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Best of Honolulu 2015: Fun and Fitness

The 31 editorial and reader picks for the hottest entertainment and best fitness favorites from our Best of Honolulu 2015 issue.


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Best Classes to Make Your Own...


Photo: Thinkstock 

Madre Chocolate’s classes are not just pour-and-go. Every week, you can learn about the history of chocolate, taste it in three different forms (the cacao fruit, roasted bean and final, silky product) and customize your own chocolate bar with a range of ingredients. Chocolate masters go more in-depth with bean-to-bar classes, chocolate farm tours, whiskey and chocolate pairings and other special events that cover everything you could want to know about local chocolate.

20A Kainehe St., Kailua, 377-6440, madrechocolate.com



There’s no experience required to take Hana Lima ‘Ia’s 10-week ‘ukulele-building course, where you’ll make a four-string tenor ‘ukulele from scratch. Every step is done by hand with the assistance of instructor Michael Chock and his son Asa, who runs the business side. Since classes are limited to six people, you can expect to get a lot of one-on-one attention.

718 Pu‘uhale Road, 847-1541, hanalima.com



If you’re looking for a quick project, The Bead Gallery offers dozens of rotating classes, as well as custom sessions, that range from wire basics to shell earrings to wrap bracelets. Classes may be a few hours or span multiple days, depending on what you’re making. Some even come with downloadable tutorials so you can craft on your own time.

1287 Kalani St., Suite 103, 589-2600, thebeadgallery.com



You might not expect a former sous chef and legal secretary to be soap-making pros, but husband-and-wife team Steve Cromwell and JoAnn Takushi of Soap Box Hawai‘i have been making soap for the past two decades. Learn about saponification while making your own block, or take an advanced class to make colorful, swirled or goat’s milk soap. While they no longer sell soap, the couple continues to teach workshops at Club 100, which is open to the public for these events.

100th Infantry Battalion Veterans Education Center, 520 Kamoku St., 284-6170, soapboxhawaii.com



While you don’t stomp the grapes yourself, at Oeno Winemaking, you choose what wine you’d like based on a tasting, and then it’s fermented onsite. When it’s ready a month or two later, you come back to bottle, cork and label the all-natural wine with a custom design.

26 Ho‘olai St., Suite 900, Kailua, 263-6366, oenowinemaking.com





Best Cycle Repair/Education

Cycle Mānoa, a registered independent organization through University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa that focuses on empowering cyclists with mechanical knowledge, offers a sustainable way to upcycle garage clutter while building the skills and mobility independence of the community. The plan is elegantly simple: Using bicycles donated by the community, volunteers donate their time toward building working bikes from the cannibalized parts, while learning about the inner workings of bikes and how to fix their own machines’ problems. Cycle Mānoa then sells the refurbished bikes back to the UH community to encourage bike usage, with money from the sale going into buying more necessary tools and parts. At Open Shop times, volunteers have access to tools, spare parts and advice to repair their own bicycles, plus first pick of the franken-builds they put together.

UH Press Building H, 2840 Kolowalu St. 


Best News for Cyclists

Photo: Courtesy of Hawai’i Bicycling League


Honolulu is warm and breezy and mostly flat—it should, in theory, be a bicycling mecca. But, for years, to venture out onto the city streets on two wheels has felt like taking one’s life into one’s hands. Hawai‘i drivers are short on aloha when it comes to sharing the road, and concessions to cyclists—sharrows and the occasional stretch of bike lane—are  few and far between. The new South King Street cycle track changes all that. It’s amazing how well designed it is—well-marked, strongly separated from car traffic, wide enough to accommodate two-way traffic, and long enough to become a de facto bike thoroughfare through town. With its arrival, biking instantly became safer, easier and more pleasant. Bravo, City and County of Honolulu, you done good on this one, and we’re looking forward to more bike-friendly improvements in the future. 


Best Retail/ Therapy

Photo: Terri Inefuku


Zen meets trends at Noelani Studios, where retail therapy takes on a whole new meaning. The intimate North Shore space is home to both a cozy yoga studio and mini boutique, where peace-seekers can find enlightenment for their minds and bodies, as well as their style instinct. Owner and yogi extraordinaire Noelani Love merges her passion for wellness and her eye for design with a studio program that features a full array of regular yoga classes and workshops for topics such as stress relief, meditation and motherhood. A step outside this om-zone finds you in the middle of a well-stocked shop of goodies that range from the sustainable to the locally made, including all-natural sunblock, printed activewear and Noelani’s own line of graceful, boho jewelry.

66-437 Kamehameha Highway, Hale‘iwa, 389-3709, noelanistudios.com 


Best Budget North Shore Staycation

Photo: Courtesy of Camp Mokulē‘ia


Want to get away to the country and not empty your purse? Call Camp Mokulē‘ia and see if the newly refurnished Episcopal retreat has a room. Ignore any flashbacks to a sixth-grade sleepaway: For just $85 a night, the beach and setting more than make up for the occasional swarm of schoolchildren and their whistle-toting camp counselors. Check out the sustainable farm, too.

68-729 Farrington Highway, Waialua, 637-6241, campmokuleia.com 


Best Spot to Drink Kava

On Friday and Saturday nights, Smokey’s Pipe and Coffee turns into an all-you-can-drink kava lounge for just $12. And while it is a head shop, Smokey’s is just around the corner from Bubbies in Puck’s Alley. University students come by to study or grab some local coffee and a waffle topped with gelato, banishing any stigma that this is a place for stoners only. Kava nights run from 7 to midnight, so, if you’re in the mood to relax with some friends, skip the alcohol, grab a comfy chair and chill.

1010 University Ave., Suite 101, 955-2837, smokeyshawaii.com 


Best Seat in The House

Picking up tickets for the big game or new play? Not all seats are created equal, so choose the ones coveted by sports buffs and art aficionados in the know. Here’s the low-down:


Aloha Stadium

The makai side, blue section L and K, row 40. These are on the 50-yard line, in the shade, with easy access to the parking lot. And it’s where the half-time show faces.

For game tickets, call 486-9300.


Les Murakami Stadium

Section A (blue), Rows 6, 7 and 8. These seats are right behind the home plate, have a good view of the pitcher and the field and are covered, so you’re protected from the sun and Mānoa rains. (Worst seat: the governor’s box. It’s below ground level, so you get a great view of the players’ feet, but not much else.)



Rainbow Wāhine Softball Stadium

The best seats in the house can be found in Section AA, Rows 1 through 4. Not only are they right behind home plate, but they have seat backs, unlike most of the stadium seats, which are bench seating. The section is also protected by a roof, a big plus in rainy Mānoa. Admission is free, and all seats are general admission, so go early for a premium spot.



Stan Sheriff Center

To watch players dribble from half court, try Lower Level Section B or GG. For volleyball action, the service line is near Section F, DD and BB. Autograph hunters, try the aisle seats nearest the railing in BB, Row 8 Seat A, and DD, Row 8 Seats 1, 2 and 3. Be warned: These seats are mainly in season ticket packages.



Neal S. Blaisdell Center Concert Hall

Front rows are for those who want to be seen and don’t necessarily want to see. A little farther back try Orchestra Rows H, J, K and L. Up in the balcony, Rows H, J and K give you a dead-on view of the stage. These prime seats are highly sought after, and all afford clear, full-stage views. Remember seats are numbered from seat 1 in the center. The odd-number seats stretch to stage right, even-numbers to stage left. Lower numbers are better. Two adjacent seats will be either odd (7, 9) or even (8, 10).



Neal S. Blaisdell Center Arena

For most events, Rows AA, BB and CC are up close and center, but the seats aren’t tiered, so sit behind short people. A better strategy may be to go back a few rows. Rows 7, 8, 9 and 10 have unobstructed views.



Palikū Theatre at Windward Community College

Stadium seating ensures that everyone gets a good view of the stage, but the sweet spots are the center seats in Rows A, B and C. Each row is numbered 101 to 115 (the next row is 201 to 215, then 301 to 315, etc.), so seats 7 through 10 put you right in the middle.


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