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Watch the surfers or just the surf at Portlock Point in Hawaii Kai. (David Chatsuthiphan)
Watch the surfers or just the surf at Portlock Point in Hawaii Kai. (David Chatsuthiphan)

Top 5 spots where Hawaiians unwind in Honolulu Add to ...

Honolulu mixologist Dave Newman has served whisky with chocolate and won accolades for his new gastro-pub, Pint + Jigger (pintandjigger.com). But he wants to set the record straight about mai tais. “Unfortunately, all the tourist bars in Waikiki use these bastardized versions of a really amazing classic drink, making these crazy overly sweet concoctions,” says Newman, who first moved to Hawaii to run the bar program for Nobu Waikiki. “Really, the drink is fresh-squeezed juice, orange curacao and orgeat. It’s a boozy, very citrusy drink. We actually put it on tap. Kegged it, carbonated it. It was good – but really strong.”

Here he suggests five places around Honolulu that are off the tourist path.

ClickTap any marker to see more information.

1. Portlock Point

David Chatsuthiphan
“One of my favourite places to take out-of-towners is Portlock, out by Hawaii Kai. It’s a surf spot where the waves break along the cliff. You can sit on the cliff and literally reach out and give the surfer a high-five as he goes by. It’s absolutely beautiful. When there are no waves you can jump off the cliffs and swim around. It’s one of those spots where you bring people and they talk about it the rest of the trip. You can find out how to get there – and read warnings about cliff diving – from this great outdoor adventure site, called UnrealHawaii.com, by a friend of mine, David Chatsuthiphan. He tells you about beaches and hikes like Portlock.” Entrance off the end of Lumahai Street in Hawaii Kai, Honolulu.

2. V Lounge

V-Lounge
“The majority of the bars only serve until 2 a.m. I wanted one really late night and there’s this spot called V-Lounge. Not only do they serve alcohol till four in the morning, but they make the best pizza on the island. Once the pizza is pressed out it cooks in something like 45 seconds in an 800-degree oven. It comes out amazing. The restaurant is named after the most popular pizza, Prima, which has Hamakua mushrooms, pancetta, mozzarella and a runny egg in the middle.” 1344 Kona St., vloungehawaii.com

3. Lucky Belly

Lucky Belly
“It’s a noodle bar run by Dusty Grable, who has great wine and sake knowledge. They do good craft cocktails. And the food is phenomenal. They have the regular restaurant, but they also have a late-night take-out window where you can get this amazing street food. It’s just a really unique, great spot. I love the beet salad and I can’t help but order the Belly bowl – some of the best ramen in town, with a great rich broth, perfect noodles, pork, egg and veggies. It’s a lot of food, but I always devour every last morsel. It’s near Manifest in downtown/Chinatown.” 50 N Hotel St., luckybelly.com

4. Pow! Wow! Murals

Courtesy of Hilton Alves
“This is something that has happened in the past couple of years. Every year, they get artists from all over the world to come and paint murals in an area called Kakaako. Nobody tags them. You can walk around or just drive around the neighbourhood and see murals all over the place. Also in Honolulu, a Brazilian-born artist just did the largest wave mural in the world. It’s something like 14,000 square feet with one massive wave. It looks like you’re standing on the beach at a pipeline.” 1320 Kalani St., powwowhawaii.com

5. Where to get a good drink

SALT
“There are a couple of craft cocktail spots, like Pint + Jigger, where the locals drink. SALT Bar & Kitchen is more of a restaurant on Waialae with a really good bar program. Bartenders just take the time and interest to do good drinks. The Smoking Goat is a good drink with rye, aperol and a Scotch rinse. SALT also does a nice charcuterie program. Manifest is in downtown/Chinatown, halfway between the airport and Waikiki. It’s more of a clubby environment. They just started doing small bites of food, but it’s definitely a bar. They’re putting in the time to do a cocktail program correctly.” Salt: 3605 Waialae Ave., Salthonolulu.com; Manifest: 32 N Hotel St., manifesthawaii.com

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