Jason Genegabus

Let them find you
in the ‘Club’

Honolulu Club Bar and Lounge
Location: 932 Ward Avenue
(across from the Blaisdell Concert Hall)
Hours: 5 to 10 p.m. Mondays through Fridays
Phone: 543-3916


THERE'S something about the feeling of exclusivity that can elevate the status of a place, even if there isn't much else to set it apart from other competitors in the area.

At the Honolulu Club Bar and Lounge, located seven stories above Ward Avenue, next to the main entrance of the members-only health and fitness club, it's the feeling of "Am I really supposed to be here?" that prevails the first time you exit the building's elevator and grab a seat at the bar.

But don't sweat it -- this place is open to the general public as well as the rich and powerful who decide to grab a drink after working out.

With a view overlooking the Blaisdell Concert Hall towards McKinley High School, this place first reminded the Barfly of various hotel bars in Waikiki, except all of the customers here looked to be local professionals, not tourists.

About a dozen tables are spread throughout, with another 10 seats at the bar itself. The most comfortable place to sit would be on one of the couches that line the windows along the Diamond Head side of the room.

Once we sat down and ordered our first beer of the evening, however, I realized the vibe was more like a frequent flier club lounge at the airport; drink prices here aren't as insane as some of the ones I've paid in Waikiki, and the employees working on the night we visited seemed to recognize a number of people knocking them back at the bar.

But even though it's open to anyone who wants to visit, the Honolulu Club Bar and Lounge does indeed make it feel like you've stumbled onto a secret hideaway that only a select few know about.

LIVE ENTERTAINMENT is a staple here, with different acts booked from 6 to 9 p.m. every night during the week. Makani Makani were on stage the evening the Barfly landed at the Honolulu Club, keeping things mellow with a mix of Hawaiian tunes and old-school songs like Elton John's "Rocket Man" and a pretty good rendition of "Sara Smile" by Hall and Oates.

Wednesday is the busiest day for live music -- jazz takes center stage that night (and even manages to command a $5 cover charge at the door), with Horizon and Coconut Joe rounding things out on Tuesdays and Thursdays, respectively. Hawaiian music is featured on Fridays, unless a special event causes a change in the schedule.

The only other distraction available at the bar is a single television set, which was tuned to network television on the night the Barfly stopped by. Unless you're extremely confident in your pickup skills, it's probably best to save this place for an early evening out when you already have a date and are working towards "closing the deal."

WHILE THERE is no one thing that sets the Honolulu Club Bar and Lounge apart from other local watering holes, it's the feeling of exclusivity that should kick this place up a few notches on your list of places to visit during the week.

Sure, there are probably more affordable draft prices just down the street at the Ward Entertainment Complex on any given night, and cheaper pupus are easily found at a number of bars in the area, but if you want to impress your date for the evening -- the Honolulu Club is the place to go. Now if I could just find the right girl to take up there for a drink ...

See the Columnists section for some past articles.

Barfly appears every Friday in Star-Bulletin Weekend.
E-mail Jason Genegabus at with suggestions of neighborhood bars to visit.


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