More Than Duke's On Sunday
Legendary Drinking Spot is Honolulu's 'Go To' Bar
Duke's is good anytime and really comes alive with live music on Sundays.
By PubClub.com's Bar Reviewer The Bar Blogger
Every good party town needs its "go-to" bar, a place where people can casually gather to have a few drinks in a comfortable, receptive setting at any time of the day or night.
A place where you feel at home, that you treat almost as if it's a friend's house. Stop by anytime for a drink and conversation.
A spot you can go to in the afternoon, for Happy Hour or on a busy weekend night. Where the food is good enough to bring you in for lunch and dinner.
A bar where if nothing much is happening when you get there, all you have to do is wait a while because the party – be it a Monday or a Saturday – is likely to come to you at some point.
Sharkeez in Hermosa Beach is that way, so much so that locals refer to it as the "Black Hole." Go in and you can't get out of the place.
In Wakiki Beach, that place is Duke's Canoe Club.
Duke's: King of the Beach in Waikiki
With the best location on Waikiki Beach – right in the center of it – Duke's is perfectly positioned to be what it is: King of the Beach. This article explains why it's King of the Beach.
Want a break from the beach? A place to sit down and cool off for a moment while enjoying a cold Kona beer (PubClub.com loves its Longboard Loager) or a boat drink? A bite to eat, appetizer to full meal without wishing you were on an expense account?
Duke's is the place to do it.
With the premier location on the sand, Duke's is King of Waikiki Beach.
Duke's is Waikiki Beach's "go to" bar.
Even locals go to Dukes on Sunday afternoons.
In the mood to bring it, to put the worries of work and the world behind you, as if you're kicking sand off your sandals?
Duke's is the place to do it.
Looking for a place to go at night that's Hawaiian casual, yet lively enough where you won't be sitting around saying "where is everybody!?"
Duke's is the plac to do it.
Duke's is easy to spot. If you're on the beach, it's the place with the tiki torches planted in front of a patio. (Be sure and clear the sand off your feet at the shower.) The Barefoot Bar, as it's called, is the place where it happens. It's to the right of the restaurant (or left, if you're coming in through the hotel lobby).
There's a fairly large lanai (patio) at beach level and one to the side, but most of the activity happens in the bar area just up the steps. Open front and sides provide an indoor-outdoor atmosphere and either grab a table or sit at the bar. Sometimes, you've got to just stand at the bar but that's okay. The lani to the side of the bar is a great hangout spot, too.
The Barefoot Bar at Duke's has tables, a bar and cold Longboards.
Locals like to hang loose at Duke's, as well as tourists.
The packed patio of Duke's on a Sunday.
You won't get a better sunset photo than from the lanai at Duke's.
The menu has pu-pus (appetizers) salads, sandwiches, fish and pretty darned good fish tacos. All for less than $15. Tropical rum drinks are $8 and tropical drinks with vodka are $9; it's PubClub's opinion that if you're going to have this kind of concoction on an island, it should be made with run. But hey, some people perfer their vodka.
In the afternoon, you can sit at one of the tables with the drink of your choice and keep an eye on one of the booze cruise catamarans. The yellow boat is right in front of Duke's, and you can use Duke's as a perch to see when fun groups get on board. Then run down and jump aboard!
This spontaneity is part of the Hawaiian experience. (Note: Be sure have have your tab paid, as no drinks can leave the business. Also, while we're on the subject of drinks, due to oddball Hawaiian liquor laws, you can only order one drink at a time. So if you're at the bar and are ordering for a friend, who have to point them out to the bartender. And that's tough to do if your friend is in the bathroom at the time.)
Up to this point, all the prose about Duke's has mearly been a build-up to its most monumentus moment. The reason it's King of the Beach, why it's such a great bar.
And that is Sunday afternoons.
For on Sundays, Duke's transpires from mostly-tourist lounge to rocking Honolulu bar. The crowd is four times what it is any other day – finding a table is a true score – the patio is shoulder-to-shoulder and the bar is two and three deep.
It's about the only time locals outnumber tourists in Waikiki Beach.
At around 4, local legend Henry Kapono sets up and plays until sunset. This is island music and locals love him. He even penned a song about the place, Duke's on Sunday, which has been covered by Jimmy Buffett.
After the sunset, Henry packs up and leaves, but many of the people do not, for how can you suddenly depart a place that has given you so much pleasure during the day?
It's such a great scene, PubClub.com likes to tell people this It's crazy if you are flying all the day to Hawaii and don't include Duke's on Sunday as part of your trrp.
And THAT is why Duke's is the King of Waikiki Beach.
Duke's is located in the Outrigger Waikiki Hotel, 2335 Kalakaua Ave. It's next to the Royal Hawaiian.