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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.)


HONOLULU Magazine invites you to comment on our articles and the issues they raise. Comments are moderated for offensive language, commercial messages and off-topic posts. Some comments may be chosen for inclusion in the magazine on the Feedback page, if name and city are included. Comments are moderated as time allows.

Old to new | New to old
Jan 28, 2009 03:18 am
 Posted by  Anonymous

Smith's and Amy's are definitely good picks. Throw in Kekai's, and you've got the the makings of a little fun downtown dive bar hop!

Overall favorite though would be Porky's in Kailua. It's unexpectedly comfortable, affordable and convenient.

Aug 26, 2009 05:33 pm
 Posted by  JLiRD808

My two favorite spots in Kaimuki are the infamous 'Top of the Hill' and "9th Avenue Rock House'. The 'Rock House' wouldn't fall under my normal preconceptions of the term 'dive bar' but according to this quiz it definitely does. In fact, one of the local patrons that frequents the place the most calls it his 'living room' and always sits in the same seat. However, the decor is cool (huge neon lit 100 gal fish tank) and the place is clean and I swear the talent pool of karaoke singers could sweep the Hoku awards sometimes!

"Top of the Hill' can get pretty rowdy and attract some negative attention but a fun nite usually consists of local people that have known each other for years playing pool, having drinks, singing karaoke, eating pupus, throwing darts, or just bumping the jukebox. Drinks are always cold and cheap and mama and family are almost always smiling!

Sep 14, 2009 05:39 pm
 Posted by  Anonymous

When I feel like just hanging I go to On Stage on Kapahulu. Definitely not pretentious and I like when Guy Cruz plays.

Apr 21, 2010 10:45 pm
 Posted by  Anonymous

Porky's Kailua,
It's a total dive bar, but it has the coolest bartenders ever!

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