LIKE A LOCAL: ROBERTA OAKS’ GUIDE TO WAIKIKI
December 12, 2016
There’s no doubt that boutique owner Roberta Oaks has a keen eye for style and design. Roberta’s penchant for mid-century modern architecture, appreciation of culture, and passion for travel is showcased in her namesake label’s retro-inspired, modern aloha shirts. In her downtime, the designer and Chinatown shopkeeper can be found hiking epic trails and soaking up the Hawaiian sun. On occasion, Roberta heads into Waikiki for a coffee fix or a craft cocktail, a sunset sail or some good eats. Below, Roberta’s inside scoop on where to go, what to do and what to see in Waikiki. Plus, what makes this historic Honolulu neighborhood that special.
Favorite restaurant: I love a good hole in the wall Thai restaurant and one of my faves just happens to be in Waiks: Siam Square. You can’t go wrong with the Evil Curry with Tofu and the Veggie Spring Rolls.
| 408 Lewers St., Suite 200, 808.923.5320 |
Favorite bar: I’ve been a regular at the Surfjack since it opened, no shame. Mahina & Suns‘ bar selection is great, no matter what my mood. My go-tos are the house made margarita on the rocks, or the Mai Tai, or maybe just a can of ice cold coconut water. Drink prices are great for being handcrafted, and they have a great wine and local beer selection too. Plus, for an easy yet filling bite, the Portuguese Bean Soup is killer.
| Inside the Surfjack, 412 Lewers St., 808.924.5810 |
Best places for pau hana (after work drinks): Hula Grill. I like sitting up above the hustle bustle. This spot has a killer view of Diamond Head and a great sunset view and their happy hour menu runs until 6pm. It has an authentic Waikiki vibe too.
| 2335 Kalakaua Ave., Suite 203, 808.923.4852 |
Rum Fire. A great view and a good place to people watch and peace out after work.
| 2255 Kalakaua Ave., 808.922.4422 |
Favorite place to watch the sunset: Probably at Kaimana’s. I’m not big on scenes, so I enjoy catching the last bit of light with a swim, a cooler packed with the right stuff and good friends. The local vibe and having my feet in the sand is always the best way to kiss the day goodbye.
| 2863 Kalakaua Ave. |
Best place for coffee: A flat white from Bill’s is never a let down. Aussies know how to do coffee just right.
| 280 Beachwalk Ave., 808.922.1500 |
Favorite boutique: Truffaux. I love hats and always try to stop in and say hi to Ray, John and Taka. These guys are awesome and the hats are gorgeous. I accidentally try the right ones on and then accidentally leave with a hat. It can be a dangerous stop.
| 277 Lewers St., 808.921.8040 |
Must-do activities: Get on a sailboat, somehow, and enjoy the view of Waikiki, Diamond Head, the Ko’olau Range and the backside of Waikiki surf from the water. Not only will the fresh vantage point blow your mind, but the water off shore is gorgeous and refreshing and you’ll probably see some big turtles out there too.
Any hidden gems we should know about?: Walking around Waikiki in search of hidden gems and signage from the’50s,’60s and ’70s always puts into perspective what Waikiki used to be, how much it has changed and where it’s going. I try to capture it on film and appreciate these hidden gems now before they are gone. Oh, and Wang Chung’s for some random karaoke.
| 2424 Koa Ave., 808.201.6369 |
What makes Waikiki so special?: The backdrop of Diamond Head, people watching on the beach, pink umbrellas and tropical drinks, what’s not to love? Probably one of the most iconic and recognized beaches on the planet, Waikiki is a place that a lot of people dream about visiting. Parts of it are frozen in the past, but are being swallowed hole with luxury shops, condos and hotels. I prefer the hole-in-the-wall spots and the hidden little walk-up apartment buildings from decades past. That charm won’t be here forever.