Owner Puts O Lounge Up For Sale - Pacific Business News (Honolulu):

The owner of The O Lounge has put the Honolulu nightclub up for sale.

Elizabeth Hata-Watanabe opened the club in the space of the old China House restaurant on Kapiolani Boulevard in October 2004.

She listed the 9,764-square-foot space for sublease last week with Coldwell Banker Commercial Pacific Properties, with a $375,000 premium for the business.

Hata-Watanabe, who gave birth to her second child three months ago, told PBN she wants to run a business that is more compatible with family life.

“I’d like to really concentrate on my family,” she said. “It’s getting really difficult.”

Hata-Watanabe said she plans to close The O Lounge if she cannot find a buyer. The club has 27 part-time employees, she said.

Hata-Watanabe had started to make the transition from the nightclub business to a more family-friendly enterprise last August when she opened a restaurant in downtown Honolulu in the former Palomino restaurant space at Harbor Court.

But the Harbor Court Bistro was denied a liquor license in September after a majority of residents of the Harbor Court condominium complained to the Honolulu Liquor Commission. The restaurant closed in late November.

The O Lounge has run afoul of the commission on more than one occasion for selling liquor to minors. In September, the commission placed the club on six months probation for selling liquor to a minor, and last month voted to continue the probation.

In late February, the commission suspended the club’s liquor license for 30 days because of three repeat violations and limited the club, which had allowed in 18-year-olds, to only allowing patrons 21 and over.

The commission on Thursday was to consider a motion to change the effective date of the suspension.

The O Lounge Bartending Academy will close after its current class of 15 students completes the course next month, she said.

“I’m not going to start new classes because I don’t know what the future is going to bring,” she said.

Hata-Watanabe said she plans to reopen the Harbor Court Bistro this year in another downtown location, which she declined to reveal. The new restaurant will be geared toward the downtown business crowd, serving lunch, happy hour and dinner only on weekdays.

“There are also plans I’ve been discussing with a producer about a children’s TV show,” she said.

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