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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WHO WE FOUND: Construction workers and travel industry employees.
Ichiriki Loft is Honolulu’s best kept happy hour secret—though, not for long. This new spot offers unique cocktails such as Purple Rain, a mixture of vodka and hand-squeezed grape juice, and the Japanese version of a mojito, the Shiso Mojito at $8 each. One taste of these cocktails and you’ll be reserving the free VIP section for your next visit. A small plate of complimentary pupu, including carrots, crackers, broccoli and sausage is given with your drinks. Still hungry? Consult the menu for an assortment of dishes offered all night. Visit Monday through Thursday for drink and food specials from $4 martinis to 25 percent off your bill, Friday for $3.50 beers, Saturday for $5 shots and Sunday for 25 percent off industry nights. 510 Piikoi St., Suite 202, 591-5638. Pau hana Monday through Sunday 5 - 8 p.m.
WHO WE FOUND: Interior designers and teachers.
You’ll find many 20- to 30- something professionals frequenting the Green Room Lounge at Indigo during happy hour and for good reason. It offers more than 30 martinis at $4 each, making it a perfect spot to get together and chat with friends and co-workers. The crowd favorite is the Lychee Martini, but also try the Pomegranate or the aptly named Woowoo. Arrive at 4:30 p.m. and you can sample Indigo’s complimentary garden buffet including greens, fruit chutney, sautéed mushrooms, noodles and chicken, or order directly from its delectable appetizer menu. 1121 Nuuanu Ave., 521-2900. Pau hana Tuesday through Friday 4 - 8 p.m.
WHO WE FOUND: The Blackberry set, with thumbs blazing, or taking calls featuring such un-pau hana words as “client” and “meeting.”
On our first visit, the bar at Kincaid’s was packed, not a free stool in sight. Next time we came back earlier, and good thing, too—the restaurant had debuted a new menu in the meantime. The $4 drink specials included the cranberry mojito (imagine a liquid Sweet Tart) and a menu of about 20 half-off pupu. The salmon-wrapped, grilled scallop “lollipops” were delicious ($7.50 pau hana price for three scallops). This venerable eatery has its attractions—a waterfront view, a buzzy atmosphere. “Why’d you guys come here?” we heard one lady ask, as she joined two friends at the bar. “For this!” enthused her buddy, pointing to her bowl of French onion soup. Ward Warehouse, 1050 Ala Moana Blvd., 591-2005. Pau hana Monday through Sunday 4-7 p.m. and 10 p.m. to closing.
Mai Tai Bar
WHO WE FOUND: Mall employees, friends of Mai Tai’s staff and local music lovers.
At night, Mai Tai is wall-to-wall people, a favorite local hangout. Find out what makes it so popular—in a more humane setting—at pau hana. Then, you can actually get a seat at the bar and order $5 appetizers, including large onion rings, Firecracker Shrimp and Chicken Chinois. Get a pitcher of beer for $9, sit back and relax with friends in the open-air bar and watch the game playing on the many TVs or listen to the soloist on guitar play some local favorites, such as “Brown Eyed Girl.” No wonder this place makes for a perfect pau hana. Ala Moana Center, 1450 Ala Moana Blvd., third Level. 947-2900. Pau hana Monday through Sunday 4-7 p.m.