Queen Kapiolani’s upgraded poolside bar and grill hits the spot.
“The QueehiKapi‘olani Hotel occupies prime property overlooking Diamond Head and Waikiki Beach, just across Kapahulu Avenue ,
from the Waikiki Zoo. Last year, the hotel completed a
multimillion-dollar renovation and re-envisioning, which included the complete renovation of its pool-adjacent bar on the third floor terrace, now called Deck.
With a food and drinks menu based on quality ingredients, cuts and a daily musical lineup, the venue has started to attract local regulars. We stopped in to see what‘s up.
Whereas the ground ﬂoor of the Queen Kapi‘olani comes at you strong, with colorful, cheerful wall-sized murals ,
and multicolored accents, the revamped Deck has a relaxing vibe, with contemporary lines and a cool color scheme of natural tones, with white and slate accents
There s a bar along the makai wall, with the pool the other side and an open view toward Diamond Head.
The central area includes mix of tables, lounge chairs and woven furniture with a mid-century modern design. On the Thursday when I visited, the room got pretty full during pau hana — along the bar, in groups at tables and with several couples kicking back along the edge of the deck, soaking up the views of sky and Diamond Head. The beach is perpendicular to this deck, but it looks like higher rooms in the hotel must have great views.
On the last Sunday of each month, the hotel’s popular ‘Sunset Sessions‘ overlaps happy hour, while also presenting free performances by headlining artists; such as Paula Fuga and Kimie Miner. Bonus! (There is a two-drink minimum.)
On May 26, from 4 to 7 p. m., Anuhea appears; the show will benefit Hawaii’s Kokua Foundation
Reserve a table in advance at sevenrooms.com/reservations/deckview
Deck bills its menu as “new American cuisine,” based on updating well- known offerings with fresh, locally sourced ingredients. The happy hour menu is limited, but the items are ﬂavorful and successfully executed — tasty enough so that I want to try out the full menu.
The discovery here is Deck’s hot dog, $9 (regularly $13). Made with Wagyu-style beef, it updates a classic – and tastes so good, beefy and rich. with no additive aftertaste. l tried the hot dog last, after filling up with other tastes – but after biting into it, I was hungry allover again, This comes in a tasty bun, topped with textured horseradish mustard and just- a dollop of soft sauerkraut, a Slice of pickle on the side. My dining companion, a chef, gave this her enthusiastic seal of approval.
For a complete meal, order the fish tacos, $12 (regularly $15.) These “beer-battered pieces- of mahi-mahi are generously sized, and the soft shells are filled out with red cabbage slaw, shaved radish, chipotle mayo and salsa verde. A light eater will be satisfied with this.
If you’ re sharing bites or hungrier than that, add tangy guacamole, $7 (regularly $9), or the luscious Kobe Sliders, made with SnakeRiver Farms beef (from the Northwest US.) and served with house-made ketchup, $9 (regularly $12).
There’s also a margherita pizza on the. happy hour menu for $8.50.
Attention has been paid to all aspects of service at Deck, and this includes the bar menu.
Deck’s refreshing Housemade Mai‘Tai, for example, was adapted from Trader Vic’s 19405 cocktail, which isn’t dark or syrupy, as our server was happy to explain.
’It’s made with three kinds of rum, including Oahu’s Kohana label, house curacao and orgeat, and fresh lime juice; $8.50 during happy hour (regularly $12.50).
Two other rum-based tiki cocktails, the Tikilada and House Zombie, are offered at happy hour for $12 (regularly $14). You can explore different recipes on repeat visits.
Beer is here, too, with plenty of options on the main menu. At happy hour, choose from a craft beer of Deck’s choice‘ at $7 (typically $9), Heineken at $5 (regularly $7), ‘or Pabst Blue Ribbon for $3.50 (regularly $4).
Selected wines are $9 to $11 by the glass (typically $11 to $14).
There’s no surprise like a pleasant surprise, and l was exceedingly pleased by Deck’s ﬂavorful hot dog. That alone’would draw me back to the spot — well, that, the refreshing, citrusy mai tai, knowledgeable bartenders and the Diamond Head view seems like there are all kinds of reasons to return to Deck.”