Best of Honolulu 2016: Fun & Fitness
The seven editorial and reader picks for the hottest entertainment and best fitness favorites from our Best of Honolulu 2016 issue.
Fun & Fitness
Best Escape Room
Photo: Brittney Nitta-Lee
SEE ALSO: We Tried This: Breakout Waikīkī
Imagine being stuck in a room and having to find clues and solve puzzles in order to unlock the door. It’s your team against the clock and the odds are stacked against you—can you get out in time? This is the concept of an escape room, a trend on the Mainland that has arrived in Honolulu. Even though the HONOLULU team failed to escape Breakout Waikīkī’s room The Hatch, that doesn’t keep us from naming the company the best. There are four different rooms from which you can attempt to escape—more than any other escape-room company in Honolulu. Plus, at Breakout, the cost goes down the more people you have, there are rooms available daily from 8 a.m. to 11:45 p.m., and once you book the room it’s yours—no other groups can join you.
131 Ka‘iulani Ave., #88, 926-1418, breakoutwaikiki.com.
Best Rooftop Bar
The fact that SKY Waikīkī is on the 19th floor of the Waikīkī Business Plaza already makes it worth it for the view, but throw in a fire pit, comfy couches, live music and 5,000 square feet of wraparound deck space and you’ve got the perfect classy venue for cocktails. Fans of Top of Waikīkī’s bar menu will be pleased that director of mixology Jennifer Ackrill does double duty, creating specials for SKY like the ‘Iolani Cooler (hibiscus-infused cucumber vodka, lime juice, mint and orange bitters), as does chef Lance Kosaka, serving everything from ‘ahi poke with avocado mousse to truffle mushroom mascarpone pizza. When the venue turns into a club at 10 p.m. Friday and Saturday, just make sure you’re dressed to impress and ready to turn up.
2270 Kalākaua Ave., 19th Floor, 979-7590, skywaikiki.com.
Best Party Solutions
This kama‘āina party supply company moved from Kailua to Kalihi (pushed out by a new apartment building) but kept the phone number and its reputation as a go-to place for local folks wanting to up their party game. Need a bubble machine, popcorn maker and a shave-ice machine for a kids’ party? How about a tent, folding chairs, linens and mirror ball for an anniversary? Aloha Party Rentals has all that and more. Owner Bob Pestana has been in the business for 50 years and has stanchions, rotisseries and whatzits galore. Some of his most challenging work has been RIMPAC aircraft carrier events that included “25,000 square feet of carpet. They wanted a bamboo hut for a bar, so we made for them,” says Pestana.
1365 Colburn St., 261-0885, alohapartyrentals.com.
Best Photography Class
They say everyone’s a photographer these days, thanks to smartphones. You’ll notice no one is saying everyone’s a good photographer. If you want to get a leg up on shooting skills, whether for artistic passion or just to kick up your Instagram feed, The UH Mānoa Outreach College offers classes on everything from digital photography basics to art-photography classes led by local legends including Franco Salmoiraghi. Most classes are between $100 and $200 for five to eight classes, although there are several one-session classes, too.
Best Yoga Studio
Photo: Brandon Smith
There are countless yoga studios throughout the Islands but, according to our readers, none with the flexibility and support (ahem) that Aloha Yoga Kula offers. Licensed and accredited yoga gurus teach more than 40 classes, including prenatal, restorative and aerial yoga. Whether you’re a seasoned yoga pro or an absolute beginner, there’s a class for you. And while other studios nudge you to sign up for a membership, Aloha Yoga Kula offers classes that can be paid for day-of, cash, just $10.
Multiple locations, 772-3520, alohayogakula.com.
Best Sports Bar
Photos: Aaron Yoshino
In addition to scoring top marks for an exterior so unpretentious it almost feels like parody, Home Bar & Grill epitomizes and, in the informed opinion of our readers, surpasses the run-of-the-mill Hawai‘i sports bar by perfecting ridiculously savory food (tater-tot nachos, truffle fries with fried pepperoni, kim chee fried rice/noodles, Wafu steak, seared ‘ahi); comfortable—even slouchable—seating; genuinely friendly service; and clean sightlines for the many, well-curated televisions. Parking hassles? Just Uber it, dude. But do be careful about hosting visitors used to the Mainland’s sterile widescreen stadiums, because you’re on the hook if they decide to stay on and make Honolulu, and Home, home.
1683 Kalākaua Ave.
Best Pau Hana
Photos: Aaron Yoshino
Whether you’re a fan of the big clubhouse location “on the strip” along Kapahulu Avenue or the original on the actual side street, Hopaka, Side Street Inn is the go-to pau hana spot. There are beers and wine, of course, but the star of the show here is the food, piled on in massive dishes that provide days’ worth of leftovers. Favorites include Side Street Inn’s signature fried rice, chicken wings, boneless kalbi and the best deep-fried pork chops we’ve had just about anywhere. “We order the pork chops thicker than most places, I think, then just sprinkle garlic salt, black pepper, and we fry it in vegetable oil,” says general manager Christopher Manabe. “The key is to get the oil hot, so, once the chops are in for even just a minute, there’s already a golden crust.”
The Original at 1225 Hopaka St., 591-0253, and on Da Strip at 614 Kapahulu Ave., 739-3939, sidestreetinn.com.