As an accomplished ballroom-dance instructor and television actor, Ed Nix derives joy from seeing his students land coveted roles. The Nix Performing Arts Center is meant to help them across each stepping stone, from introductory classes to audition prep. While highly skilled teachers pass on their expertise in dancing, acting, voice work, and modeling, pupils perfect their maneuvers atop the marley and sprung flooring of the 1,000-square-foot facility.
NixPAC welcomes guests of all experience levels, whether they are aiming to dazzle cruise-line talent scouts or are simply harnessing a sense of rhythm. Staff members strive to cultivate a familial bond with their groups; they readily dispense career advice on choosing a future dance school, where they then send care packages filled with extra feet.
Voted one of the city's best bars by Honolulu magazine in 2009, Tsunami's woos patrons with chic, minimalist furnishings, a flavor-packed menu, and artistic plate presentation. Chef Aaron Fukuda molds minced ahi with sriracha aioli into a savory sculpture with his spicy ahi bowl ($8). Inventive versions of classic pub fare include the half-pound Tsunami burger ($8) and the kalua pig quesadilla served with scallion sour cream and hoisin barbecue sauce ($8). Friends or handcuffed strangers can go splitzies with teriyaki fries ($6) or poke balls, which are rice balls encrusted with ginger- and soy-braised pork ribs and accompanied by hoisin barbecue and pickled cabbage ($10 each). Complete the lounge experience with a beer ($4–$5), mixed drink ($6+), or sake shot ($6–$12) under the modern drop lighting of Tsunami's bar. Valet parking is available, and Tsunami's stays open until 2 a.m. to accommodate night owls and ambitious Californian sleep swimmers.
Scream Team creates new nightmares by bringing already existing ones to life, drawing upon horror staples such as demonic clowns and decaying zombies for their fully immersive haunted houses. In 2011, a rogue’s gallery of cinematic madmen—from Michael Myers to Freddy Krueger to Nick Nolte—brought hypothermia to the spines of patrons tiptoeing through Hollywood Horror, which ran alongside the blood-spattered carnival of Twisted Fun House. Their houses stay open through the end of October and then, like an office of candy-corn salesmen, vanish after Halloween.
Created by local indie rocker Josh86 and his business partner, Serena Hashimoto, as a comfy, stylish diner to lounge about, the Downbeat Diner & Lounge attracts famished lunch munchers and night owls with a vegan-friendly menu of American classics. Patrons can sprawl out in the funky-patterned booths before downing the American burger, which is topped with cheddar and doused in house sauce ($7.50). Those who wake up late can still snack on the breakfast menu all day, filling bellies with the Loco Moco, a gravy- and egg-slathered burger or veggie patty ($7). Like the vegetarian superheroes of the 1930s, every menu item has its vegan foil—even dairified desserts such as the milkshake ($5) and meaty meals such as the bacon, lettuce, avocado, and tomato sandwich ($7.50).
Menus and pricing may vary slightly between Chuck's Restaurants's three locations—Ko 'Olina, Waikiki, and Waikiki Beach—but all three meld upscale cuts and catches with a casual atmosphere, obviating the awkward sight of a tuxedo jacket thrown over a Garfield-print aloha shirt. Open lava-rock grills send meaty aromas to gallantly guide diners to the all-you-can-eat salad bar offered with every entree. On any given night, an array of veggies might be escorted by soupy sidekicks such as seafood chowder, french onion, or tomato vegetable. A herd of aged USDA Prime–grade steaks graze with the teriyaki sirloin, which soaks for 48 hours in a house-made marinade before reaching your plate. Chuck's fish-finaglers hook the catch of the day from local waters, presenting a line of island fish such as hebi, opah, or ahi, served grilled or sautéed (market value). Several variations on surf 'n' turf unite feuding sectors of the culinary kingdom by wedding prime rib (starting at $28.75) to lobster tail (market value), and sirloin (starting at $24.50) to scallops ($28.50). Most meals range $20–$40.