Aulani After Dark: New Bars in Kapolei

Nightlife has improved on the Westside, thanks to Aulani Resort & Spa.

Hawaiian language is written everywhere inside The Olelo Room.

The happening spots west of Pearl City have always been Chili’s, T-Spot Hideaway (if you dare) and The Hideaway Club (if you can get on base). Fortunately, Aulani Disney Resort & Spa opened this past August with two new bars that bring much-needed nightlife options for Oahu’s Westside residents.

The first bar, The Olelo Room, is a perfect place to take visitors if you want to expose them to Hawaiian culture through language. The room’s décor is made up of blocks—similar to children’s reader blocks—with miniature objects and their corresponding Hawaiian names next to them. The staff throws in Hawaiian words into their conversation and help visitors pronounce the words. The menu offers seafood pupu, such as ahi poke ($15), a sashimi selection ($15), squid ring luau ($13) and steamed manila clams ($17). Being a non-seafood-lover, I ordered the Kobe beef sliders ($15) but was less than impressed with the average-tasting burgers.

The drinks, on the other hand, were unique and fused together many fruits and local ingredients to make the ultimate selection of Hawaiian cocktails. These are not your average pina coladas. The bartender recommended the Pineapple Papaya Cosmo ($11) with Skyy Infusions Pineapple vodka, cointreau, organic agave nectar, and pineapple and cranberry juice with pineapple-papaya foam, and it has now trumped all other cosmos I have ever tasted. The drink was strong, but the yummy foam on top makes it easily sippable. Open daily as a lounge from 5 to 11 p.m.

Off the Hook is a large, open-air bar located near the pool, designed like an upscale grass shack—complete with a flat screen TV. The menu has similar dishes at around the same prices, but also includes a seafood platter (priced per piece), prawns and Peking duck. The bar is less formal than The Olelo Room and I could easily imagine myself sitting at the bar with a few friends. Open daily 11 a.m. to 12 midnight.

Don't let its casual decor confuse you. This is a full bar.

To answer a few other questions…
Are these great bars for singles hoping to meet people? No. Is there dancing? No. Are they going to be crowded? No. But, hotel guests keep them occupied at night. Is it a good bar to drink wine and relax? Yes. These new bars will attract residents who are looking for a space to unwind, drink a cocktail or a glass of wine, and enjoy the company of their friends—that they brought with them.

Self and valet parking rates: $35. Free validation is given for anyone spending at least $35 at any food and beverage location (not including merchandise purchases). Aulani, 92-1185 Aliinui Dr., Kapolei.