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Da Big Kahuna: Good Cocktails and Bar Food
After a bit of shopping at the International Marketplace we dediced to grab a snack and some drinks at Da Big Kahuna. The best way to describe this place is strip club meets pool hall/Tiki Bar. The place definitely looks run down but it was recomended to us by Nathalie_B so we had to try it (plus it was an AA I-dine).
as soon as we entered the place there is the bar along with couches and mini tables. Up the stairs are pool tables and a dining area. Liz and I decided to sit at a couch by the bar. Our waitress came by with a menu. I decided to have a Mai Tai and Liz had a club soda with Lime; she was a bit alcoholed out. The menu had a nice election of small bites and food items. We decided to split an order of the mozzarella sticks. The place is know for Da Big Fish Bowl drink which is a huge Blue Hawaiian served in a fishbowl with plastic fish. Neither one of us are fans of that drink so it was a definite no for us.
Our drinks and appetizer came out rather quickly. I like my Mai Tai but it wasn't the best I have had in Oahu. The mozzarella sticks were surprisingly good. They were a large portion and served with marinara sauce and a ranch sauce for dipping. I also liked that the sticks were sprinkled with parmesean cheese which added an extra saltiness to them.
I was surprised at the strange variety of clientel wandering in an out. Liz was a bit creeeped out by several of them and said she felt as if she was in a bad B movie. After finishing our drinks and sticks we decided to move on. The service was good, the food was good but I can't see us wanting to return even if it is an I-dine.
Dress Code: Very casualRelated to:
- Food and Dining
- Beer Tasting
- Romantic Travel and Honeymoons
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Banyan Tree Court: Evening Cocktails
The Banyan Tree Court Bar is located at the Moana Hotel at Waikiki Beach in Honolulu. This unique outdoor bar is set around a grand old Banyan Tree and there are table and chairs right next to the Waikiki Beach. I think this is an absolutely wonderful place to sit and have a drink at night and take in the breathtaking view of the ocean. Anyone including children are welcome to sit and enjoy the view. There is often authentic live Hawaiian Music in the Background. They bar makes the best Chi Chi?s I have ever had. What is also so fascinating about this place is not only is is located at one of the original hotels at Waikiki; it is also "roofed" by a Banyan Tree. These are unique trees that roots grow down to the ground from the branches and given new trunks connected to the original tree. This tree has been around so long some of the roots are thicker around than people standing next to them.
There is a plaque dedicated to the Banyan Tree and Robert Louis Stevenson. I was sitting at this place the poet Robert Louis Stevenson wrote the following poem:
"I stood on the beach at Waikiki, under the Banyan tree.
The starry night and the rolling waves sent a stillness over me.
The torches burned, the natives sang. What could the answer be?
But paradise, before my eyes on the beach at Waikiki."
My sister and I used to come to this place when we were little and have our virgin Chi Chi?s and see who could recite the poem the fastest from memory....Now we do it with real Chi Chi?s and it is quite a more difficult task! But the essence of the poem really encompasses the beauty of the place.
Dress Code: No special dress code. During the day swimwear is allowed.Related to:
- Family Travel
- Luxury Travel
Oceans: A Little More Local With a Little More Class
Oceans is a nicer club with good music and a good, clean atmosphere. It's definitely a better and classier nightclub than some other holes you'd check out. The minimum age to check Oceans out is 23 on Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday. All other nights it is 21 and over.
Dress Code: No t-shirts. No beachwear.
The Mai Tai Bar: Hula, Serenade and Mai Tai's
You can watch the action on Waikiki Beach during the day at this open-air beachside bar...and then at night listen to Hawaiian music, watch hula and drink the namesake of this location...an awesome Mai Tai.
Dress Code: Casual...but please no ripped shorts and torn t-shirts.Related to:
- Food and Dining
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one more margaritta please!
In the evening Waikiki is bustling with bars and clubs and of course the best part, Street performers. Some of these people are very interesting and worth the time to see what they are doing. Except from several musicians there are joggles, magicians and painters. Honolulu Weekly is a free guide that will inform you about several music, theatrical or other performances in the area. You can also listen for free the Hawaiian Royal Orchestra at the garden of Iolani Palace every Friday at noon. Even if you for shopping there will be a concert or a hula show at the center stage of Ala Moana Center.
Of course Waikiki is the place that you will listen a lot of Hawaiian music, after some days you will know all the traditional hits for sure :) There are several free hula shows along the beach, usually in front of the big hotels or in a big patio but don’t worry, you will see at least one every evening along Kalakaua avenue. Although they are tourist oriented you can listen to professional musicians and the dancers were good enough, not much of a swaying hips though (this is common in Tahiti) it’s actually an expression of the hands. See my video from a hula show in Waikiki here. Most of the shows are usually combined with a torch lighting show, conch shell ceremonies and other nice things that will keep your attention.Related to:
- Budget Travel
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The 'Horizons' Show: Polynesian Dance and Song
Exotic costumes, traditional island music, firewalkers, knife dancers and more than one hundred 'native' performers make the HORIZONS show a terrific event. You can behold this extravaganza at The Polynesian Culture Center.
Presented as night falls, the brilliant torches and haunting drum beats accent the show with realism and drama. I would highly recommend it to families in particular--the kids will love it!
The performances were pulsing with exciting colors and sound as one presentation followed another in rapid sequence. There were many appreciative claps and oohs and ahs as the evening progressed, ending our visit on a high note to be sure!
NO flash photography is permitted. See website below for times and prices.Related to:
- Theater Travel
- Arts and Culture
Senor Frogs: Probably best to avoid
I was on my way to make some sunset pictures, crossing Kalakaua Ave., when I suddenly heard one old lady saying to another: “We gotta try this place, Senor Frog’s looks like a nice restaurant”. It definitely put a smile on my face. WOW, they will be surprised.
When I arrived in Honolulu, Senor Frog’s has just opened its doors few weeks earlier. A new attraction of Waikiki quickly became a hit. Long lines outside suggested that there’s no more popular place than that. Oh well, I didn’t like it at all. First reason, it was overcrowded and too noisy. Second, there was no place to sit down, even at the bar, because they took the stools away after 10pm. So basically, I paid entrance fee to stand in an overly noisy, crowded bar and drinking mediocre margarita from a plastic cup! Their home brand beer comes in a plastic bottle, although the name is funny the containers are not!
The entertainment program offered some nice Latin dance music, but it was quickly switched to a DJ who looked for volunteers that were willing to publicly humiliate themselves dancing like they used to in 1st grade.
Bottom line, those grandmas are too old for this place and so am I.
Yard House: Biggest draft beer collection in Honolulu
If you're a beer lover you'll never leave this place! I was amazed by the amount of taps at the bar. Name a brand and they'll probably have it!
Being loyal to Belgian beers I didn't even expect to find De Koninck on their menu, but I was wrong. It was served to me in a genuine glass "Bolleke" and it tasted exactly like De Koninck of Antwerp.
Had I ordered some local brands or world more known ones, they'd be served in the Yard glass, that would look like a tower on my table.
The bar is huge, featuring wooden tables and chairs, 42" plasmas, and loud music. Super bowl addicts will find Paradise in this place. What can be more satisfying than drinking beer by yard, enjoying tasty, juicy burger and watching your favorite team's game?
Since it's located in the most touristy area of Waikiki, among many hotels, every type of visitors can be spotted at the Yard House, so this is another place for people watching.
You may have trouble finding a table to sit at, but you can always make a reservation or show up after 11pm and try to find a place to enjoy your beer.
Althought The Yard House is always packed, we experienced friendly and very quick service, which only added to our great experience.Related to:
- Beer Tasting
Hideaway Bar: Only on Oahu
Although tourists are everywhere on this island, there are still some bars where only locals go.
“Hideaway” was a perfect choice for a bar name, because if you’re not familiar with the place it will take a while before you find it. The local attraction is definitely the bouncer, this guy has the meanest look on his face and while checking your ID he’ll screen you several times before he’ll “do you a favor” and let you in. It was kinda amusing.
Once inside, you’ll realize that this is not an ordinary bar. Get your beer and don’t ask about the brand, it looks like beer, it tastes like beer, this is what they serve, so suit yourself.
If at table next to you people start smoking don’t be surprised, apparently they didn’t hear about the smoking laws in Hideaway. Actually, this is one of these places where you go people watching. Just make sure you don’t take their pictures, you’ll get yourself in trouble.
Ok, I’ll just go ahead and say it, this is Oahu’s redneck bar (or what they call a "dive bar") so if you’re not interested in this kind of entertainment go somewhere less spooky.
Just one more thing, the bar itself doesn’t look clean and shiny, but I must compliment on their restrooms, the level of cleanliness there puts many fancy, expensive bars to shame.Related to:
- Beer Tasting
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Kelley O'Neil's: Keida84's choice
A few days before I departed to Hawaii, I accidentally found out that Keida84 will be there too. I couldn’t miss the opportunity meeting her and I was lucky that Kat was able to squeeze me in her tight schedule.
I called her on the day she arrived and about two hours after she got off the plane, tired but happy she was sitting at the Kelley O’Neil’s accompanied by her best friend and travel partner Kris.
Meeting Kat was one of my happiest moments in Hawaii. We were introduced to each other, here on VT, by our dear Bernishand about 2.5 years ago and we finally got to meet in person. Kat and I are sure that this meeting was arranged by St. Berni, Patron saint of all VTers.
It was a great choice for a meeting place. Right in the middle of Waikiki Kelley O’Neil’s is a calm but joyful Irish pub with great service and perfect Guinness. They also serve Mai Tai’s and some nice nachos topped with cheese.
Now, it seems that Irish bars in Hawaii come in pairs and are always located across from each other. So, if you’re looking for a noisier place (often favored by students) go to the other side of the street to Moose McGillycuddy’s.Related to:
- Beer Tasting
Murphy's bar & grill: Yet another Irish bar
Another historical building that also looks like it was over 100 years ago, but there’s more to it. From its first day the nowadays’ Murphy’s was a hotel, saloon, restaurants and bar. It is said that King Kalakaua and Mark Twain used to enjoy their drinks in this place.
Today, it’s an Irish bar & grill, which exists already 20 years. I have to admit that it’s totally different from its neighbor from across the street.
It’s quiet (although light music is playing), better decorated, and the beer served by more experienced bartenders that excel in their Guinness-pouring techniques.
So, depends on what you’re looking for, you can choose from 2 bars that face each other on the same street.Related to:
- Beer Tasting
O'Toole's: Irish bar (of course)
You didn’t think I’d skip it, right? Well, I’ve actually been to four of them and they all have different kind of an Irish atmosphere.
My feelings for O’Toole’s were mixed. It was a great, happy place with life music. The band was really good and as far as I know they’re playing every week, so if you see Doolin Rakes listed on O’Toole’s events’ list be sure that you’ll enjoy it. The building itself is an historical place and looks exactly the same as it was over 100 years ago.
But, with all that happiness and popularity (the place was packed) they have no idea how to pour Guinness, believe it or not. All the pints were served half full, because they didn’t let the beer settle down properly, so it looked like a still-bubbling diet coke poured out of a can. Did I say it was overpriced? $6 for what they call a pint.
After enjoying the music for a while, we moved across the street, to another bar, where Guinness is GUINNESS!Related to:
- Beer Tasting
Hale Koa: Mai Tai's
Keida84 was “praising” me for daring to drink Da Fish Bowl, but she forgot her own impressive ability to handle Mai Tai’s.
Hale Koa is a bar on the beach, they do have other drinks, but it looks like people go there to enjoy their Mai Tai’s and trust me they are strong!
The Hale Koa hotel is serving only military and their families, but their bar is open for everyone.
The area is pretty big with a large bar inside, lots of tables around it, and even a dancing area with live band (sometimes).
Prices are about average and service is always good. Great atmosphere in the open air and it was a wonderful place for a VT meeting.
Da Big Kahuna: Da Fish Bowl!
That’s a fun place to have a drink at. Yes, I purposely said “a drink” avoiding plural form; the reason is the size of the drink.
Every place in Waikiki seems to have its own special invention; Da Fish Bowl is native to Da Big Kahuna.
First, I must admit it tastes great, and it’s sweet so you don’t feel the alcohol so much which is the “dangerous” part of the drink. My advice, one bowl is enough for two people and don’t push your luck if you want to be able to stand after you finish the drink.
The recipe is no secret either, so you can practice at home:
1 shot of coconut rum
1 shot of pineapple rum
2 shots of 151 rum
1 shot of peach schnapps
1 shot of Blue Curacao
And it’s all filled with sprite.
They also serve food and some nice refreshments. Personally I enjoyed their delicious mozzarella sticks, but there is a big enough menu to choose from.
P.S. When you’re done drinking, take da fish as a souvenir :)
Rumours: So you wanna dance and your in your 30's!
Romours is a classy dance club located in the Ala Moana hotel. Disco still lives at Rumours as they spin the 80's and 90's hits of your youth.
Dress Code: No sneakers or flip flops either. Slacks and dress shoes and belts required. Dress nice, however tie not required.Related to:
- Business Travel
- Romantic Travel and Honeymoons
Upon arrival to the Halekulani you are greeted at the desk and assigned a staff member to tour you...more
2417 Prince Edward Street, Honolulu, Hawaii, 96815, United States
Good for: Business
1277 Mokulua Drive, Kailua, Hawaii, United States
Good for: Families
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