In the Mix: Anna’s gains Hawaii-based ownership, drops ‘Bannanas’ from name

In the Mix: Anna’s gains Hawaii-based ownership, drops ‘Bannanas’ from name

It was almost a year ago to the day in this space that I mentioned the possible demise of longtime Moiliili watering hole Anna Bannana’s.

After 40 years in business, it appeared the bar was on its last legs. Then in March, I heard from mainland-based owner Jim Nielsen, who assured me that, “Anna’s isn’t going away.”

Turns out he was only half right – while there is a bar still operating by the name of Anna’s on the property, Nielsen gave up his interest in its lease. Local bar owner Bill Comerford (who also owns the Irish Rose SaloonKelley O’Neil’s and O’Toole’s Irish Pub as E&J Lounge Operating Co.) has since taken over the space, although its not clear if he’s replaced the Tina DeBoer Long Trust as the master lease-holder of the property. And since Nielsen has reportedly retained the right to use the Anna Bannana’s name, the bar will be known as Anna’s in the interim.

Unfortunately, both Nielsen and landowner Kamehameha Schools did not return calls for comment by deadline. And while Comerford called back, he refused to speak on the record about any changes until he meets with the Honolulu Liquor Commission.

“I’m saying mum’s the word until I get my (permanent liquor) license,” he said on Tuesday. “All I can do is keep my fingers crossed.”

Despite the lack of concrete information, the bottom line is that Anna’s has new management but isn’t planning on closing down anytime soon. In fact, tonight marks the return of live music to the bar since the changes; Black SquareGRLFRNDS and Narwhal are the featured bands. Doors open at 7 p.m. with no cover charge before 9 p.m. and a $5 cover afterward. Call 946-5190 …

THE DEADLINE is fast approaching for the 26th annual “Ka Himeni Ana” Hawaiian music competition, which takes place Sept. 10 at the Hawaii Theatre.

Founded by Richard M. Towill, the competition is open to groups of two to five musicians, at least half of whom must “perform with and play” an instrument. In addition, no electric or amplified instruments – except for steel guitars – or microphones may be used while on stage, and entrants are limited to performing songs written before 1945 (some exceptions will be made for songs arranged in a “nahenahe” style).

To enter, submit a contestant information form (available at hmhof.org) and cassette tape or CD recording to Hawaii Pacific Entertainment, P.O. Box 30337, Honolulu, HI 96820. Deadline for entries is June 30; six winners will receive cash prizes ranging from $200 to $1,200, with the grand prize winner also receiving a recording contract with Hula Records. Call 237-3675 or e-mail umma@hawaiipacificentertainment.com; follow the contest on Twitter at twitter.com/kahimeniana …

WEEKEND PICKS

Kakaako coffee shop/music venue Fresh Cafe presents an evening of art and hip-hop for the 18-and-older crowd tonight from 9 p.m. to 2 a.m. “Urban Sprawl” will feature the artwork of Aaron “Angry Woebot” MartinKawika “CKaweekS” Samson and Remi Mead, with 102.7 Da Bomb’s DJ Mixmaster B and Downtowne’s DJ EZL on the decks and Sean D hosting the party. Call 688-8055 … All-Star Swag Entertainment and Samoan Dynasty present the DS Boyz and the Party Boyz tonight at Events at the Tower. Doors open at 8 p.m. for those 21 and up, with opening sets by B-HampLil’ Will and DJ G-Flava; tickets are $50 at the door with $80 VIP seating also available. According to promoters, official afterparties will be held at Oceans808 tonight after the concert and tomorrow at Pipeline Cafe in partnership with Hot Lava Entertainment; call 275-7702 for info … DJ Neil Armstrong, former Hawaii resident and current tour DJ for Jay-Z, will be the special guest on the decks tomorrow at the Honolulu Design Center during “Stage,” hosted by Architechs HawaiiVertical Junkies and Tantriq Entertainment. Doors open at 10 p.m. Call 956-1250 …

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