in action; Tabura said his partners set up a photo shoot in Chicago to create the images, which were photographed in an actual dollhouse and blown up to create larger-than-life wall treatments in the club. It’s a bit racy to show in print, so you’ll have to take a look in person.

“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 nightclub space and 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.

This weekend is the official grand opening, with “RuPaul’s Drag Race” star Raven on hand.

Scarlet Honolulu is at 80 S. Pauahi St., across from the Hawaii Theatre. For ages 21+.

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