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ID: Keep it real! say club manager

by Stephanie Hickey. assoc. Lifestyles editor


George B. Tanish, 54, is the general manager of Zanzabar, one of O‘ahu’s largest and most popular clubs. We sat in Zanzabar’s usually packed, but now empty, VIP lounge, which he said requires a $500 purchase of a VIP card to enter on any given week night.

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Tanish recalled the days before the drinking age was 21: “We (the state of Hawai‘i and the clubs) have lost hundreds of millions of dollars since they raised the drinking age.” Tanish has been running operations around O‘ahu for various clubs for 30 years. He claims he’s seen everything.


Though the laws have been changed for more than 10 years, Zanzabar is doing well and usually admits 1,000 people by 11 p.m. Tanish said. “There’s just too much money involved to get shut down for a stupid mistake like allowing minors to enter illegally.”

By the end of each summer the bouncers at Zanzabar have usually confiscated about 300 fake IDs, all of which are turned over to the liquor commission. “Some people try to make a fuss when we confiscate their ID, but we tell them ‘If you want it back, call a policeman.’ That usually gets them walking away pretty quickly,” Tanish added.

The bouncers are equipped with books from the liquor commission that showcase ID types that they may encounter. If certain IDs aren’t in the book and can’t be proved legal, bouncers will not allow the individual to enter the club.

“A big problem we face,” Tanish said, “is with the Japanese tourists. Their travel agents tell them to bring paper copies of their ID, but we only accept the real thing.”

According to Tanish, Zanzabar takes fake IDs, fights, and anything that may disturb the peace, very seriously, “If you are banned from the club, you are banned for a year. No exceptions.”

Despite their strict ID policy on most nights of the week, Zanzabar allows 18–to-20 year olds on Sunday and Thursday evenings. On those nights, extra security is employed to make sure no one is consuming alcohol illegally. Tanish said: “We are responsible for anyone inside the club, so with minors, once you’re in you’re in. We don’t allow you to [exit and] re-enter.”

After talking with Tanish, I wanted to find out what club goers had to say about their experiences with different clubs around the island. One student, who asked to remain anonymous, said with a laugh, “The one I used was really good. I only got denied one time, and that wasn’t even here. It was in Rhode Island.”

Another student seemed a bit reluctant. “Part of me wants to try getting one, but then I think, my birthday is only a couple of months away, and I don’t want to go through the trouble.”

Considering that possesion of a fake ID is a class one misdemeanor and that making one is a felony, good thinking.




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