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We Tried It: You Can Buy Wine and Beer by the Ounce at These 4 Bars on O‘ahu

We checked out four self-serve options for beer and wine.


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Amuse Wine Bar

Gif: Katie Kenny

 

Sometimes you just want to be able to taste the wine before you commit to the whole bottle. Other times you know you want to try more than one beer. The owners of four self-serve establishments have got you covered.

 

Here’s what we found.


 

Amuse Wine Bar

Amuse wine bar interior

Photo: Katie Kenny

 

Focus

Nestled deep within the bright second floor of the stylish and modern furniture store Honolulu Design Center is a dimly lit wine bar. Wine lovers can stroll in, take a seat at one of the large high-top communal tables, purchase a sampling card and then try as many of the 80 wines as they want (or can). Why not sample the goods before investing in one or two (or three) bottles that hail from vineyards in France, Italy, Spain, Australia, New Zealand and the Americas?

 

Price range

Wines begin at 2-ounce pours, ranging from $3 to $9.50. You can also choose 3-ounce pours for bubbly, which start at $4.50. A selection of international bottled beers begin at $6 and cocktails are $12.

 

Amuse Wine Bar Self Serve

GIF: KATIE KENNY

 

Deals/happy hour

A regular $50 wine tasting card becomes $30 every week between 5 and 6 p.m. Tuesday to Saturday. Do not miss this hour.

 

What’s on the menu

First of all, let’s just talk about the “jbh” grilled cheese: havarti, house-made kim chee and truffle essence served on French bread. Typically you might not think of having a grilled cheese sammie while drinking wine but this posh little plate definitely suits the ambience. Other noteworthy small plates include the crispy pork belly bao, braised short rib sliders and braised pork adobo arancini.

 

Tips

Other than these 10 awesome tips that we shared when Amuse Wine Bar won yet another Hale ‘Aina Award, we cannot stress the happy hour enough. Also try any wines from the Loire Valley region—it’s hard to beat a white wine from the historic French countryside known for its castles and wine caves.

 

Amuse Wine Bar in the ;Honolulu Design Center, 1250 Kapi‘olani Blvd., (808) 237-5428. Open Tuesday to Saturday, 4:30 to 10 p.m.stagerestauranthawaii.com

 


SEE ALSO: 35th Hale ‘Aina Winner: How to Help Yourself at a Self-Serve Wine Bar


 

D’Vine Kailua Wine Bar

wine bar in Kailua

PHOTO: ROBBIE DINGEMAN

 

Focus

Thirty-two bottles of wine are dispensed from four chilled specialty wine coolers that hold eight bottles each. They’re grouped from lightest on the left to the heartiest (and priciest) reds on the right. You buy a wine card starting at $20, share it among your party and reload it. You stick the card in the machine, press the amount of wine you want—taste, half glass, full glass—and your card is charged.

 

Price range

We tried a bright Etna bianco for $4 for a taste pour (roughly 2 ounces) while a Hartford Court pinot noir ranged from $15 for a taste to $26 for a half glass and $36 for full glass. A Peju cabernet at $8 a half glass turned out to be velvety jam of a wine.

 

self serve wine bar in Kailua

PHOTO: ROBBIE DINGEMAN

 

Deals/happy hour

D’Vine is new and trying out different specials. So far, we’ve seen $10 flights of rosé on Saturdays, 25% off bottles of wine on Wednesday and $5 mimosas on Sundays. There’s a $40-a-month wine club membership that includes invitations to events with visiting experts talking wine, 10% off beverages and a bottle of the featured wine of the month.

 

What’s on the menu

Without a kitchen to prepare from-scratch food, D’Vine offers a light snack menu: cheeses, meats, olives, chocolate and some desserts. We’ve seen folks bring in a pizza or food from the farmers market, too.

 

Tips

Take time to read through some of the descriptions of the wines. Love dry white wines? You might want to avoid the sweeter, fruitier choices. But also take advantage of the 2-ounce servings to adventure outside of your comfort zone without investing in a whole bottle. The staff says they’re sticking with most of the wine varieties since opening in June even though the bottles empty often. While that may shift in the future, the manager says folks who are still finding their favorites among wines that aren’t that common want to be able to get a wine they like more than once before it disappears.

 

573 Kailua Road, Suite 106, Kailua, open 1 to 9 p.m. Monday through Wednesday; noon to 10 p.m. Thursday, Friday and Saturday; and 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Sunday; (808) 762-3996; dvinekailua.com

 


SEE ALSO: Drink Good Beers for Good Causes at Grace in Growlers


 

Grace in Growlers

Grace in Growlers

PHOTO: ROBBIE DINGEMAN

 

Focus

What it serves: 15 taps of mostly craft beers, many local. Plus, there’s usually a cider, a kombucha and sometimes a cold brew coffee in the mix. Profits go toward helping homeless people in Kāne‘ohe use a laundromat for free and other community assistance, which explains the “grace” in the name.

 

Price range

The by-the-ounce price varies by beverage each week. You can taste as little as an ounce if you want: Glass sizes go from 5 to 16 ounces. Typically, the lower-priced offerings come in around 45 cents an ounce for lighter beer. The last time we went, the highest price was $1.47 an ounce of the Imperial Coconut Porter by Maui Brewing Co. So that puts the range between $5 and $16 for a 12-ounce pour.

 

self serve

PHOTO: ROBBIE DINGEMAN

 

Deals/happy hour

Because the business has a mission to help others and you can pour as many beers as you want in the tap room up to a 36-ounce per-person maximum, there are no happy-hour discounts. You present your ID and your credit card and get a wristband that you use to buy your drinks.

 

What’s on the menu

Bring your own food from home or a nearby takeout restaurant. Kono’s, Mahaloha Burgers, Foodland and Whole Foods Market are a short walk away, or you can order for delivery from a stack of provided menus.

 

Tips

Busiest nights are Fridays, Saturdays and Thursdays after the farmers market nearby ends. Board games are provided, which makes it family-friendly. The high ceiling and air-conditioning in the taproom make for a quiet escape on a hot day, while the “grandma’s house” part offers upholstered chairs and a roses-and-tea-cup vibe. Kegs are usually changed about every two weeks but some smaller, more coveted kegs have sold out in four hours. Expect a variety of styles. Aloha Beer Co., BeerLab HI, Maui Brewing Co. and Big Island Brewhaus are usually represented along with their Mainland cousins.

 

143 Hekili St., Suite 110, Kailua, (808) 975-9317. Open Monday through Thursday noon to 9 p.m., Friday and Saturday noon to 10 p.m., Sunday noon to 8 p.m., facebook.com/graceingrowlers

 


SEE ALSO: Best of the Brews: The Ultimate Kaka‘ako Brewery and Beer Bar Crawl


 

Off the Wall

Terri Inefuku at Off the Wall

PHOTO: Terri Inefuku

 

Focus

While this Kaka‘ako neighborhood favorite does offer a handful of red, rosé and white wines, Off the Wall primarily focuses on craft beer, cider and kombucha—all of which are brewed in Hawai‘i. Every month, the taps rotate among regular and seasonal selections from small local businesses including Beer Lab HI, Kohola Brewery, Big Island Brewhaus, Inu Island Ales and Aloha Beer Co.

 

Price range

Per ounce, beer pours range between 40 to 80 cents while wine is $1.20 to $2.05.

 

Off the Wall self serve

GIF: KATIE KENNY

 

Deals/happy hour

Rather than a weekly or daily happy hour, the self serve bar offers a chance to win a free meal. After you order your food, the staff will offer you a deck of cards and if you select the hidden Joker card, your dining bill is free of charge. We’ve hit the jackpot once so it’s definitely possible.

 

What’s on the menu

Here at HONOLULU HQ, we’re huge fans of Off the Wall’s deep fried and battered chimichurri chicken wings. But other standout items on the South American-inspired menu are the empanadas, Cubano sandwich ‘ahi tacos and Kualoa beef sliders served on gorgeous little taro buns. Oh, and save room for the Oreo crumb churros.

 

Tips

This partly alfresco bar is often filled to the brim after work and especially on Friday nights when various local musicians jam out on stage. We highly recommend visiting during a live gig but you’ll be better off arriving early if you are going with more than one other person. Our second favorite time to visit is for a touch of day drinking with our dogs on sunny weekends after a day out and about (such as after shopping at the weekly Saturday morning Kaka‘ako farmers market).

 

South Shore Market at Ward Village, 1170 Auahi St. (808) 593-2337. Open Monday to Thursday, 11 a.m. to 11 p.m.; Friday to Saturday, 11 a.m. to midnight; Sunday 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. offthewallhawaii.com

 

Read more stories by Robbie Dingeman

Read more stories by Katie Kenny

 

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