Hawaii's home away from home in the middle of the desert - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

Hawaii's home away from home in the middle of the desert

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Rockme Henriques Rockme Henriques
Shawn Santana Shawn Santana
Michelle Brown Michelle Brown

By Stephanie Lum - bio | email

LAS VEGAS (KHNL) - We all know the action's on the strip in Las Vegas! However, if you're looking for locals from Hawaii you'll find them not just at the California Hotel, but at a spot just off the strip at a place called Aloha Bar!

The chance to mingle and meet with fellow islanders is a jackpot for this restaurant and bar that's owned and operated by a former Hawaii resident for the past 11 years. A karaoke event breaks the ice between Las Vegans and islanders and music and drinks brings everyone together.

One patron said, "The music is good, the karaoke is free and the beer tastes great!"

"It's a unique place in Las Vegas and it's probably the only place that has a Hawaiian feel atmosphere," explained Shawn Santana, a former Maui resident and the creator of the bar's weekly karaoke event. "You get local food, local people and local music. What more can you ask for?"

The bar's popularity has grown as word spread of the local hangout. On this night, we found not just former Hawaii residents but a group of people who came all the way from Maui just to get a taste of the aloha spirit in Vegas.

"We actually ran into some family members here," said Ewa Beach resident Michelle Brown. "So, we came along with some of our family members who live in Vegas."

For former Kona resident Rockme Henriques, who has lived in Vegas for a number of years said the bar has served as a home away from home. On the stage, he belts out a song by Elton John to cure his homesick blues.

"You see a lot of local people here, you just feel so much at home and this competition is amazing. It just brings everyone together," said Henriques.

Even in the middle of the desert, you'll find the aloha spirit is alive and well.