Best of Honolulu 2017: Fun & Fitness

Nine editorial and reader picks for the hottest entertainment and best fitness favorites from our Best of Honolulu 2017 issue.

Fun & Fitness

Best Pool to Instagram

Surfjack pool
Photos: Left to right: @dianeswlee, @vanilla_6788, @YOGARY, @enjyelkadi, @ckawamoto, @MATTDKNF, @typefiend, @maddiegallacher, @wherestephstay, @aarontesta, @alohanbora, @aussieinhi


Illustrations: Joseph Canlas

If you subscribe to HONOLULU Magazine, you’re already familiar with lettering and graphic artist Matthew Tapia’s work (he did our Best of Honolulu sand-sculpture cover two years ago). He also created the “only good vibes” sign at The Pig & The Lady. His latest work to blow up our Instagram feeds? The pool at The Surfjack Hotel & Swim Club. Scrawled across the tile floor of the pool is the classic postcard phrase, “Wish You Were Here!” beckoning guests out of their hotel rooms, and making all your Mainland friends jealous.

412 Lewers St., 923-8882,


SEE ALSO: The Making of the Cover: Best of Honolulu 2015


Vinyl Record Sale

Vinyl record sale
Photo: courtesy of hawai‘i record fair

Since 2012, the Hawai‘i Record Fair has been the premier event to pick up retro discs, first at McKinley High School, then, last year, at the Ala Moana Hotel. It’s spearheaded by Hungry Ear Records, which chief used-record-buyer Jim Williams says has the largest selection of new vinyl in Hawai‘i and is the oldest record store in the state at 37. Owner Ward Yamashita and staff bring the store’s collection of Hawaiian and local music, reggae and classic rock to the sale, along with other local record shops and collectors. “There’s a wide range of customers buying albums now: from high school kids just discovering the beauty of the format, to the older crowd who bought records in their youth and are still drawn to the sound, graphics and even smells that only come from a vinyl record album,” Yamashita says. Look for the fair this October.


Deluxe Movie Experience

Movie experience

High-res digital projection screens with Dolby Atmos sound, live streaming and 3-D capabilities? Check. A concession menu that includes freshly made pizzas, sandwiches, hot dogs, cupcakes and cookies? Check. Crazy comfortable electric reclining seats? Oh, yeah. Now open for close to a year, the Regal Kapolei Commons 12 has that brand-new movie theater look and feel while still having been around long enough to establish itself as a dominant contender in the local moviegoing arena. “Guests are able to go online and purchase tickets as well as reserve seats before leaving home, plus, there are a variety of dining experiences throughout Kapolei Commons,” says Jeff Dinsmore, executive vice president of development and asset manager for Regal Kapolei Commons 12 owners The MacNaughton Group, Kobayashi Group and Craig Realty Group. “Our friendly and competent staff serve customer needs to create a first-class experience for a day or night out at the movies.” 

4450 Kapolei Parkway, Kapolei, 674-2325,


Place to Meet the Smart Set

“A book club and a speakeasy, with a twist of creativity,” is the tagline for Books & Spirits. The recipe: Invite people to mingle before and after hearing a hot author, such as recent visitor William Finnegan, author of surf epic Barbarian Days. You enjoy each other’s company, as well as specialty cocktails and beer, courtesy of Ocean Vodka and Kona Brewing Co., and upmarket pūpū (Ocean Friendly-designated restaurants participate). The site, RevoluSun’s Ward Avenue showcase space, is cool. Just add smart people like you, stir and serve. It’s the brainchild of Stuart Coleman (Eddie Would Go author, Surfrider regional coordinator) and serial entrepreneur Mark Watkins, who, after creating search engines and other Silicon Valley stuff, started The Hawai‘i Project, a localized book linking service like Goodreads.

210 Ward Ave., (978) 254-1083,



Reader Pick Gym

The world’s largest privately owned and operated fitness center chain by membership, 24 Hour Fitness maintains locations here in the Islands on Maui and O‘ahu, in Pearl City, Mililani, Kapolei, Kāne‘ohe and throughout Honolulu. And a single monthly membership will get you into any of them. Enjoy amenities including top-of-the-line cardio equipment and weight machines, group exercise classes, indoor pools and personal trainers. For a workout, you’re probably headed to the one closest to you, but keep in mind that multiple locations also offer a whirlpool, sauna and steam room. There’s something you won’t find working out at home.

Multiple locations,


Comedy Night

Open-mic nights can be hit or miss, which is why we love Comedy U Wednesdays at Anna O’Brien’s. Since 2014, Jose Dynamite and Patrick Tyrrell have produced a weekly show featuring three or four main comedians plus a host, followed by open mic. “I wanted to create a more structured comedy-club environment for newer comedians to come in and get better quality time,” says Dynamite, who also runs Jose Dynamite & Friends Friday Nights at O’Toole’s. “Some comics might only have a few minutes of decent material, and so we’ll have them perform tighter sets, until they show that they’ve begun to develop a set that consistently results in the audience laughing.” Comedy U occasionally hosts contests, theme nights and major guests—in April, Steve Byrne headlined. Doors open at 8:30 p.m. and cover is $7 ($5 for students and military).

2440 S. Beretania St., 391-5673,


Place to Karaoke

Reader Pick Music notes

With 11 chic, colorful rooms ranging from small and intimate to an impressive VIP suite that holds up to 25 people, $5 and $6 beers, $7 and $8 cocktails and wine, and build-your-own pūpū platters for just $25, Air Park Karaoke stands out to our readers as the best. It also offers high-tech touch-screen karaoke machines. “There’s no drink requirement if you’re booking a room and our prices are reasonable,” says Kylee Lin, who co-owns Air Park with her husband, Chen Pan. “We’re a modern hotspot with every budget in mind.”

510 Pi‘ikoi St., #202, 591-8292,


Live Music Venue

Making a go of live music is hard, doubly difficult in Waikīkī, triply tough if you’re booking big names, but Blue Note Hawai‘i has stretched its wings to accommodate sophisticated local and tourist tastes. One week brings international star Kenny G, the next Willie K; a recent foray into comedy gave us Wanda Sykes and Amy Schumer (the latter managing to turn the famous blue-accented venue even bluer). General manager Marco Olivari has generously reached out to local musicians, who get to experience its amazing sightlines and intimate acoustics. For us fans, just setting foot inside the club feels like being admitted to the birthplace of cool.

2335 Kalākaua Ave., 777-4890,


SEE ALSO: Blue Note Hawai‘i is Making Waikīkī a Jazz Destination for Locals


Local Podcast

This being the age of podcasting, kudos to Offshore, locally produced by Civil Beat, for its good technical quality and fresh reporting—the multipart series provides long-form journalism in a listener-friendly format, and has interviewed sources connected to the infamous Massie/Kahahawai case that we hadn’t seen interviewed elsewhere. We’ve got a couple of quibbles, including shaky pronunciation of Hawaiian words (including Honolulu), and the choice to pair the Massie case with the case against federal agent Christopher Deedy for shooting Kailua man Kollin Elderts. Still, after getting hooked on Serial, we’d like to hear more local podcasts.


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