Banyan Tree Beach Bar
Sheraton Moana Surfrider, 2365 Kalakaua Ave., Honolulu 96815

The Moana is the oldest Hotel on Waikiki, and the "old-style" feel is much in evidence. This is an elegant setting, especially the Banyan Tree which serves as a relaxing, romantic setting.

Our $7 Mai Tai came in an old-fashioned glass topped with an orchid, straw, pineapple speared with a cherry, umbrella, lime, and stick of sugar cane. The drink was light yellow with a dark rum float. It was plenty sweet, but the rum had a very strong and unappealing spicy aftertaste. The drink is made with a mix of Curacao, orgeat, and rock candy syrups, mixed with sweet & sour, pineapple juice, dark and light rum. Not a bad list of ingredients, but the truly awful rum made this almost undrinkable.

Plus, we were shocked when a Mai Tai this nice looking came in a plastic glass! Plastic was okay on our airline flight or when we paid two dollars for a Mai Tai but when you pay $7 in an elegant setting plastic is unacceptable!

The large Banyan tree, planted in 1885, is an impressive sight at night. It is well-lit with floodlights and it creates a great mood as shadows play throughout the patio and bar area. Tables and chairs with umbrellas were mixed throughout and light piano music played to help set the mood. There is also some seating on the porch running along the sides of the hotel which gives a great view.

The bar itself is just a few steps from the pool or the beach near the classic five-story part of the hotel. This area is also known as the Banyan Veranda. The bartender chatted with customers and although he was not the brightest guy did do a great job of being friendly and answering questions (including mine).

Taste: *
Atmosphere: *****
Date Visited: October 25, 1999
Reviewed By: Kevin Crossman

What better for a Hawaii experience than hiking to the lava flow of Kilauea on the Big Island? And second? The Mai Tais at the Banyon Tree in Oahu. These were little gems of perfection, served quickly with fresh(!!) pineapple. The Mai Tai color was perfect, with the clouds of dark rum hovering close to the top. The drinks were strong, if expensive, but price became secondary.

I tried Mai Tais on the Big Island, Oahu, and Maui, from at least twelve establishments and this was without question the best. But the ambiance was the real kicker. An upscale Sheraton with enormous tropical bouquets, the Sheraton symbol stamped in every sand ash tray, a bar reminiscent of a classic garden party, with the Pacific crashing a few mere yards away. Great place to people watch the beach in luxury. I won't describe the Banyan tree for which this bar is named--you have to see it in person.

Taste: *****
Atmosphere: *****
Date Visited: June 23-July 5
Reviewed By: Curtis Holmes

My husband and I sampled Mai Tai's at alot of establishments in Waikiki. The Sheraton was by far the very best. The Mai Tai's were the most expensive, but worth every penny. There is nothing better then sipping these wonderful drinks while watching the waves crash on the beach. The atmosphere was heaven. It night it was very romantic with the tiki torches lit. I would love to know what their secret was for the ultimate Mai Tai. I don't suppose anyone would have the recipe? Take it from me, these Mai Tai's were the Best!!!!

Taste: ****
Atmosphere: *****
Date Visited: March 11 - March 21
Reviewed By: Kristin Hazelton