La Mariana Sailing Club is a Honolulu tiki spot that takes you back in time. It’s not on the beaten Waikiki path, rather it’s actually a sailing club located on Sand Island near the University of Hawaii Marine Center. La Mariana is a great place to dream of a tiki Polynesian wonderland.
La Mariana began its life in 1955, the brainchild of Annette La Mariana Nahinui. I’ve heard that she worked on the ambience for her sailing slip patrons. There are beautiful plants and landscaping. As the tiki craze began to phase out, bars began to close or change themes around Oahu. Annette would go and buy all the tiki items she could to add to La Mariana. What you see is a wild assortment of puffer fish, glass balls, indoor waterfalls, bamboo, and tikis.
The menu has some classic tiki cocktails: Zombie, Mai Tai, Piña Colada, Blue Hawaii. Beer, wine, and martinis are also available. Surf and turf, mahi, ahi tuna, shrimp, and scallops are the entrées, cooked with various toppings and sauces. There are plenty of pupus (appetizers) if you are just in the mood for an afternoon pick-me-up. The Combo Pupu has shrimp spring roll, calamari, chicken wings, mozzarella sticks, and onion rings. Sashimi and poke (raw fish salad) are on the menu too.
I like the welcoming feeling here. It’s common to see large local family groups celebrating around a big table with 3 or 4 generations. I recommend going in the daytime for your first visit so you can really see everything. It’s fun at night too, of course. With the low ceilings and colored lighting, you’ll get the feeling you are entering a mysterious dive in another time.
Oahu map – La Mariana Honolulu tiki
This is a great place to stop for food on your way to Waikiki from the airport, on your way back from the North Shore, or a trip on the Leeward side.
From Waikiki, take Ala Wai Boulevard to Niu Street and turn left. Follow across Kalakaua to Ala Moana Boulevard. Stay on Ala Moana past downtown as it turns into Nimitz Highway. Turn left at Sand Island Access Road. Watch for Pahounui Street on your right. The very next right turn is the entrance to La Mariana. There is a small sign on the fence marking this turn (I think we’ve blown past it every time we’ve gone!) There is a small parking lot on the right.
From the airport, take Nimitz Highway towards Honolulu. After about 3 miles, turn right on Sand Island Access Road.
On The Bus: Local Route 10 goes to Sand Island
Resource links for La Mariana
- La Mariana Sailing Club
- Beachbum Berry for the best in tiki cocktails. I love his app.
- Locating tiki from Tiki Central
- Don the Beachcomber story
- Brad Parker’s modern tiki art
- Gecko’z South Seas Arts
- Maps and routes for The Bus
Affiliate links: if you make a purchase using these links, I’ll receive a small compensation towards maintaining this blog, at no extra cost to you.