Honolulu's Nightlife Diaries

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The Best of 2015, according to me

January 1st, 2016 · No Comments

Hey guys, I’m writing this post “down under” in Brisbane. It’s the first vacation-vacation I’ve taken in a long time and after half a year of fighting for my life.

After something like that happens there is quite a shift in where you choose to focus your attention and energy – but in the nightlife it’s a huge honor to still be able to post my personal favorites from the year we just ended. As long as I’m breathing I’ll always reflect on the year at the end of the year.

It’s just nice to be able to put things in perspective.

2015 wasn’t just about my own hurdles, there were quite a few start/stops that had me so excited then greatly disappointed. Some landmark places closed, but some incredible new energy was also brought in. Some exciting events would be announced, then not do so well, or not happen at all.

Even as someone that has managed to live somewhat peacefully seeing a positive in every situation, I was taken back by the flops. It’s hard to watch someone not doing well. The ideal situation is everyone does well, then everyone wins. I truly believe one day this can be achieved.

I have found that all the years of observing this city and participating when I can to keep a thriving nightlife there is only one constant and that’s the change. It makes you respect the establishments that have managed to power through and stay open even more, especially when you see a low turnover with staff.

Those that can accept and flow with change will be the ones succeeding in this crazy amazing city.

Best New Thing
Guys, keep streaming things that seem like people should be there. For those of us that can’t be there IRL this is the greatest thing to happen to the scene in 2015. Notable Periscopers were there when I couldn’t be – streaming the Iron DJ finals (thank you DJ Shift), the morning show to end all morning shows (thank you Maleko), or even the Spam Jam (thank you Kathy with a K). When you can’t get off your couch, figure out an outfit and get yourself there, lurking from your phone is the next best thing, but streaming the video takes it to a whole other level.

Best Night Out You Might Not Know About
Motown on Monday at the Dragon Upstairs
Zero shade. Great music. Cheap drinks, and sometimes Maria Songbird brings food. All the time she has special guests.

Best New Club
“It’s the closest thing to the Wave that’s opened since the Wave closed” BAMP/The Republik Marketing Director Flash Hansen told me when describing this new place that had swallowed up so many of my close friends as its new regulars. For those who remember that come-as-you-are, zero judgement, collective purpose of just having a great night club this is the greatest compliment for any establishment. Chicago-based owners and local foodie renaissance man Lanai spared no expense creating their own wonderland of weird where nobody would feel out of place unless they had no business in there in the first place.


Sky Waikiki
When you talk about investments and sparing no expense you can’t not recognize Sky Waikiki. Years of planning and work and re-work to open the clubbie-club place to see and be seen brought Waikiki exactly what it didn’t have: a regular destination besides Lewars Lounge for the social elite. With a private members only back room intended to keep the one percent with its own and views that look nothing short of spectacular both day and night Sky is sitting pretty. A high staff turnover and much needed cooling system for the outdoor areas are the only snags in an otherwise beautiful project.

Best Club That’s Not a Club

Best Nightclub
M Nightclub

Best Bar
Bevy Bar
Pint & Jigger
Where you’re never scared to tell the bartender to just make you something. Where you can come as you are and face minimal judgements (unless you order something too mainstream for the cocktail enthusiast bartenders) where you might sit at the bar next to someone you haven’t met before that is open to making conversation.

Best Bar Movement
Kaimuki – led by the town tribe and gaining speed on a neighborhood that’s the perfect destination for true, approachable urban development, are the neighborhoody champions for great drinks, amazing food and a welcoming vibe.

Best Save My Life
Juicy Brew – Jennifer Meleana

Best It Girl
Riana Stellberg
Screen Shot 2016-01-29 at 12.34.20 PM“Tittahbyte” is the quadruple threat killing it as the Creative Director for About the Goods, freelance writer and photographer, Co-Founder for the Greenleafcheck and resident DJ for The Republik/Safehouse. There’s nothing better than seeing someone be able to flow their natural talents in creativity and every mix she drops, every set she plays, every word she says I’m listening.

Tiare Friedman
The Aloha Dreamboard founder is a pure delight to anyone who crosses her path. She has a new retreat that is slowly changing lives and low key learned years ago that the key to success is not material wealth or possessions but your life’s energy flow and positive impact. I am in awe!


Sophia Kennedy (Jem)
I can’t even explain how amazing this girl is but if you’ve ever taken her Yoga class or watched her spin or just seen her smile you know what I mean. Personally she stepped up when I needed help the most with my job(s) but for the world I have yet to meet anyone not affected positively by her amazing shine!

It Boy: Lancifer (tie) Celebugay

Best Newcomer that’s Not New
11139984_10206150082963499_7285764772929378733_nLiving proof that you can do whatever you want to do with your life; Yoozilla is a veteran bartender and promoter but new DJ who played one of the best sets I’ve heard in a long time at my #GirlGang fundraiser. It was a mix of indie dance and popular remixes perfectly timed with great precision and technical skill that was surprising for someone who decided she wanted to play music only this year. Many people saw her on stage with DJ Shift opening for Nervo my favorite is when she forgets where she is or who she is playing for and so blindly gets lost in her music. Since writing this she has partnered with DJ Shift to open sell out shows for Nervo and Cash Cash, and posted one of the greatest mixes I ever heard. SO close.

Biggest Belly Laugh
Aloha Stadium as the “Running of the Bulls” in Waikiki on Halloween

Best Live Band
Kings of Spade

Best Soloist
It’s always difficult to pick one, but Jeremy Cheng makes it easy. The soloist who always sounds bigger than just one with his recording/looping talents has also teamed up with pianist Ethan Capone and so many special guests that he’s basically the epicenter of jams, with friends like Taimane Gardner, Kamuela, Aidan James, Sterling Higa and so many more dropping in.
Sundays at The Study and Mondays at Rumfire.

Best DJ
Screen Shot 2016-01-29 at 12.45.11 PMClub: Osna (tie) DebinScreen Shot 2016-01-29 at 12.46.15 PM
Any Kine: Delve (tie) Oxblood
EDM: MassFunk
Producer: Graves
Underground: Pedro Jimmy Lee Russell Trent Higher Concept Zane Wiz Fathom Kanekoa Willis Kaleb Bernies Diction Loic Tambay Cryptik
Daytime: Jem

Bar: Bevy Bar(tie) Pint & Jigger
Bar food : The Social Honolulu(tie) Home Bar
Best Staff: Hawaiian Brian’s
Best Place to Work: The Republik
Anytime spot: Beerworks (tie) Maru
Watch the game spot : The Row Bar
After 2am spot: The District Ginza
After 4 am spot: Asylum Afterhours
After 6am spot: The Hideaway
All The Time Spot: Downbeat Diner & Lounge
Pool Bar: Sunrise Pool at Modern Honolulu
Hidden Gem: Tommy Bahama’s
Date spot: The Study
Tinder spot: Cafe Maru (tie) Makers & Tasters
Naked spot: Club 939
Bottle service: RumFire
Vip host: Derika (M)
Door Staff: Dayna (Asylum)
Screen Shot 2016-01-29 at 12.50.25 PMMC: Flash (tie) RoxyOTMScreen Shot 2016-01-29 at 12.48.24 PM
Bartender (female): Roxanne (The Republik) (tie) Maia (Addiction)
Bartender (male): Nick Gray (Pig & the Lady) (tie) Jared Robert (The Manifest)
Live music spot: Jazz minds
Concert Venue: The Republik
Creative: Lana Lane Studio
Most welcoming: Motown on Monday at The Dragon Upstairs
Party : ChittyBang
Weekly: The Manor at M (tie) #IN at Lulu’s
Monthly: Nightmarket by StreetGrindz (tie) ArtAfterDark at the Honolulu Museum of Art
Sporadic: Soul Time in Hawaii at Bevy
Promoter: Justin Bone (tie) RoxyOTM
Promoter (group): Tantriq (tie) Level H
Gogo: Cherry Lei
Promo girl : SL (tie) Emme
Graphic design: M Nightclub
Interior design: M Nightclub (tie) Scarlett
View: Sky Waikiki
Spot for birthdays : Bar35 (tie) RumFire
First Friday: Nextdoor

Best Snapchat:
Kuhao Zane
As meticulous as the artist he is, Kuhao tirelessly shares his life – which is quite amazing – every moment, every day.


Zak Noyle
If you’re in to surfing he is the one to be following

Best Twitter:
@flashee(tie) @landonjumpoff
Best Instagram:
BrooklynHawaii (tie) Jonahface
Best Vine:
Harumi Jarome

Healthy: Peace Cafe (tie) Juicy Brew
Lunch: Kaimuki superette
Dinner: town
Brunch: Yogurstory
Happy hour: M Nightclub (those bartenders! That sushi!)
Juice: Juiced for You custom juices
Late night: Lucky Belly window

Podcast : GreenLeafCheck
Best shop: About the Goods (tie) Barrio Vintage
Gifts : MORI by Art & Flea (tie) Owens & Co
Best Head Shop: Two HI Guys

Personal Best: POW! WOW! Hawai’i: the Golden Year

You guys know how passionate I was to bring this here. It was one of those projects that once I started it just flowed through me. It was beautiful and magic and so collaborative getting it off the ground that I will always always have fond memories of planting that seed. The biggest reason? These kids. They are so talented and even if they might not “fit in” in school they are gangesters after school and beyond. I love you all and am here for you in any way I can help forever.

I want to congratulate everyone on making it through another year. Can we take a moment to celebrate the people that work so hard to give everyone an option to have a little bit of fun in the nightlife? It might seem glamorous but it’s not easy, and it’s got it’s own issues; mainly customers that aren’t appreciative, too rowdy, or non-existent. You are constantly at the mercy of the masses and working to guesstimate what will get them excited and out.

Thank you to everyone in this city that works in this industry. Happy New Year.

Tags: Best · celebrities · cool shit · culture

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