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Yes, You Can Have A Drink At The Bar In Magnum P.I. — Sort Of, Anyway
We're dreaming of kicking back at Rick Wright's bar La Mariana.
A neighborhood bar where you can grab a drink is a good place to get together with clients who need a private investigator — and also when you're with work buddies who want to discuss a case or just kick back.
In Magnum, P.I., an NBC action series starring Jay Hernandez as the title sleuth, those kinds of meetings happen at a hip Honolulu tiki bar. Called La Mariana, the funky club is run by ex-Marine Orville “Rick” Wright (Zachary Knighton), one of Thomas Magnum’s best friends. The place looks so authentic you may wonder if you can actually perch on a stool at the bar and order a Mai Tai if you head to Honolulu. So, is the bar in Magnum P.I. real?
In a way, yes, the place is the real deal. The set of Magnum P.I., a rebooted series based on the 1980s classic show, was inspired by and named after a bar that dates back to the late 1950s on Oahu, according to a TV Insider report. That’s the Hawaiian island where Magnum, P.I. shoots.
“We used every inch of that Island,” Eric Guggenheim, showrunner for Magnum P.I., told NBC Insider. And the show’s creative team found inspiration from a long-running establishment there as well.
La Mariana was founded in 1957 by Annnette and Johnny Campbell, according to hawaii-guide.com. Decades later, it is a “living museum” of old Hawaii. Decorations and furnishings convey a local look.
Rick’s club in the series reboot summons the atmosphere of the real La Mariana. Carved koa wood features have been cleverly reimagined and recreated for Magnum, P.I. Vintage surfboards, hanging glass balls and nets, strands of colorful lights, rattan chairs, light wooden tables, and a custom-built aquarium help create the funky feel.
Knighton, according to the TV Insider report, has even done his part to customize the set of the series, which is now in Season 5 on NBC.
“Every time I go in there,” he said, “I take a knife and carve something into the bar.”
As for the actual La Mariana, well, it is the “last original tiki bar on Oahu,” according to hawaii-guide.com. “It is a lush hideaway with a unique setting and a radiant ambience.”
The site adds that it’s a fabulous location “to sit and watch the many sailboats docked right beside the restaurant.”
Guests at La Mariana in January 2023 praised the place and its “Magnum P.I. vibes” on Trip Advisor: “We met a couple from Vancouver who are huge Magnum fans like us.”
Local bars are go-to locations for networking and regularly appear in TV series (think Cheers). The 1980s Magnum, P.I. had its own version: It featured the exclusive (albeit fictional) beachside King Kamehameha Club, which used various locations around the island as its stand-in, including the Elks Club.
La Mariana is a perfect setting for Rick, who’s one of the best-connected people in Hawaii. “If you want something on the island,” Magnum says in the show’s opening montage, “Rick’s the man to see.”
Season 5 of Magnum P.I. on NBC finds Rick busy juggling the demands of running La Mariana and being a new father. It's a time of change for many people in the show: Magnum has finally began a romance with his investigative partner, Juliet Higgins (Perdita Weeks). Viewers will have to tune in to see what happens for the group next.
Watch Magnum P.I. at 9/8c on NBC Sunday nights or stream episodes the next day on Peacock.