When it comes to dining out in Honolulu, few things rival a space where you can bask in the open air and enjoy views of picturesque landmarks like Diamond Head. In the past, options were limited—only a few Waikiki restaurants took advantage of Hawaii’s beautiful scenery and tropical temperatures. But more and more restaurants are opening with views all their own. Enjoy a cocktail and delight in small bites at these new rooftop bars.
The entrance to Sky Waikiki can be quite intimidating at first. Hawaii’s crème de la crème flock to one of the most happening of the newest rooftop bars. But go forth in confidence knowing that you too belong in this sweet mash-up of trendy 20-somethings and seasoned socialites. With two open-air decks and three full-service bars, there’s no shortage of room to relax and take in the 360-degree view. The beverage program is top-notch, spearheaded by head mixologist Jen Ackrill from Sky’s sister restaurant, Top of Waikiki. Expect small dishes with big flavors like truffle flatbread pizzas, ahi poke with avocado mousse, and ahi and tofu “panna cotta.”
Buho Cocina Y Cantina
Good Mexican food in Hawaii has always been hard to find. But when Buho came onto the scene in 2014, the search was pretty much over. Touted as a modern Mexican kitchen with a gourmet twist, every dish is carefully curated with freshly made tortilla chips, homemade salsa roja, and locally-sourced poblanos, tomatillos, and cilantro. They have all the classics, but their award-winning ceviche is sublime—made with fresh yellowtail, serrano pepper, apple cider reduction, pickled watermelon rinds, and candied jamaica. At night, Buho’s contemporary lounge vibe invites you to stick around for hours, and you undoubtedly will for their impressive margarita bar and phenomenal view.
Na Lani Sky Lounge, Hokulani Waikiki
Surrounded by high-end retail stores and hot Waikiki restaurants, Na Lani, the rooftop pool bar at The Hokulani is the only one of its kind. Opened in January 2014, this newcomer has a lot going for it. The wood-trimmed deck includes six customizable cabanas big enough to seat six comfortably, each with its very own flat-screen TV and mini fridge, perfect for when you need a break from the sun. Let the stress fall away at this ultra-chic rooftop bar as you sip on signature cocktails and delight in small bites before cooling off in the plunge pool and hot tub. You’re guaranteed world-class views of Diamond Head, the Koolau Mountain Range, and the Pacific Ocean.