A New York Speakeasy in the Heart of Paradise
During the recent Labor Day weekend, we were honored and thrilled to welcome back to Maui the visionary team of master mixologists from the globally renowned New York City cocktail institution Employees Only. This marked the fourth visit to Maui by our favorite craft cocktail maestros, whose inventive cocktail recipes have made their West Village haunt a magnet for cocktail aficionados since it first opened its doors in 2004.
We first welcomed the Employees Only team for Memorial Day weekend in 2021, which featured a pop-up bar takeover at Botero Lounge. This first visit was such a success that we immediately lined up additional visits, during which Employees Only upped the ante with more interactive pop-up events.
This time around we worked with the Employees Only team to create inspiring and exceptional experiences designed to bring the West Village speakeasy mystique to Grand Wailea.
For starters, the visiting bartenders curated a special menu of 11 cocktails infused with local ingredients for their Grand Wailea visit. These included the spicy, surprising Besos Calientes, the incredibly smooth Sail Away, and the headliner: The Smoking Lady, inspired by Fernando Botero's famous “Woman Smoking a Cigarette” sculpture and created in honor of the relaunch of our signature Botero Lounge. This refreshing concoction combines coconut fat-washed Elijah Craig Small Batch Bourbon stirred with Kupu Spirits Island Amaro and homemade hibiscus cordial, flavored with fresh-grated nutmeg, chocolate bitters, and clove smoke—all served tall and cool over a large ice cube.
The long weekend began with a Boozy Shaved Ice Pop-Up Event at our Hibiscus Adult Pool on Friday at noon, during which the Employees Only bartenders cooled guests off with their signature take on a passionfruit-infused shaved ice mai tai, followed by an exclusive pop-up event at Napua Lounge on Friday night.
Saturday morning featured a brunch pop-up event at ʻIkena followed by a reprisal of the poolside Boozy Shaved Ice Pop-Up. The Employees Only team then headed over to our newly relaunched Botero Lounge for a takeover, during which they poured selections off their specially curated menu for a deliciously irresistible evening.
Labor Day Sunday featured the final Boozy Shaved Ice Pop-Up and another Botero Lounge takeover, putting the perfect cap on an unforgettable weekend.
“Having the Employees Only team at the resort has become a delicious and fun tradition for all of us here at Grand Wailea,” said Ryan Urig, Executive Chef at Grand Wailea. “The bartenders from Employees Only are masters of their craft, and we are thankful to them for bringing their inimitable flair and style back to Grand Wailea. During their takeover of Botero Lounge, for instance, they managed to transform our signature nightspot into something entirely new—a place where the cool, exciting speakeasy vibe of Employees Only took on a surprising new dimension amid the tropical paradise of Grand Wailea.”
“It’s always a treat to come to Grand Wailea,” said Frank Maldonado, Bar Manager of EO NY. “This Labor Day weekend was something we had all been looking forward to for a while, and I’m so happy it was such a success. We had the chance to interact with so many guests, and seeing all the smiles on people’s faces as we poured drinks and shared stories was extremely satisfying. Being able to do what we love in a place as beautiful as Grand Wailea is truly a dream come true. We can’t wait to come back and do it all again!”