Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Dive Life in Hawaii

View of Waikiki from Diamond Head
We chose Oahu for our first trip to Hawaii and it was absolutely beautiful. We stayed in Waikiki, which is crowded and touristy, but took amazing day trips to the Dole Plantation, North Shore, Pearl Harbor, went on a rain forest hike, and snorkeled in the crystal clear waters at Hanauma Bay! After 6 wonderful days on the island of Oahu we learned one important fact: Waikiki is VERY expensive. However, after lots of walking, we did manage to find some great dive-budget friendly spots.

The first dive we were able to find was the Waikiki Sandbox on Kuhio Ave. The Sandbox is your typical dive bar in many ways- smoky inside, crazy looking regulars, and a disgusting bathroom out back. But the Sandbox also boasts a huge tropical fish tank, a nice pool table, and a happy hour that kept us going back for more. Happy hour at the Sandbox is 2-8pm everyday and they offer, among other things, a $3 mai tai... Great spot!

Our next discovery was on our hunt for some good, cheap Hawaiian food... enter The Rainbow Drive-In.  The Rainbow Drive-In, located on Kanaina Ave., is a little dive with a walk up counter and outside tables. It was always crowded and always delicious. We went a couple times during our stay and loved the plate lunches, which come with choice of meat (my favorite was the BBQ pork), rice, and macaroni salad for around $7.

While the Sandbox and the Rainbow Drive-In were our favorite dives, we did hit some other great spots in Waikiki:

  • The bar in our hotel lobby (the Hilton Waikiki Beach, in the old Prince Kuhio) had half off delicious specialty drinks during happy hour from 5-7, and we tried almost all the happy hour specials! Try the Mac-cano Eruption if you get the chance!
  • We also discovered Arnold's Beach Bar, located on Saratoga Rd., when it started pouring rain  so we ducked in here to wait it out. Arnold's is a little tiki style bar hidden back from the street down a little alley and they have happy hour all day until 6pm. Good drinks, great atmosphere and live music.
  • Chuck's Cellar on Kaiulani Ave. is another fun spot to hit for a drink (and dinner if you can afford it). Located down a flight of stairs from street level, this old school spot is dark wood and leather with a piano bar and live music every night. We sat in the bar for drinks, where I had a great Singapore Sling, and listened to the live piano music. Definitely worth checking out!
Of course we ate a ton of delicious food at numerous restaurants and drank as many tropical boozy drinks as we could find, but these are the places I would absolutely go back to if ever in Waikiki again. 


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