If you stand still, then you’ll notice the restaurant’s slowly revolving. After a couple of drinks, it’s revolving a tad bit faster. A few more drinks later, and you’re spinning into the ocean below. Hopefully you won’t have to experience the latter, but you should experience the spectacular panoramic view from the very “top” of Waikiki.
A sweeping view of Waikiki during the golden hour.
The Top of Waikiki restaurant makes a full 360-degree rotation every hour and provides a live, colorful panorama of Waikiki’s skyline. You’re so high up that surfers look like tiny ants riding the rippling waves. I went here for the first time with some friends for happy hour, and we couldn’t stop gawking at the lines of surf coming through from an unexpected swell. We almost wished we were out there, too, but convinced ourselves that this was just as cool!
The Top of Waikiki has two Happy Hours – one from 5 to 7 p.m. and another from 9 to 11 p.m. I’d suggest showing up at the beginning because it gets packed at the bar. We had to wait around before a spot finally opened up for us. That’s when I noticed just how much the restaurant was revolving. The bar seats and dining room behind you rotate around the stationary bar, where the bartenders are. We joked that we could have three bartenders in one sitting, as it slowly moved us in a circle.
Cheers to being on top! A slow shutter speed pic of the revolving restaurant (bottom).
The Happy Hour menu consisted of $4 drinks and $7 appetizers. They have a good selection of martinis and cocktails, but the beer and wine were a bit limited. If you’re into fruitier drinks, then you have to try the caramel apple martini. It seriously tasted like a caramel-covered apple at a carnival. And because it’s a fine-dining restaurant, the appetizers were teensie-tiny portions served on fancy ceramic dishes. I’d suggest getting the nachos and furikake garlic fries, though, if you really want to get your $7’s worth. The other dishes were very tasty (mini kalbi sandwiches and poke); just wish there was more!
Caramel-covered apple in a glass. Now that’s class!
If you’re looking for a different kind of happy hour, then definitely check out the Top of Waikiki. Stepping onto a slowly spinning carousel may be a little disorienting at first, so just don’t go if you get motion sickness easily. You may regret spending all that money for food and drinks that end up in the toilet! Yuck!
TOP OF WAIKIKI RESTAURANT • 2270 Kalakaua Ave., Honolulu HI 96815 • Opens Mon-Sun 5-11pm • Dinner and Happy Hour • Free validated parking; near bus route
Posted by: Bruce Fisher