Watch the Sunset From These 5 Beachfront Bars on O‘ahu
Sometimes it’s fun to grab a Mai Tai and play tourist.
Photo: Ambika Castle
Hawai‘i’s got some of the most beautiful sunsets in the world. You should be seeing more of them—with a beer in your hand! Sure, you could DIY it with a cooler and a couple of beach mats, but sometimes there’s nothing like playing tourist for an afternoon, with properly mixed cocktails and ‘ono pūpū being brought right to your table.
House Without a Key at Halekulani
The luxury hotel surrounds the restaurant, a great buffer from the din of Waikīkī. There’s traditional Hawaiian music and hula (the band takes requests, and you’ll likely see a former Miss Hawai‘i or three dancing). And the mai tai is simply the best on the island. It’s a mix of Bacardi Gold, Bacardi Select and Lemon Hart 151, the latter exclusively delivered to the Halekūlani. It has sweet beginnings, but that 151 makes for a head-spinning finish.
Daily, 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. 2199 Kālia Road, halekulani.com.
Rumfire at the Sheraton Waikīkī
There’s no sand at this spot, but the outdoor seating at Rumfire still offers a great view of the ocean. Local singer/songwriters like Randy Allen and Johnny Helm offer breezy tunage, and if you stick around for a few hours after the sun sets, the place gradually turns into Honolulu’s best oceanfront club. You’re sure to spend a pretty penny (even the proletariat’s beer, Bud Light, is $5.50), but you’re paying for the atmosphere and the sunset view. Keep receipts to validate your parking, so you can have more to spend on their coconut-lavender mojitos ($11.50).
Weekdays, 11 a.m. to midnight, Friday and Saturday, 11 a.m. to 12:30 a.m., 2255 Kalākaua Ave., rumfirewaikiki.com.
The Mai Tai Bar at the Royal Hawaiian Hotel
There are bars strung all along the Waikīkī beachline. Only one of them, though, serves up the Royal Mai Tai, as concocted by tiki legend Trader Vic himself at the Royal Hawaiian in 1953. It’s an update to Vic’s original 1944 recipe, adding orange and pineapple juices, and remains one of the best ways to say aloha to a beautiful day in paradise.
Royal Hawaiian Hotel, 2259 Kalākaua Ave., 923-7311.
Sunrise/Sunset Pool Bars at The Modern Honolulu
The Modern Honolulu makes our list, if only because it’s a popular host to that most hedonistic harbinger of summer, the pool party. The water views are better up in the rooms than down at the pool, but who’s looking at the ocean when you’re surrounded by washboard abs and barely there bikinis? Even without those, you still have plenty of liquor, ladies, lounging and live music almost every day. Its frozen coconut mojito, a mix of coconut rum, syrup and lime juice, will sink you. Good thing they have those lounge beds around.
Sunrise, 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily; Sunset, 12 to 6 p.m. daily, depending on occupancy and events, 1775 Ala Moana Blvd. themodernhonolulu.com.
Ola at Turtle Bay Resort
It’s a bit of a drive for townies, but Ola Restaurant at Turtle Bay Resort is just about the only place on the island where you can be served a drink at a table and feel the sand between your toes. Ola carries 58 wines by the bottle, 42 by the glass, along with the standard set of cocktails, all at normal resort prices, or you could go with a beach-friendly beer. Sit by the ropes, let the kids play in the sand and enjoy one of the few places on O‘ahu where you’re actually away from it all.
Lunch, 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Dinner, 5:30 to 10 p.m. 57-091 Kamehameha Highway, olaislife.com.
Did we miss any of your favorite beachfront bars? Let us know in the comments!