Every month, Roxy on the Mic is pitching in at Lei with a column about the best tips and tricks to having fun in Hawai‘i. With an enchanting personality and a voice that gets the crowd going, emcee Roxy on the Mic has become a familiar face in Honolulu’s nightlife scene. Peeling back the persona, Erin Bunda, a bible college graduate and youth therapist by day, is vividly human—disarmingly candid, funny, down to earth, and brilliant in her ability to connect with people. Loud, soft, profane, wise, one thing’s for sure: Bunda and her alter ego both love to be out and about. You can count on Roxy to share the buzz in the city she calls home.
When I’m not emceeing, Netflix isn’t cutting it, and I’m on a mission to fully enjoy sleeping in the next day, I usually end up with club-goer ADD. This results in a night out meeting different friends at various venues, drinking one or two drinks (or shots) and spending no more than 45 minutes to an hour at each stop. This frenetic fun is probably due to the fact I’m accustomed to bouncing from place to place as an emcee, but if you only have a few nights in Hawai‘i, why not go all out and bar hop from venue to venue?
This is my rundown of an ADD night-out session. Note: I’d throw some LGBT-specific venues in there, but Hawai‘i has a very integrated culture, and virtually all venues are LGBT-inclusive. Everything about me screams stemme lesbian (stud/femme) and I feel very comfortable everywhere, so I have no reservations that you will too. I just suggest you don’t rock floral tourist attire at any of the named venues.
10 P.M.: CAFÉ DUCK BUTT
Hawaii’s nightlife scene usually doesn’t get cracking until 11 p.m. On any day of the week, Café Duck Butt is a great way to start the night off beforehand. The place offers delicious Korean bar comfort food that makes a great base in your tummy for a full night of drinking. I suggest going there at least four to five friends deep. The fried chicken with salt and pepper seasoning and daikon is what you’ll go back for. The seafood pancake will have you questioning why it is so big, then will leave you contemplating life’s health issues as you debate if you should go for a second order. Café Duck Butt’s signature feature is definitely their delicious assortment of exotic soju flavors, and their presentations. Every Instagram profile is not complete without a picture of you or your friends drinking watermelon soju from a freshly halved watermelon pitcher. An hour later, it’s also normal to see a follow-up post of an emptied half-cut watermelon worn as a helmet by a very happy member of your group. Don’t worry if you find yourself staying past your intended pre-game timeframe—Café Duck Butt’s karaoke will keep you thoroughly entertained.
Image courtesy of M Nightclub
11:30 P.M.: M NIGHTCLUB AND NOCTURNA LOUNGE
Around 11 or 11:30 p.m. is a great time to make your way to The Waterfront Plaza for The M Nightclub and Nocturna Lounge. The M Nightclub always maxes out its 800-person capacity venue on Fridays and Saturdays. Here, I’ve enjoyed DJ Vice, Lil Jon, and Diplo, the elevated dance floor, bottle service tables, and amazing special-effects lighting, and partied with Milo the Monkey, M’s resident mascot, on many occasions. I once stopped in unannounced on my birthday and a bunch of half-naked bottle service beauties surrounded me with sparkler torches, cupcakes, and champagne. Venue advice: Dress sexy, not in your Sunday best.
If The M crowd gets to be too much, give yourself a break and take a walk around the corner to Nocturna Lounge, a karaoke lounge that also features the newest trends in interactive video gaming. It’s a great spot to play a quick round of Super Mario Kart, challenge a buddy at Dance-Dance Revolution, and chance a Journey song if your voice is warmed up enough after Duck Butt’s soju and The M Nightclub’s craft cocktails.
Image courtesy of The Modern
1:30 A.M.: THE STUDY
Feel free to stay at M Nightclub until its 4 a.m. closing, but if you’d like a change in scenery, head to The Modern Honolulu for Addiction Nightclub (second floor) and The Study (first-floor lobby). The Study will give you the option to relax with a nightcap, but it may also be that kick in the rear to take on more fun. Its comfortable booths and craft cocktails give you and your friends a great place to talk and laugh. However, the growing crowd of extremely good-looking people and music filtering through the lobby bar speakers from the upstairs club may just turn your drink into a shot, that shot into another shot, and that shot into dancing the night away to DJs Anit and Compose upstairs. Addiction Nightclub is owned and operated by the same masterminds behind DBA in WeHo, Los Angeles. The music is always on point. Don’t be afraid to be in close dancing quarters with strangers or possibly lose your friends in the crowd. My suggestion is to put your hands in the air and just dance.