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VIDEO: Lifting the Cap
on Maui Hostess Bars Considered

Updated 10:04 PM HST, March 28, 2012
Posted 12:21 PM HST, March 28, 2012

Club Forever. Photo by Wendy Osher.

By Wendy Osher

The Liquor Commission’s recommendation to remove the 12 cap limit for hostess bar licenses on the island, “is too extreme a change all at one time,” said Maui Mayor Alan Arakawa.

The recommendation is being sent to the mayor to sign off or reject, but had yet to reach his office for review on Tuesday.

“I can understand the committee’s desire to expand or to allow the expansion of business opportunities,” but the mayor said, more thought should have been put into framing the legislation to allow communities a voice in the regulation or restriction of hostess bars in their towns.

Right now, all 12 hostess bars on the island are located in Central Maui:  11 are in Wailuku, and a single licensee is in Kahului.  The list of establishments includes: 7 Pools Lounge; Club Forever; Club Gibahng; Club Koa; Club Koreana Arirang 1; Club Starlite; Mickey’s Place; Mimi’s Lounge; New Gardenia; Saigon Palace; Sandy’s Lounge; and Tokyo Lounge.

If passed in its current form, Arakawa said the legislation would allow hostess bars throughout the county, “pretty much in any location that had the appropriate business zoning.”

Club Koa. Photo by Wendy Osher.

Arakawa said without having the recommendation in hand, it appeared as though, in its current form, it would be “too extreme.”

Unlike a regular liquor license, a hostess bar license allows employees to sit down and have cocktails with customers.

“This is having women come down and sit by you as they’re serving you drinks and pretty much be company while you’re there,” said Arakawa, who noted that the practice is something that has been “frowned upon” very much by people within the community, “which is why it was regulated so strongly.”

Club Starlite. Photo by Wendy Osher.

As of Tuesday morning, County Communications Director Rod Antone said the mayor’s office had received about a half dozen letters from the community, “all of them saying they knew someone personally whose family life was ruined because of these hostess bars.”

“I do know that there’s probably a lot of upset wives, because their husbands spend a little bit more and they’re being entertained by people or women that they may not want their husbands to be entertained by; but there are a lot of individuals that are single that go to these bars as well, and they want company and they can afford it–it’s their choice,” said Mayor Arakawa.

“So to a point, I think it’s okay, but it shouldn’t be overdone; and because there’s no great demand for this, at this point I don’t see why we would want to risk the change of the mores within our community to any great level by expanding this industry at this point,” said Mayor Arakawa.

Antone said Corporation Counsel is also researching the HRS rules regarding the current cap of 12 licensees.  County authorities are also looking into information that some establishments have been charging thousands of dollars for other tenants to use the license, and legalities surrounding that issue.

Mimi's Lounge. Photo by Wendy Osher.

The recommendation regarding the removal of the cap on hostess bars is just one of many items that the Liquor Commission is tasked with reviewing and bringing up to date.

“Many of them are long-standing and antiquated and need to be adjusted,” said the mayor, but he expressed reservations regarding the proposed cap removal.

“I actually believe that at this point, that because the commission has made it such a broad application, it would probably be inappropriate; but I do have to read the legislation specifically, and that has not come into our office,” said Mayor Arakawa on Tuesday morning.

Sandy's Lounge. Photo by Wendy Osher.

Many of the hostess bars are located along Lower Main Street in Wailuku. Photo by Wendy Osher.

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  • Bumpy

    Id rather see them allow Strip Clubs.  Hostess Bars are a waste of money.

  • WTH were they thinking

    Both are a waste of money and are a sure way to ruin a community. Mahalo
    Mayor for speaking out against the proposed expansion of such
    establishments.  The Liquor Commission should focus on more productive

  • Anonymous

    Awesome. Turn Maui into a Sex-Tourist destination like many parts of southeast asia. Wailuku is already known on the mainland as the place to get local/asian girl to “love you long time”…or at least until your wallet is empty. The daughters of Maui can walk by the neighborhood girly-bar on their way to school and know that the Mayor has a plan for their future.

    • JSantos

      Lol.  Please.  Over react much?    Having a strip club on Maui is not going to turn it into a Sex-Tourist Destination like Southeast Asia.  Honolulu already has a bunch and it is NOT a Sex-Tourist Destination.  Sex-tourism happens in places with cheap prostitutes.  Last I checked, Strip Clubs dont even let you touch the girls.  Way more touching going on at these Hostess Bars.  Isnt it ironic they allow the hostes bars and not the strip clubs.   I dont know about you, but I dont let my daughters wander the streets of lower main in wailuku, do you?  Didnt think so.  And I am pretty sure they arent going to be open up on your street or next to a school any time soon.  Keep on frothing…..

      • Anonymous

        Lol. Wakey-wakey. Put the pipe down for a sec, okay. You are probably one of those people who don’t think ‘prevention’ is a real word. I am so sure that the places that ARE considered ‘sex-tourist’ destinations don’t consider THEMSELVES that either. I am equally sure that you know much more of what goes on inside these disease-infested holes then i could imagine, but i’ll guess these women are not hatched. They are unfortunate girls who have fallen on hard times, or are imported by traffickers. Do you have a legitimate business in that area and have to deal with drunk johns puking on your sidewalk? chasing family customers away? carry pepper-spray on your keychain, drug-deals going down in the parking lot?? “Didn’t think so.”. They even had to put a police substation in the wailuku industrial area a while ago for those very reasons.

        you said;
        “And I am pretty sure they arent going to be open up on your street or next to a school any time soon.”

        obviously you did not comprehend what you read;
        “If passed in its current form, Arakawa said the legislation would allow hostess bars throughout the county, “pretty much in ANY location that had the appropriate business zoning.”

        As for your snide remark, i would rather get called out for caring about the health and safety of my community and its future, then to not give a damn and only want to take FROM it. Grow up already.

        • JSantos

          Wake up dude, Honolulu is not a Sex Tourist Destination no matter how many times you want to claim that having a strip club deems a place as such.  Get a grip.  Those places have much dire socioeconomic problems than you could ever image that is the root cause of the issue.   Unless you “live” in a commercially zoned property, these places arent gonna pop up on your neighborhood, any more than a bar will be opened next door.  Seriously.  You’re more off base than you realize.

          • MaLama

            So if the legislation you are advocating for would get approved; they could put “hostess bars” at Pukalani terrace, Makawao town, S. Kihei Rd, Lahaina on Front st, or Baldwin Ave in Paia, etc. These are all “commercially zoned property”.  Maui is not Honolulu.

          • JSantos

            You apparently dont understand how liquor licenses work or commercial zoning.  Nothing is going to be opened that wont have opportunity for community input.  One example is Harts Corner in Wailuku.  What happened there when he tried to open a bar?  You guys can claim the sky is falling all you like, and how our daughters will become hookers, but, then we have to wake up to the real world and make real decisions about these things.   

            I am not advocating anything actually, I am just trying to bring reality to the frothing going on every time this issue comes up.  I do find it funny that Hostess Bars ARE allowed and Strip Clubs arent, where Hostess Bars are closer to legalized prostitution, and Strip Clubs arent.  Ironic isnt it.

            Why dont you guys work on banning Hostess Bars instead completely, that atleast would be logical instead of debating over an increase.  Thats laughable.

          • MaLama

            You laugh alot. Like a fool. Does it make you feel better to demean people who care about where they raise their family? You keep contradicting yourself. You say we ‘should BAN hostess clubs completely because they are like prostitution, BUT if you can’t ban them then their should be NO LIMIT.’  That is the craziest illogic i’ve heard lately.

            You say, ‘no worries, there is community input”, then you refer to “the frothing going on every time this issue comes up”. Which is it laughingboy, “frothing” or due dilligence “community input”. “You guys” never stick around to clean up the mess you make is the problem. You think like a child.

            By the way, its friday shouldn’t you be out playing bigdaddy bigbucks in some dark booth on lwr main st? You know what they say about a fool and his money. lol.

          • JSantos

            Im starting to think you have a reading comprehension problem.  Please show me where I support NO LIMIT?  I dare you to show me where I said that??   I just said you guys are over reacting to a whole lotta nothing.  SO, please, I BEG YOU to show me WHERE I said I support this??  I was just merely pointing out that Strip Clubs dont make a place a “Sex Tourism Destination” and I said that Hostess Bars are much worse.

            Again, show me where I said I support NO LIMIT on HOSTESS BARS.  People are so dumb…  jfc

          • Kanahele

            No, he is right, if they let this pass, strippers will be working the school lunch rooms, working as crossing guards at the local school, and it will be mandatory that our kids have to walk past these bars.   Im with Dakine though, we need poker rooms.  At least we can make money playing poker.  Forget these cheesy wanna be strip clubs! :)

          • MaLama

            “People are so dumb… ”
            No. just YOU. Its called ‘cognitive-dissonance’ and you are exhibiting it. Look it up smart guy. Anyone noticing your MANY rants all on this website can see you have anger-management issues…and a lot of time on your hands. Maybe you should get a job. Preferably one where reading comprehension is not essential since the article is actually titled, “LIFTING THE CAP..”.

            Relatively few residents care about the ones already in exhistence. The problem comes with the issue of raising the number and allowing hostess-bars to distribute throughout the county. You have been supporting that (in case your left hand does not know what your right hand is typing). All some are saying is that Maui is not Honolulu and there are residential areas and schools side-to-side with many commercial areas in this county. Parents need to be aware of what is going on before the fact and the crime statistics. Just as they need to be aware of ‘sex-offenders’ that move into their area.

            Wow. Who knew the most pressing problem on Maui was not enough hostess bars.

          • JSantos

            See, you failed.  You couldnt find where I said I support the lifting the cap, cause I dont.  I will repeat for 3rd time, I was commenting on the chicken little claim that Maui would turn into a Sex Tourism Destination if there was a strip club.  I dont agree.  See, we are allowed to disagree.  Apparently discussion is not allowed nor opinions.   Yeah freedom.

            Id be willing stake my entire net worth that I have a better job, are better educated, and make more money than you, since you want to bring that up, but it has nothing to do with the discussion.  But if you really want a dick waving contest, you will lose in a major way. That, I can guarantee.

            So grow up, and try to re-read what I was saying over and over.

          • Gern Blanston

            I think all that Santos is saying is that limiting hostess bars will limit employment opportunities for his mom, his sisters, and his daughters. 

          • pulemaui

            i bet you make big bucks. liquor commission get plenty kickbacks.

          • JSantos

            Yes, you found me out. I personally get kickbacks from the Liquor Commission. For what, I am not sure, but you, Sherlock, have figured me out.  Awesome.  Lol.  Maybe I get paid to bring perspective to the issues instead of fly off, half cocked, claiming this island is going to end up on the Sex Tourism registry or whatever.

            Why dont you guys work on getting rid of them instead of bitching about a raising of the cap.  Shootz.  There I go trying to make sense again.  Better mobilize before Arakawa makes a decision.

          • Joe Namath

            Uh, did any of you watch the video? Mayor said he doesn’t support lifting the cap. So this was like a big long argument for nothing.

          • JSantos


  • Dakine

    I find it crazy that the community seems to be ok with Hostess Bars but are against opening Card Rooms to play poker.  Apparently prostitution is ok with everyone, but playing cards for fun is really bad.  Doh!  People are so dumb!!

  • Kanahele

    I find it funny that 
    ihatenazis, and 
    MaLama are attacking Santos, someone that appears to not support the lifting of the cap, but have left Bumpy alone, the guy actually advocating not only lifting the cap, but wanting to add to the mess with Strip Clubs.  

  • Gern Blanston

    The hostess bars are for pathetic losers that can only get the attention of a female if they pay for it.

    • Kanahele

      Losers need love too.

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