Dive Bar Quiz

Photo: Naomi Olson


Are you in a dive bar?  Take our Quiz.

To us, the word “dive bar,” is not negative. A good dive is one notch better than your living room, but nothing too fancy. After much scientific study, we came up with three fail-proof ways to tell, and three classic Honolulu bars that you can enjoy:




Does the bar put on any airs?

Look for a bar that’s totally unassuming. At 8 Fat Fat 8 (1327 S. Beretania St.), for example, they could brag about their menu, which includes homemade pot stickers, sautéed vegetables and escargot. Or, about their surprisingly broad beer menu, which includes far more than the usual suspects, and instead adds intriguing choices such as Samuel Smith’s Nut Brown Ale and Mirror Pond Pale Ale. But they don’t.

Can you stay a long, long time?

When we visited, there was a patron napping across two chairs in Smith’s Union Bar (19 N. Hotel St.), the oldest bar in Honolulu. The light filtered in from the glass-block façade of the bar, the tables featured bright, homey tablecloths, and a large fan whooshed warm around around us. One editor noted, “I feel like I could lie down myself.”

The beer is cold and cheap:

The $2.50 Bud Lights we had at Amy’s Place (49 N. Hotel St.) were literally ice-encrusted. We played pool and grooved to Simon and Garfunkel on the jukebox. “Home…where my music’s playing.” Indeed.


Tell us. What's your favorite dive bar?

(Comment below.)


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