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Pau Hana Patrol: Wai’olu offers range of quality drinks
I had known there was a bar on the Trump International’s sixth floor for some time, but for some reason, never made it there. The name — Wai’olu — kept escaping me, too.
But now that I’ve been there, I’ll remember it as a sophisticated spot to have a drink and grab a bite, whether with friends from out of town or for a group business meeting, especially during happy hour.
WAI’OLU OCEAN VIEW LOUNGE
Trump International Hotel Waikiki Beach Walk
223 Saratoga Road (sixth-floor lobby)
To get to Wai’olu Ocean View Lounge, simply valet when you pull into the Trump International, take the elevator up to the sixth floor lobby and turn right.
Wai’olu has a full bar and plenty of comfortable seating to choose from, whether you want to sink into sofas gathered around cocktail tables or an umbrella-shaded table on the lanai.
There’s a peek of an ocean view if you sit facing makai, though it’s not the full panorama that you can find at other Waikiki venues. Facing mauka, you get the Waikiki skyline.
This would be a pleasant place to catch the sunset if you come at just the right time.
The overall ambience is relaxing, the service polished and professional — as you would expect from a Trump brand — and the “liquid artistry” refreshing.
During happy hour, Wai’olu has a sunset menu with a featured selection of appetizers from the chef’s kitchen, though you may also order from the regular menu.
Selection is definitely not lacking when it comes to your choice of liquids, whether you want a cocktail, wine, beer, sake, shochu or absinthe.
We found the cristalino ($6.50), sparkling rose wine from Spain, rejuvenating on a hot summer day, with hints of raspberry and cherry.
Shochu, a distilled beverage native to Japan, is available by the glass for $5. You can choose from barley, sweet potatoes or rice.
If it’s a cocktail you want, you have to try Ilikea’s mai tai ($14.50) which took the top title at the annual Mai Tai Festival in Kona on Hawaii island last year.
The cocktail, from the regular drinks menu, is served up with Bacardi 8, amaretto, canton ginger liquor, kaffir lime sour and caramelized pineapple and topped with pineapple-Bacardi sorbet.
Other cocktail choices include a “soothing seas,” featuring vodka, fresh lime juice, basil-mint-cucumber syrup and aloe vera juice, all designed to cool you down. You can also create your own mix of fruit flavors from five classic cocktail recipes. All cocktails are $12.
Wai’olu offers refreshing nonalcoholic drinks, too — a pitcher of iced tea and several signature lemonades and limeades. The lavender lemonade ($8.50) is fresh lemon juice with a hint of lavender, topped off with a scoop of lime sorbet.
Let’s not forget the sunset fare to go with the drinks — which range from the standard poke of the day ($9) to ever-popular nachos ($9, though this didn’t strike me as a nachos kind of place), sashimi of the day ($12.50), several kinds of sushi rolls, a seafood dynamite ($12.50) and an artisanal cheese selection ($16).
If you need comfort food, the seafood dynamite, which includes a rich stew of scallops, shrimp, mushrooms, zucchini and onions baked in a skillet, will hit the spot.
The artisanal cheese platter was satisfying to share. It came with four cheeses — brie, gorgonzola, port salut and black castello — some salumeria and a few berries. Instead of crostini, this one was served with crackers.
Prices quickly add up, so be prepared to spend money if you plan to hang out awhile.
I had heard customers here ordered from the menu via an iPad, but the devices weren’t out during happy hour. The server said that ordering system is available upon request, but not usually until dinnertime.
Last but not least, we wanted to give the ladies’ powder room here an honorary mention — because yes, there is one right next to the bar and it was not only state-of-the-art, but sparkling clean.
—Nina Wu / email@example.com