Tequila…tequila…to kill ya! What more can I say about Señor Frogs? If you want togo to a happening party, Señor Frogs is the place. From the “party starter” deejay to the tequila shot-pouring dinosaur, Señor Frogs is non-stop activity. And if the drink, dance, and music don’t appeal to you, you might get a laugh from the décor and sayings that speak to almost anyone.
This date comes on the heels of a hike up Kuliouou Ridge and ends with a beach walk. Why not? Mr. Frogs is right next to the newly renovated Waikiki Beach Walk.
Cost: $3 Jello shooters, Tong Margarita $12 each, most pupus about $12
Do’s and Don’ts: Go before 10 p.m. to avoid the $10 cover charge and long lines.
Big applause to the Honolulu Academy of Arts PR folks; they sure know how to put on a good event. ARTafterDARK, a premier event happening from 6 to 9 p.m. on most last Friday’s of the month draws attention to the Academy and its featured exhibits. We’ve never not had a good time at ARTafterDARK.
Show up, get food, get drink, see the exhibit and usually a lot of friends, and wander the beautiful grounds to see what is set up in every corner to entertain you. Then, dance to popular music in the open air courtyard at the Academy. The strict ending time of 9 p.m. is perfect—time to go off and hit the town, or, if you’re tired after a work day, head home.
This particular ARTafterDARK, entitled Dragon Thunder, featured the Himalayan Kingdom of Bhutan and exhibits from the region. The monks, in colorful robes, helped out with the event—painting surfboards with regional designs, demonstrating Mandala sand painting, and ancient Buddhist dances.
Cost: $10 cover charge (free for members), $4-7 per plate of food, $4-6 drinks
Do’s and Don’ts on this date: Plan to be surprised and entertained. Stay near the main courtyard at the start of the event if you want a good view of the entertainment. Or—hit the food booths while everyone else crowds to see the entertainment. Don’t fret the early closing time; this is a great ice breaker for the start of your evening.
Honolulu’s premiere French restaurant, Le Guignol, serves French cuisine in a comfortable, contemporary setting across the street from Thomas Square and cattycorner from Neil S. Blasdell Center. It’s the perfect place to start the evening before a concert or symphony.
Chef/Owner Travis “Ala” Sutton starts his days at 7 a.m. preparing lunch fare on Wednesdays and Saturdays and dinner on Tuesdays through Sundays. Sutton cooks everything that ends up on the table, including such classic French dishes as baked burgundy escargot with roasted garlic and parsley butter, cumin roasted leg of lamb with curry demi glaze and Serbian flageolet beans and caramelized onions, as well as a local favorite, pan-roasted Opakapaka fillet with anchovy and artichoke green puy lentils and Beurre Noisette.
The restaurant has an intimate bistro feel with only 12 tables inside and three on the lanai. Leilani (Travis’ mom) greets you and, along with other wait staff, provides attentive service. Dress ranges from casual to dressy—whatever you plan to wear to the concert.
Cost: Roasted Opakapaka $28.95, Escargot $8.95
Do’s and Don’ts: Don’t forget your bottle of wine; it’s BYOB. Do call early to make reservations to avoid settling for fast food before a concert.
Hidden in the now blossoming Kaimuki in Honolulu is the Japanese Garlic Restaurant, Ninniku-ya, which means Garlic House in Japanese. Owner Chef Eiyuki Endo uses 5-10 pounds of garlic per day creating just about everything garlic: whole roasted Garlic Cloves, Garlic Spinach Salad, Garlic Soup, Garlic Avocado Ahi appetizer, Escargot, Ahi in a Garlic-Ginger sauce, Pasta with creamy Garlic-tomato sauce spiked with king crab, and Angus steaks served on a sizzling hot stone with Garlic Mashed Potatoes. Finish it off with Sorbet with light Garlic sauce. Anything without garlic? The Blueberry Martini, ahhhh…. Open since 1976 on Waialae Ave near Chaminade University, this little gem features indoor and outside seating, and casual dress code (where do you have to dress up in Honolulu, anyway?). We split the filet, escargot, spinach salad, avocado ahi pupu with a side of roasted garlic and were pleasantly stuffed.
Cost of Date: Most appetizers $12-16; Filet $38; Roasted Garlic $8; Blueberry Martini $8
Do’s and Don’ts on the date: Do get there early to find parking. Don’t expect anyone down wind (for the next 2 days) to not wonder where you’ve been.
Our day hike was followed by a relaxing—sorta—evening with friends. It started at Judy’s place with her special peppermint, chocolate rimmed martinis. Then we were off in a hurry to hit the dance floor at The Kahala Hotel and Resort. Not sure if they really have a dance floor or not in their room called The Veranda. But we make one.
David Swanson gets the crowd—mostly couples and groups from 35 years on up—swinging with his smooth jazz, including George Bensen and Stevie Wonder.
Two drinks: $14 each
Pupus: Free crackers, olives, and olive tapenade
Do’s and Don’ts on this date: For anyone who doesn’t know how to dance, just follow Judy Chorus Line (or are they aerobics?) steps
Here we go again, reviewing Rum Fire. Why? Because it’s the new, happening place in Waikiki.
Located beachfront on Waikiki’s meandering boardwalk at the Sheraton, Rum Fire offers ambiance, entertainment, specialty drinks, ono food, and a few good deals. You can watch paddlers go by, the sun set, and hear great music some evenings. Hot, local musicians like Makana sooth your soul and keep a crowd gathered in the open air bar area.
Even more fun though, is sitting outside on huge cushions with friends near a fire pit, which regardless of how hot or cold, melts away tensions. Happy hour specials are available every night. You can enjoy Meldown Mondays with their signature “1944 Mai Tai” and 50% off all drinks on HumpDay Wednesdays.
Tapas (or pupus), range from crab cakes to ahi poke tacos. Our favorite Tapas to share with friends, though, is the Indian Curry Pot from the dinner menu. That along with a rum drink—in which Rum Fire specializes, is a great way to start or end the evening.
If you stay for dinner, you can enjoy their Euro-pacific cuisine that includes wok fried specialties and seared island fish.