web analytics

Retromania: The Wave Waikiki, Like Like Drive Inn and Columbia Inn

I was at Kelley O’Neil’s this past Friday night watching the awesome band 11th Hour jam, when I noticed the drummer John wearing a super old school The Wave Waikiki 25th Annivesary t-shirt. I was like “Oh, how cool!”. So John let me snap a photo of the front and back of the shirt, where here’s the back:

And here’s the front:

You may remember this Japanese artwork as a mural on the front of The Wave that looked like this:

There’s a whole story about the mural art on The Wave in a Honolulu Advertiser archived article here. Depicted in front is The Wave owner Jack Law, who still owns and operates Hula’s Bar & Lei stand on the other end of Waikiki, across the Zoo. The property next to where The Wave was is currently Allure, a luxury condominium. The property where The Wave itself was on is currently up for sale for $5 million.

The Wave Waikiki Nightclub was open at 1877 Kalakaua Avenue in Honolulu, Hawaii from 1980 to 2006.

Personally I never went to The Wave many times, however I do remember they often had live rock and punk bands play there, and all kinds of, ehem,  crazy contests. Right across the street from The Wave was another popular club at the time called Masquerades, where what is now the Waikiki Landmark (The twin tower condo that’s conjoined at the top). And of course right around the corner on Ena Road, next to 7-Eleven, back then was Pink Cadillac. Now that’s the Irish Rose. This, we’re talking around the mid to late 80s.

If you were a Wave Waikiki regular back in the day, you might be interested in joining the “Remember The Wave Waikiki” Facebook group here.

Next up, while walking out of Ross on “Koreamoku Street”, I had to grab a shot of Like Like Drive Inn’s super retro neon sign across the street, truly a landmark of this iconic restaurant. To be honest, I haven’t eaten there for a few years now, while their current status on Yelp is 3.5 stars out of 389 reviews. Pretty much hit or miss, as one would expect at a diner, especially one as old school as Like Like Drive Inn. My father used to frequent “Like Like’s” all the time for their “ono” Portuguese Bean Soup.

Further up Kanunu Street from Like Like Drive Inn is this retro sign and place as well, C’est Si Bon. I don’t have much information on them on the Oahu Bars and Nightclubs Memorialized listing, except that bands Greenwood and Power Point used to play there. Pagoda Hotel has since transformed where this once was a nightclub into a meeting space and ballroom.

Speaking of memorializing old school places, the Oahu Eateries Memorialized listing has been on fire lately! Several loyal readers and followers of that listing have recently contributed a WEALTH of new information and restaurants they remember that have since shut down, and are now added to that list. Reader “khs68” especially has added quite a few old school eateries from the Kaimuki, Mo’ili’ili and McCully areas.

The place that’s received the most valued information update is Columbia Inn, which surely those of you “baby boomers” who grew up in Honolulu were very familiar with. From the Oahu Eateries Memorialized” listing, this is the latest information update to remembering Columbia Inn:

Columbia Inn

• Kapiolani Blvd., next to the Honolulu Advertiser building; this location is  currently a BMW dealership
• Waialae Ave., Kaimuki, in the shopping center with Times and Longs
• Pearl City, on Kaahumanu St., just mauka of Kamehameha Hwy.; this location is currently Gyotaku Japanese restaurant

Historical facts from “The Oroku, Okinawa Connection; UH Center for Oral History”: Opened December 20, 1941 by Gentaro & Toshi (Fred) Kaneshiro on Beretania Street at Tin Can Alley (Maunakea St).

Columbia Inn was a popular restaurant and bar for military and government workers during WWII. In 1964, because of Chinatown’s redevelopment, Columbia Inn relocated to Kapiolani Blvd. (Times Grill opened by Wallace & Albert Teruya in 1939). 

The Waimalu Columbia Inn was opened in July 1981 (on the same day Toshi passed away) to expand the business. Both the Kapiolani and Waimalu restaurants were sold in 1984/1986 to the Japanese corporation, Kyotaru. As part of the sale, the family stayed on at Kapiolani up to the time the restaurant was closed by Kyotaru in 2001. In 2001, the Nguyen brothers bought the Kaimuki Columbia Inn. They leased the restaurant’s name from Alan Casupang, who bought the franchise rights from his former employer, Kyotaru Hawaii, which had owned the Kyotaru and Columbia Inn restaurants in Hawai’i since 1986.

Columbia Inn “Top of the Boulevard” became famous for its award-winning “broke-da-mouth” stew. The Kapiolani location was a popular eating and drinking spot for locals and celebrities, as well as journalists from the Honolulu Advertiser next door. The Kapiolani location was also headquarters for LA Dodgers fans for a long long time, as owner Toshi Kaneshiro was a big fan of the team.

*contributed by khs68, Leighton & Linkmeister

For lots more interesting “retromania”, check out the following posts:

Oahu Eateries Memorialized
Oahu Bars & Nightclubs Memorialized

P.S. Since we’re talking about signs, check this out…

QUALITY SURFBOARDS HAWAII…. “VOTED #1 BEST SURF SHOP on ENA RD.”  That’s great and all, however it’s a bit of a stretch when you consider it’s the ONLY SURF SHOP on ENA ROAD!  Must be nice to not have any competition and win all the votes. LOL!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

%d bloggers like this: