Twelve years after its establishment as one of the most famous nightclubs in Israel, Jerusalem's Haoman 17 has decided to roll up its dance floor and join the latest trend of night-bars.
The club was established 12 years ago by a group of six well-known nightlife figures - Ruben Lublin, Hillel Farkash, Eyal Katz, Ronen Man, Adi Talmor, and Eran Fefer. The opening of Haoman 17, named simply after its address in the east Talpiot industrial area, made the six friends pioneers in Israel's nightlife.
During the nineties, Haoman 17 saw great success and everybody who was anybody had to be there.
But the hot nightspot's luck didn't hold. Only four months after the opening of Haoman 17's Tel Aviv branch, five of the owners were convicted of tax evasion and sentenced to prison terms.
After the tax evasion affair, Haoman's Tel Aviv club bloomed, but the Jerusalem flagship faltered.
Traditionally, the Jerusalem club has closed its doors before every Pessah and reopened with new decor. This year, after Friday evening's farewell dance party (which begins at midnight and will continue till noon on Saturday) the dance floor will close for good, and the club will reopen as a mega night-bar.
"Nightlife culture, not just in Jerusalem but everywhere, is going through changes. Those who know the scene say it's the right move, because they know how hard it is to pull in 1,200 clients every weekend," Farkash told The Jerusalem Post on Thursday.
"The new place will host a dance party from time to time, and Friday nights for soldiers will continue as usual," Farkash continued.
Lublin pointed to the outbreak of the second intifada as the turning point for Jerusalem's club business. "Clients from Tel Aviv stopped coming to Jerusalem and our Tel Aviv branch has become more popular," he explained.
Talmor, one of Haoman 17's former owners and currently an owner of the successful Colony food bar and the Laylabar dance club, thinks closing Haoman 17 as a club is a smart move.
"We can say that the time of the big dance clubs is over...It's the closing of a famous institution and it changes the picture. But I know they will do well."
Sahar Zangilevitch, a well-known DJ who learned the profession in Haoman said, "Anything good has to come to an end and the market's demands keep on changing. A change is a good thing and I am sure Haoman as a bar will be no less successful."
However, Ziv Bezalel, owner of Haoman's longtime competitor Campus, located next door, does not plan to abandon the battle. "We've been here 11 years already, and we'll be here at least 11 more, because you don't replace a winning horse. But I think they made the right decision and I wish them luck."