Fantastic cartoon-inspired nightclub dancing downtown this month

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

Zenaku joins the ’80s-themed Cherry nightclub as the second downtown concept of the Hospital Viking group of local entrepreneur Carson Hager. Hager tells CultureMap that after successfully building a nightclub around a story with Cherry, he wanted to go even further with Zenaku. The core 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 has opened near Japantown.”

Customers will find this basic theme built 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 to Vimeo.

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

Some graphics are static or will loop all night. Others are interactive; for example, Hager can use his phone to invite the characters in the paintings to 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,” Hager says. “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 cocktails. Animated characters holding drinks will be displayed on top of the shiny black bar.

For now, Zenaku will be open on Friday and Saturday evenings 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 an EDM-focused Thursday night promotion as well as the 18-plus opening on Wednesday.

Whatever the details, Zenaku is sure to be unlike any other place in Houston. It is quite intentional.

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

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

Jerry C. Greiner