Fantastic Anime-Inspired Nightclubs Are Dancing Downtown This Month

A new transportive nightclub opens downtown next week. Zenaku will replace The Commoner and Boulevardier (410 Main Street) beginning Friday, November 12.

Zenaku joins 80s-themed nightclub Cherry as the second downtown concept from local entrepreneur Carson Hager’s Hospitable Viking group. Hager tells CultureMap that having managed to build a nightclub around a story with Cherry, he wanted to go even further with Zenaku. The basic concept is a high-energy dance club downstairs and an intimate, semi-exclusive lounge upstairs.

“The idea is that you live in this bustling version of San Francisco, a city on the west coast,” he says. “You hear about this new nightclub that opened near Japantown.”

Customers will find this core theme integrated into all of Zenaku’s design elements. Primarily, they are expressed as anime-style graphics that are projected onto the walls using sophisticated digital mapping technology that uses a system of cameras and computers to perfectly match each image to the shapes of the walls. . See this trailer for a preview:

ZENAKU trailer from Zenaku on Vimeo.

“The technology is amazing,” says Hager. “Once people see this, a lot of people will want to run with it.”

Some charts are static or will loop all night. Others are interactive; for example, Hager can use his phone to make the characters in the paintings wink at people looking at them. They can even change at different times, which Hager says could happen after midnight in the upstairs living room.

“We love anime as a visual style,” says Hager. “It’s perfect for bars. It’s colorful, wild, dramatic. It’s movement, and frankly it’s hyper-sexualized. It’s fantastic for nightclubs.

The graphics extend to the cocktails. Animated characters holding drinks will be displayed on top of the shiny black bar.

For now, Zenaku will be open Friday and Saturday nights from 9 p.m. to 2 a.m. Reservations and bottle service are available for the six semi-private lounges upstairs. Over time, Hager says the club could add a Thursday night promotion focused on EDM as well as the 18+ open on Wednesdays.

Regardless of the details, Zenaku is sure to be unlike any other place in Houston. It’s completely intentional.

“What we are doing here is risky. It’s anime, which is a small subculture. It’s very risky upstairs,” says Hager. “I don’t like the idea of ​​playing it safe.

“I think customers want a little more. At least, I hope they are.

Jerry C. Greiner