Maui Discussion

LETTER: Cap Quietly Lifted on Maui’s Hostess Bar Establishments

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In an open letter issued today, Maui resident, Mahina Martin alerts the public to changes to Maui County’s liquor laws, which she says effectively remove the 12 establishment cap on the number of hostess bars that can operate in Maui County.  The full text of the letter is posted below:

Editor’s Note: *Opinions expressed in letters to the editor are those of the author’s alone and do not necessarily reflect or represent the views, policies or positions of Maui Now.


Dear women of Maui County and our supporters:

About three months ago, our county’s Liquor Commission made significant changes to our liquor laws. Unknown to many of us, one of those changes was removing the cap on the number of hostess bars that can operate in our county.

The maximum number of hostess bar licenses was previously set at twelve and for over a decade that maximum number was never met. Today, with the newly revised rules there is no limit.

In a meeting I had recently with the Department of Liquor Control director and deputy director to address and object to the new rule allowing 24-hour retail alcohol sales, I also inquired about the removal of the cap on hostess bar licenses issued by the department.

No sound reason was offered as to why the department proposed to the Liquor Commission to change the amount available of hostess bar licenses – especially since there hasn’t been an obvious increase in the demand for licenses. Therefore, I have asked the Liquor Commission to reconsider its approval to remove the cap at its May 9 commission meeting and return to the earlier max of 12 allowed.

Hostess bars degrade women and take advantage of inebriated customers by selling them over-priced drinks. As an industry, it has a reputation of putting women in servitude conditions. To normalize having more hostess bars in our neighborhoods does nothing to better our island.

I hope others are as appalled as I am at the sudden removal of a cap on hostess bars.

If you have daughters, granddaughters, great granddaughters, sisters, nieces, and even hanai’d your neighbor’s daughter you might just be as alarmed as I am. If you work with girls, teens, and women to give courage to their independence, support their wellness, and help them build a path for a strong, successful life – I hope you are as protective as I am and stunned by the decision to allow more hostess bars in our community. If you fight for women’s equality, I hope you are alarmed.

Please consider adding your voice to have the Liquor Commission revert back to the original cap of 12 licenses allowed.

You can offer your opinion to the Liquor Commission at its meeting at 9 a.m. next Tuesday, May 9 – in the conference room of the Department of Liquor Control, Trask Building, Kaohu Street in Wailuku. You can show up in person or email the Liquor Commission something simple and short at: Be sure to say your email is for the Commission.

Strong women.
May we be them.
May we raise them.

Mahalo for your consideration, and mahalo for sharing with others as well.

Mahina Martin

Club Koa. PC: File image (March 2012) by Wendy Osher.

Club Starlite. PC: File image (March 2012) by Wendy Osher.

Mimi’s Lounge. PC: File image (March 2012) by Wendy Osher.

PC: File image (March 2012) by Wendy Osher.

Sandy’s Lounge. PC: File image (March 2012) by Wendy Osher.

Club Forever. PC: File image (March 2012) by Wendy Osher.


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