Barfly: Fete team heads to Waikiki to open new watering holes
Chuck Bussler and Robynne Maii, the husband-and-wife team behind the ‘Ilima Award-winning downtown Honolulu restaurant Fete, are getting ready to launch a new, more causal concept in Waikiki.
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Chuck Bussler and Robynne Maii, the husband-and-wife team behind the ‘Ilima Award-winning downtown Honolulu restaurant Fete, are getting ready to launch a new, more causal concept in Waikiki, and they’ve enlisted the help of some talented local mixologists to get their cocktail program off the ground.
According to Bussler, local mixologists Dave Power and Kyle Reutner have been hired to develop the cocktail program at Heyday, an open-air poolside cafe and bar coming to the redeveloped White Sands Hotel on Nohonani Street in Waikiki. Reutner, who also works with local rum producer Manulele Distillers, will remain with the Kunia-based company while also helping out in Waikiki; Power, on the other hand, has left his gig with liquor distributor Southern Glazer’s Wine & Spirits to join Heyday full-time.
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With the hotel being re-envisioned by the same team that breathed new life into Surfjack Waikiki down the street on Kuhio Avenue, expect a retro, hipster vibe at Heyday.
“It’s that Don Ho, tiki-esque tone” of the 1960s and ’70s, Bussler said. “Heyday will be sort of pre-tiki, as if tiki hadn’t been taken over by Californians and the drinks were made with real ingredients.”
If you remember attending Diamond Head Crater Festivals of old, or actually saw Ho perform in Waikiki back in the day, you’ll understand the feelings the White Sands hopes to elicit from guests. Heyday will feature seating for about three dozen, with another dozen seats at the bar that will convert from swings to bar stools as day turns into night.
A second, separate, bar called The Green Lady Room will be Heyday’s answer to the growing number of speakeasies in Honolulu. Reutner and Power will hold court in an enclosed space that can accommodate up to 50 people, separated from the rest of the hotel by a “secret” bamboo wall. Bussler said a steady stream of rotating guest bartenders will be invited to pop up in the bar for two- or three-day stints and serve cocktails developed specifically for their visits.
Stay tuned to this space in the coming months for a closer look at Heyday and The Green Lady Room once they open in January.
Jason Genegabus has written about the local bar and drink scenes since 2001. Follow him on Twitter and Instagram at @honolulupulse or email firstname.lastname@example.org.