For many of us who first visited Hawaii in the early 1990's, the "in" place to meet for drinks and dinner outside of Waikiki was at the Aloha Tower Marketplace. There was some nice shopping and several places to enjoy cocktails, pupus, and dinner, several with live music.
So, when I was on Oahu recently, and I wanted to meet my friend Erica for drinks and dinner, I suggested that we meet at Aloha Tower. She, in response, suggested that we should meet at the Ala Moana Center. My first reaction was somewhat apprehensive. Why meet at a mall? I'm not really a mall person, especially when I'm visiting Hawaii. I recalled visiting the Ala Moana Center back in the mid-1990's and being turned off by the experience.
Erica assured me that the Ala Moana Center was not just an ordinary mall and that a lot had changed since the mid-1990's. She explained that Ala Moana has added a new level, new shops, better parking and lots of new restaurants and places that are really popular for happy hour.
I was skeptical, but agreed. We agreed to meet around 5:00 p.m. on the Mall Level near Macy's. I arrived an hour or so early, parking in the underground lot that I had disliked so much previously. I then wandered through the Lower Level and Mall Level seeing what had changed over the years.