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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Friday, August 24, 2001

Club Scene
W goes all out for birthday bash

By Catherine E. Toth
Advertiser Staff Writer

 •  "Denim, Diamonds and DJs"

W Honolulu First Anniversary Party

9 p.m. today

W Honolulu, 2885 Kalakaua Ave.



For 23 and older

Also: Fashion shows at 10 and 11 p.m. Recommended (not required) attire is "fabulous denim."

Where were you a year ago?

Scouring the classifieds, looking for a one-bedroom under $800? Standing in line at the campus bookstore, stressing out about the $400 you were about to spend on books you'll probably never read during the semester? Still with your ex?

A lot can happen in one year.

And the W Honolulu, which was probably in some way part of that last year, is celebrating its first year of existence on Hawai'i's club scene.

The hotel's Wonder Lounge has seen thousands of thrill-seeking, eye-wandering, people-viewing club hounds mixing and moving through the upscale restaurant-turned-nightclub since it flung its doors open on Aug. 4, 2000.

And thanks to its success in providing a sophisticated atmosphere for clubgoers tired of meat markets and all-ages spots, the style of the W has spread to other upscale restaurants that realized the profit potential of closing the kitchen and opening the dining area to some serious nightlife.

"I got here when the party started," said Tom Bell, W's general manager, "and it's been a terrific year."

What sets the W apart from other trendy nightspots is its ability to offer variety every weekend.

Tonight's celebration is a classic example. Instead of just serving discounted beer and altering the music lineup, promoters have planned an evening of stimuli. From a fashion show of luxury denim and diamonds to free massages in the lobby area, the W's anniversary party will do Friday night like no other place on the Island.

"I'd like it to be the most innovative, most creative, off-the-wall, over-the-top party," said Komo Low, the W's entertainment director. "We want to be stylish and fun and just be original."

Body & Soul will provide the lux denim ensembles, Phils Gold & Diamonds the sparkles — all to the body-grooving house spinning, a la Boston's DJ Courtney.

And W has hired professional dancers to perform, "dancing, handing out giveaways, blowing people's minds," Low said.

And like its patrons who face it all night, competition is what keeps the W afloat.

"The competition is great," Bell said enthusiastically. "It keeps us pushing to do better every week, to be innovative and provide that safe environment that I know will last long term."

Bell has big plans for next year. Intimate concerts, guest performers, innovation at every level.

"We want to intensify our efforts a little," Bell said.

Because a lot can happen in one year.