We Tried It: Wave808 Karaoke

The new karaoke spot on Sheridan Street offers swanky rooms, high-tech karaoke equipment and a solid drink menu.



Photos: Maria Kanai


Birthdays, anniversaries, quitting that job you hate—our friend group celebrates all things by going to karaoke. Some folks like to go camping, others hit the clubs, but we sing our hearts out to “Mr. Brightside” by the Killers.


So we were thrilled to receive an invitation to check out the brand new karaoke spot Wave808 Karaoke, run by husband-and-wife team Shinji and Hanako Wabiko, who are two of the three owners. The space had its soft opening in January 2023, but the grand opening launched with 15 rooms in late April. There are four small rooms, four medium rooms, three large rooms, two party suites, and two large party suites.


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Where It Is

Wave808 is located inside 808 Center on Sheridan St., right by Ke‘eaumoku Walmart. It’s in the same space as the now-closed karaoke spot Hawai‘i Voice KTV & Lounge and shares the building with some of our favorite eateries like Hawai‘i Hot Pot, Chengdu Taste and Margaritas.


You can take the stairs or the elevator to the second floor and walk in the opposite direction of Chengdu Taste, which would be on your left. You’ll see Wave808’s black and white sign at the end of the walkway.


SEE ALSO: I Was Desperate for Tongue-Numbing Mala Flavors. Chengdu Taste Saved Me


Wave808 Owners Shinji And Hanako Wabiko

Photo: Maria Kanai


A native of Japan, Shinji Wabiko has been a big fan of karaoke from a young age and has lived in Hawai‘i for more than 20 years now, working primarily in the tourism industry. “I noticed there is very limited entertainment here, especially in nightlife, compared to other big cities. I also saw that karaoke is a big part of the local culture here, especially among the Asian community, but the options were limited. Many of the existing karaoke locations were older and had outdated technology,” says Wabiko. “I love Hawai‘i and started to dream of starting an entertainment business for the local community.”


He began working on Wave808 during the COVID-19 pandemic, hoping to open a new karaoke business to provide entertainment to the local community once things opened back up. He’s partnered with Koshidaka Holdings, one of the largest karaoke businesses in Japan with more than 600 stores under the brand name “Maneki-Neko.”


He also utilized technology by Healsonic Group, a company responsible for top-of-the-line karaoke systems. “With their support, I could finally open Wave808 with new technologies that will take our karaoke experience to a whole new level. It’s been nonstop since,” he says.



The Vibes

The eight of us visited on a Saturday night at 5 p.m. There was another group already there celebrating a birthday, and within half an hour, more folks began arriving. Wabiko and his wife gave us a quick tour of the space.


“Each room has a theme,” Wabiko shares as we walk down a narrow hall with soundproof rooms on each side. A peek inside and I’m already impressed with how clean and well-decorated each room is. Some have more muted colors for a casual and comfortable vibe, with plush cushions and couches. They look almost like somebody’s home. Others are slick and swankier—there’s a pink “Breakfast at Tiffany’s” room, a safari theme with painted zebras and tree decor, a black-and-white schemed room, a room with colorful florals and much more. The larger rooms can host up to 30 people. “I like to think of each room like a multi-entertainment box,” says Wabiko.


Karaoke Friend Group

Photo: Maria Kanai


What’s unique about Wave808 is that each of the rooms can be used for more than just a karaoke party. Shinji’s wife Hanako shares, “Companies can use these rooms for corporate meetings and utilize the TV screens for work presentations by mirroring with their smartphone, and then sing and party afterwards.” The Wabikos are also working on installing cable TV so people can watch sports games like football, basketball and UH events.


Each room is equipped with HealSonic, a machine that includes 14 different languages and 200,000 songs in the database. Languages include Hawaiian, English, Japanese, Korean, Chinese, Filipino, Spanish, Vietnamese, Thai, French, German, Russian and Portuguese.


You can navigate and find songs via an iPad tablet or go old-school via a remote control and song books list. Have an obscure song that you really want to sing? You can stream YouTube videos onto the TV screen using the tablet.


There’s more—you can download the Healsonic app onto your phone and create a playlist of your favorite songs, explains Wabiko. If you want to, you could save time by downloading the app and making your own playlist in advance at home.


SEE ALSO: Your Ultimate Guide to Concerts and Live Music in Honolulu


The Experience

After the tour, we got to try out the new tech for ourselves in Room 2, a comfortable room with coastal, beach décor. A surfboard, fake tropical plants and wooden vases and frames give the room an extra cozy vibe. Once we closed the curtains, bunkered down and turned down the lights to get a more nightlife feel—smart light bulbs give us the option to change up the colors and brightness—we felt ready to ruin our vocal pipes for the next three hours.


First off, the tablet is such a nice change from the other karaoke rooms that we’re used to. There’s no need to flip through dog-eared books (although you could if you wanted to—there were five hefty song books available) or input assigned numbers per song into a remote control. The app’s interface is smooth and seamless. You can easily search songs by title or artist. Just be sure to click “Request” instead of “Insert As Next Song,” so you don’t accidentally cut the queue like I did.


Below the search tab, there are options: “New Songs,” “History” “Throwback,” “Top Hits,” “Categories” and “Streaming.” Under “Categories,” you can find everything from musicals and country to rap, disco, duets, TV theme songs, movie soundtracks and family-friendly songs.


Wave808 Katrina

HONOLULU’s Executive Editor Katrina Valcourt having a blast. Photos: Maria Kanai


Our mid-to-elder millennial group ended up pulling heavily from “Top Hits” and “Throwback.” Pretty much every song we wanted to find was already in the database (yes, we’re very mainstream), so we ended up not using the “Streaming” YouTube option. It is good to note that under “Streaming,” the first choices that show up are usually the karaoke “lyric” videos, but you can also play songs that are regular music videos so you can sing along with your favorite artist. In our room, the volume for the two mics and songs are adjustable underneath the TV screen in a cabinet.


Also delightful: the Nikon camera attached in the corner of the room ceiling by the door. It’s connected to a screen, and you can take four timed group selfies to show off how much fun you’re having. The photos are converted into a GIF that’s uploaded onto a community page and is available for download via a QR code.




You know those over-the-top, low quality music videos that typically play on the screen during karaoke? Very ‘90s, often a couple staring off the screen and the tacky close-ups? You don’t have to deal with those music videos at Wave808—here, it’s simply lyrics on the screen. While those dramatic music videos are part of the old-school charm of karaoke, I appreciated just being able to sing along to the lyrics without distraction.


Three hours of nonstop singing and we didn’t want to stop. Even the two friends we invited who had never gone to karaoke before had a blast singing a few country songs together. Overall, a five-star epic experience.



Wave808 Drinks

Photo: Maria Kanai


The Drinks

The Wave808 team arrived with liquid courage, a bottle of Freixenet Blanc de Blanc champagne and three mixed drinks: an Old-Fashioned ($9), Midori Sour ($8) and AMF ($9). The drinks were strong! Thanks to Wave808’s in-house bar, they offer a variety of cocktails, beer, wine, soju, sake and champagne. They also offer beer buckets with six bottles per bucket at $35, including Heineken, Heineken Light and Corona Extra. Soft drinks, vodka, gin, tequila, rum and whiskey are available too.


Throughout the night, we ordered some more drinks. My husband and his friend both enjoyed Whiskey Sour ($8)—it was refreshing and tart, not at all watery and well mixed. Our other friend tried the AMF for the first time and described it as a funky and sweet drink that made singing “Because I Got High” that much more hilarious.


Here’s the full drink menu.



The Hours and Room Rates

Here’s the current price and hour list:

Small Rooms: 6 people, $30/hr for happy hour, $40/hr for regular, $50/hour for late night

Medium Rooms: 10 people, $50/hr for happy hour, $60/hr for regular, $70/hour for late night

Large Rooms: 15 people, $80/hr for happy hour, $95/hr for regular, $110/hour for late night

Party Suite: 20 people, $100/hr for happy hour, $125/hr for regular, $150/hour for late night

Large Party Suite: 30 people, $160/hr for happy hour, $200/hr for regular, $240/hour for late night

Happy Hours: Monday through Friday, 12 p.m. to 6 p.m.

Regular Hours: Monday through Friday, 6 to 9 p.m., Saturday and Sundays, 12 p.m. to 9 p.m.

Late Night Hours: Monday through Saturday, 9 p.m. to 2 a.m., Sunday, 9 p.m. to 12 a.m.


Note that an 18% gratuity is added to the total bill for groups of 6 people and more.



Wave808 Drinks Mic

Photo: Maria Kanai



  • There are tambourines and maracas available at the desk, and you can borrow them upon request. They made the karaoke experience extra fun and extra loud!
  • If you need to use the restroom, use the code placed on the wall by each room’s door. Both men’s and women’s restrooms are off premises, across from the elevators and stairs outside. Don’t forget to finish with the hashtag # after the code numbers.
  • Parking is valet at 808 Center or you can find street parking. The valet rates are free for the first hour and $2 for each additional hour or fraction thereof. Wave808 currently does not validate parking tickets.
  • Friday, Saturday and Sunday nights are busy, especially from 6 p.m. Weekdays are open noon to 2 a.m, and Sundays noon to midnight, so you can check it out for a fun lunch outing with friends.
  • There’s no kitchen, so people can bring their own food or eat afterwards at many of the delicious spots in the building. Outside drinks are not allowed.
  • It’s family-friendly! If your kids are up for some karaoke, you can choose from the many Disney and keiki songs available in the song selection.


Wave808 Karaoke, 808 Sheridan St., wave808.com, @wave808karaoke



Our Karaoke Playlist (For Your Inspiration)