Jason Genegabus

Bikini Cantina
easy on the eyes

Hours: 11 a.m. to 2 a.m. daily
Location: Aloha Tower Marketplace
(Above Don Ho's Island Grill)
Phone: 525-7288


BACK IN January, the Barfly got all excited about a new bar in town that promised women in bikinis would be serving drinks when we visited.

Come on -- a cold beer brought to you by a beautiful woman in a bathing suit? What kind of guy (who doesn't feel like going to a strip bar, anyway) would turn down the chance to visit a place like that?

Unfortunately, the Kapiolani Boulevard watering hole I visited back then was a major disappointment, so when an e-mail arrived in my mailbox telling me about a new bar called Bikini Cantina, I have to admit I was a little wary of stopping by.

And besides, Hooters is already well-entrenched in Aloha Tower Marketplace as the place to go if you want to drool over the help while knocking back a few. Of all the possible locations on Oahu, why put yourself in a position to go head-to-head with a competitor if you were opening a new bar?

But the Drinking Buddy had lunch there last week and could confirm that there were, in fact, some cute women in bikini tops serving customers, so off I went a few days later to see for myself if this place was up to snuff.

And I have to admit, Bikini Cantina just might last a little longer in the space that used to be home to Rodeo Cantina and Baja Betty's. As we noted almost immediately after arriving, and as manager Brian Smith later confirmed, this place feels more like a bar than a restaurant. Unlike Hooters and the majority of liquor-serving establishments here, there's no dining area and food selections take up just one page of the menu.

Don't get me wrong. There are lots of tables for customers to sit at, and more than a half-dozen televisions and two pool tables to take advantage of at the second-floor bar in Aloha Tower Marketplace. And as long as there isn't a ship docked when you visit, the view of Honolulu Harbor alone is worth the trip.

Food selections have a Mexican feel (hence the "Cantina" in its name), with expected items on the menu such as beef ($3.25), chicken ($3.25), fish ($3.75), kalua pig ($3.75) and carne asada ($4.25) tacos, taquitos (2 for $4.25) and nachos ($7.95 plain, add $2 for chicken or beef or $3 for carne asada or kalua pig).

The kalua pig quesadilla ($6.95) with cheese, guacamole, salsa and sour cream that I ordered was a good compliment to the Bud Light drafts I drank, and I was even tempted to try the Bikini Cheesecake ($5.50), a pastry tortilla with cinnamon sugar and vanilla or chocolate ice cream. Unfortunately, I had to pass; experience has taught me that ice cream doesn't go very well with beer.

While the menu at this place isn't as big as the restaurants that surround it, there are more than enough choices for someone who doesn't want to break the bank when they go out for drinks and pupus.

THE PRIMARY reason most folks will pick Bikini Cantina as a drinking destination, at least on the first visit, is going to be the service, and the ladies working on the night the Barfly landed were doing a pretty good job of taking care of their customers. Only two of them were in "uniform," but they did a good job of keeping everyone's glasses filled. And yes, they were very easy on the eyes.

With live entertainment scheduled every weekend and a bikini contest every Saturday, add Bikini Cantina to your list of places to stop if you're going to make a night of it at Aloha Tower. I'm looking forward to coming back here during football season -- cold beer, Mexican food and a great view of both the water and the ladies make it a pretty easy decision, if you ask me.

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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