RumFire is what happened to the Sheraton Waikiki’s old Esprit Lounge.  It’s been blown open, and one realizes the old, dark, closed-in Esprit was a waste of beach frontage.

RumFire’s an expensive-looking, glassed-in lounge, with two lanai and, on each side, a beach area filled with big upholstered ottomans and firepots. Yes, cozy, gas-fed, little basins of fire. Plus a menu with some 101 rums, hence RumFire.

RumFire’s cocktail menu, like the one at Pearl, was designed by Francesco Lafranconi. A great cocktail is a balance between sweet and sour, strong, weak and bitter. LaFranconi is a celebrated mixologist, but his cocktails are all horribly sweet. At RumFire, even a standard drink like a caipirinha is likely to have so much sugar as to be spit-out-able.

One of our party—the young lady who wished to sit on Señor Frog’s swings—was perhaps LaFranconi’s target audience. She ordered a strawberry daiquiri. To Franconi’s credit, this was not the usual milkshakey nonsense. It was made with 151 proof rum and real organic strawberries. But it was too sweet even for my friend—and that’s sweet...

ARCHIVED:  Read John Heckathorn's entire review in our "Lewers and Kalakaua," May 2008 issue.