Booze With A View


If you’re in the market for a new place to unwind after work or a beautiful spot to watch the sunset, the Wai‘olu Ocean View Lounge is it. For some reason, I’ve found that this spot — located on the second floor of Trump International Hotel at 223 Saratoga Road — remains a little under the radar. I’m not sure why this is, as it’s got my bar trifecta: beautiful views, quality booze and attentive service.

As soon as I walked up to the lounge, I was immediately greeted by a hostess who seemed like she genuinely cared what my interests were in terms of seating. Did I want to watch the sunset on a couch? Did I care to listen to the live entertainment closer to the entrance? Or did I just want a seat at the bar? It’s sometimes hard to find that level of care at a bar, so it was something I noticed right away.

Open from 11 a.m. to 10:30 p.m. daily, Wai‘olu Lounge offers a happy hour from between 3 to 6 p.m., which means you can get discounted drinks and settle in for sunset. I took a seat at a couch overlooking the city and dove into the menu. The first thing that caught my eye was the Ilikea Mai Tai, which according to the menu, was awarded the “World’s Best Mai Tai” title. That’s quite a claim, and my server assured me it was delicious, but I didn’t know if I wanted something that sweet.

I continued to browse the menu, but when I saw the create-your-own Margarita option, I had to stop. Winner! It’s a classic margarita with Blanco Tequila, Cointreau and fresh lime juice — and from there, you can choose a fruit puree from a range of flavors. I went with Passion Fruit, but other selections include Guava, Caramelized Pineapple or White Peach.

As I waited for my drink, I was brought complimentary nuts, including wasabi nuts. If there’s one thing I like when I’m drinking, it’s a snack, so it was a welcome treat.

As soon as I took my first sip, I knew I had made the right choice. It had just the right amount of passion fruit puree to give it flavor without being too sugary, and an abundance of tequila. If I had not been on my way to meet up with some friends, I would have ordered the pineapple margarita for a second round. There’s always next time, right?