Massive Times Square Korean nightclub Circle is counting down its last days. The club — where dozens of Asian and Asian American clientele could be spotted lining up at the door each weekend — will be closing its doors after in February, exactly a decade after it first opened.
It opened at 135 West 41st St., between Broadway and Sixth Avenue, in 2008, eventually becoming a staple of Asian American nightlife in New York City. Although the massive club fit more than 650 people and frequently sported long lines, the club was fairly unknown outside of the Asian and Asian American community.
The owners of the club also run restaurants like the NYC outpost of popular Korean barbecue chain Kang Ho Dong Baekjong, fast-casual chain Sweetcatch Poke, and the St. Marks Place location of Mamoun’s. They are closing Circle to focus more on the restaurant side of the business, says partner Bobby Kwak. “Ten years, we had a good run,” he says of Circle.
The club preferred to stay out of mainstream press, wanting to be filled with people who came based on word-of-mouth — but it didn’t always avoid time in the (more) public eye. Most notably, the state attorney general forced owners to pay thousands of dollars in fines in 2013 after people accused it of discriminating against non-Asian clientele. Food world celebrity Anthony Bourdain also stopped by the club in a New Yorker profile last year, though Circle was not named. In the piece, Kwak told Bourdain: “If they go to a downtown club like Marquee, they stick out like a sore thumb. You’re the minority here.”
Circle’s last day will be Saturday, February 17th.