Hotel Molokai Bar to Reopen This Friday
There’s good news for those who miss a drink at Hotel Molokai’s Hula Shores bar following a fire two weeks ago that demolished the kitchen. The bar is reopening Friday, July 6, and hotel manager Michael Drew predicts the kitchen and restaurant reopening by December of this year.
“I almost guarantee that within 180 days we will be back,” said Drew of the restaurant. “It’s very important to the Molokai community and Maui County to bring back people that were laid off.”
The early morning June 19 fire left 35 Hotel employees without work and caused $650,000 in damages.
The reopenings are made possible by expedited Maui County permits. The hotel’s former liquor license required a certified kitchen on property, so the bar — though undamaged — had to be closed after the fire. Drew applied for a dispensary license, which does not require the kitchen. The new permit has been granted by the county, and the bar will reopen with music and entertainment programs, but currently no food will be available, according to Drew. He said he hopes to be able to offer barbecues within the next two weeks.
Clean-up on the fire-charred kitchen, laundry and storage rooms began last Friday. Drew said once clean-up is complete, Hotel hopes to receive an expedited building permit from the county that will allow construction on the new facilities to begin. They will be built on the footprint of the old structure, according to Drew.
“Maui County has been very helpful,” said Drew. “I have no doubts [the county] will continue to work with us and expedite this.”
In the meantime, the hotel portion of the business remains in operation. Drew said the hotel offers dining suggestions to its guests, as well as food to order and delivered from Sundown Deli, the only eatery in town with a delivery permit, according to Drew. The hotel has also been working with a taxi company and other local businesses to provide additional services to their guests while the restaurant is down.
The hotel has been doing its laundry at a laundromat in Kaunakakai.
“It’s a win-win situation for the community — trying to work with community [businesses], and on our side, we get to rebuild the way we want it,” said Drew.
The fire started early in the morning on June 19, and when firefighters responded around 3:30 a.m., they found about 75 percent of the bottom floor of the two-story structure engulfed in flames, according to Maui Fire Services Chief Lee Mainaga. A Maui fire inspector concluded the fire’s cause undetermined, but called it accidental.
The unoccupied honeymoon suite above the burned storage room was the only room damaged in the blaze, and the approximately 50 guests returned to their rooms that evening.
“We’re not going to let this keep us down — everybody wants us to be back up and running,” said Drew. “It’s good to see we have support of the community and Maui County.”