Best Bars '08: The Pau Hana Edition

Everyone, everywhere, has a “happy hour,” but nowhere else in the world will you find “pau hana.” These two little words get to the heart of what one might be happy about at 5 or 6 p.m. on a weekday. Work is done. Pau. Finished.


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Walking into O'Tooles, a homey, brick-walled pub (located in the historic T.R. Foster building) is like stepping out of a time machine where the crowd is friendly, quality beer is still cheap and you can smoke without being hassled.

Photo by: Linny Morris


O’Tooles Irish Pub

WHO WE FOUND:  Twentysomething guys seated at the bar and businessmen smoking cigars.

This Irish Pub has 13 beers on tap, from Guinness to Pabst Blue Ribbon, and is one of the only bars left on the Island that still sells cigarettes to its patrons—but you didn’t hear it from us. Happy hour is more like happy 10 hours with $2.75 well drinks and beer specials running from 10 a.m. (!) to 8 p.m., and additional beer specials like Killian’s each night. If you’re planning on staying later, stomp and clap to live music starting at 9 p.m., including Irish favorite, the Doolin’ Rakes. 902 Nuuanu Ave., 536-4138. Pau hana Monday through Sunday from 10 a.m.-8 p.m., no food.





WHO WE FOUND:  Tourists eating dinner, businessmen drinking cocktails and twentysomethings in club attire ready to party.

Photo: Courtesy of Pearl

Try the Kobe Burgers and Fritto Misto (calamari), said the bartender, they are favorites.  It’s obvious why. At $5 per appetizer, this is a steal. The Mini Kobe Burgers were perfectly cooked, lightly pink in the center, and extremely tasty. Wash them down with $3 domestics or a $5 martini, such as the Once in a Blue Moon mixed with Grey Goose, Watermelon pucker, Blue Curaçao and pineapple juice. And listen to the soloist on stage play Hawaiian songs, such as “Kuu Home o Kahaluu” in a Jack Johnson-style, relaxing voice.  Ala Moana Center, Hookipa Terrace, 3rd Level. 944-8000 Pau hana Monday through Saturday 4-7 p.m.


Alternative Pau Hana

Pau hana doesn’t always take place in a bar, nor is it always served on the rocks. Here are some non-bar ways to unwind after work.


From writing your first screenplay to improving your golf swing, learning something new can be a fun way to blow off steam. The UH system offers evening noncredit courses year round. Visit


Karaoke is the pastime of Hawaii. So grab a mic and sing like you’re trying out for American Idol. We recommend either location of Krazy Karaoke. 98-199 Kamehameha Highway, Suite H13, 484-0269, or 1308 Young St., 591-8843.

Sunset surf

What better way to unwind than catching some waves before its dark? North Shore’s Haleiwa Alii Beach Park, Lani-akea or Chun’s Reef has some stellar swells this time of year.

In your office

Some offices party more than others. For those that do, nothing beats the illicit thrill of pouring drinks amid the cubicles, but follow these guidelines:  1) Keep your clothes on and the noise down; 2) Steer clear of the company copier; 3) Invite the boss.


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