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Monday, October 25, 2010

The Waikiki Edition Bars: Boom or Bust?

The Waikiki Edition Bars: Boom or Bust?

Photo: Eric Wehner

The Waikiki Edition brings a hip elegance to Waikiki, with modern design and a refreshing absence of the usual Hawaiian kitsch. But, my review is about the nightlife scene that Ian Schrager, concept and creative director, envisions. We’re “trying to create a ground zero of nightlife,” Schrager said in a press conference. “You could start the evening outside [at the Sunrise Pool and Bar], later move to the lobby’s hidden bar, end in Crazybox and eat breakfast at Morimoto.”

Christina Aguilera was only one of the many celebrities in attendance.

At the grand opening celebration at the Sunrise Pool and Bar, we lay atop the white canvas-covered lounge beds topped with pillows on a deck surrounding a pool that overlooked the harbor. The throng of celebrities in attendance made it feel like I had been transported to an outdoor bar in Los Angeles. But, then, I started counting the number of men wearing skinny jeans with plaid shirts, and realized that it felt like LA because most of the people there were from LA.

Don’t expect the same crowd in the future, this was all grand opening hoopla. It remains to be seen how everyday nightlife will embrace the atmosphere and drink prices. And, though, the Sunrise Bar is a great place to host events, it’s not going to be the center of nightlife—it closes at 11 p.m. Once the party started to wind down, I went to visit the late-night bars on the property, Crazybox nightclub and the Lobby Bar.

Crazybox was, well, a square box. And, it gave me that chilled ice box type of feeling with its gray, cold cement interior. The VIP area added to this effect with metallic sofas that looked as if they were carved out of its surroundings. There is no color or warmth in the room, except from the large, bubble-looking, light sculpture overhead lit up with different colored hues. There was additional bottle service seating next to the dance floor that looked like bleacher-seating, leaving no room to socialize with its forced, face-front position. The trays of bottles were set down on the bench between the people sitting, as if they were picnicking on a bus, without any sort of pillow for comfort.

Hidden behind a revolving bookcase is the Lobby Bar.

My favorite spot of the night was the Lobby Bar, hidden behind a large rotating bookshelf. What I had expected to be a dark and tiny space behind the hidden nook was, in fact, an expansive room with a long white bar, and comfy white lounge chairs lining the walls on either side of it. This is a bar that I’m glad to see found its way to Hawaii. If they added a piano and light jazz, the place could be comparable to Lewers’ Lounge, or if they add a DJ, then this is a place I could see myself visiting often—though, with an enormous drink menu of pricey cocktails, I’ll have to watch my budget.

It will be fun to see what the addition of the Edition will do to Hawaii’s nightlife. Although I don’t see it as a place that will be the center of nightlife in Honolulu, I do think Schrager did get one thing right: “It will take it to a place it has never been before.”


See party pictures from the grand opening of the Waikiki Edition.

Posted on Monday, October 25, 2010 in Permalink

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About This Column

This Kamehameha Schools and UH graduate manages the website for HONOLULU. In her free time she researches Hawaiian genealogy, when she’s not out and about or taking care of her 5-year-old son. She blogs about Honolulu bars, Hawaii nightlife and entertainment.

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