Blue Note Hawaii is Waikiki’s newest oasis of jazz
Oahu just got a little more musically diverse with the opening of Blue Note Hawaii in the Outrigger Waikiki Beach Resort last month. The intimate space, previously the Society of Seven showroom, was renovated to showcase renowned jazz artists.
Danny Bensusan started Blue Note in 1981 in New York City’s Greenwich Village as a way to showcase the talents of jazz artists in a close, informal space. Waikiki is the latest installment of the renowned jazz club franchise; there are only six Blue Note clubs in the world, only two of which are the U.S.
That’s the best part about Blue Note Hawaii. There are only 300 seats enveloping the stage in a tiered semi-circle. It’s a quality performance venue—roughly $3.5 million was spent renovating the space—blue lights coolly washing over the 9,000-square-foot space. Tickets are $25, $35 or $45 per person, depending on how close to the stage you want to sit. Twice nightly performances are 7 and 9:30 p.m.
The club features a weekly rotating line-up of world-renowned jazz musicians. Kenny G played at the club’s grand opening and last week Grammy Award-winning jazz musician Roy Hargrove played performed with his band to enthusiastic crowds.
This upcoming week Earl Klugh takes the stage, followed by Roberta Gambarini the first week of February, and Maxi Priest at the end of the month. In March, Kamasi Washington, who played saxophone on Kendrick Lamar’s “To Pimp a Butterfly,” will be playing six shows.
The club’s menu features spirits as well as red, white and sparkling wines and sake, by the glass or bottle. Honolulu chef Rodney Uyehara has developed a small food menu, which includes appetizers—try the crab cake sliders—salads, French onion soup, burgers, steak, and desserts such as crème brûlée. Right now, it appears to be similar to the food featured at the New York Blue Note. According the website, the club will soon debut late night and brunch menus.
There’s also a gift shop next door, where you can meet and get the autographs of artists you just listened to, as well as buy Blue Note logo wear.
Blue Note Hawaii is a welcome addition to Oahu’s diverse and growing music scene, especially for jazz lovers.