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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Pinky's Pupu Bar and Grill
WHO WE FOUND: Neighborhood families, Marines from just up the road and couples in their golden years.
This pupu bar has an eclectic funky vibe and is always bustling with people. While it doesn’t discount its pupu, the drink specials make up for this. We tried the half-price pink Shakarita (a margarita with a splash of cranberry) on the rocks that you pour yourself for $2.50 and an 18-oz. Kona Longboard that comes in a glass goblet so big and heavy you need two hands to drink it ($3). We suggest munching on the kalua pig nachos—an Island version of the classic snack—piled high with cheese, tasty pork, jalapeños, tomatoes and green onions on colorful chips for $10.95. 970 N. Kalaheo Ave., Kailua, 254-6255. Pau hana Monday through Friday from 3-6:30 p.m.
The Brew Moon
WHO WE FOUND: Small, scattered groups of twentysomething friends, and dentists by the dozen.
Business doesn’t always end when pau hana arrives. This brew pub’s biggest group the night we visited were dentists and their spouses, guests of some dental implant sales reps. Would this be your usual pau hana spot? we asked one dentist. “No,” he laughed. “I have kids so I don’t get out much.” From the food specials, we were stuffed by an order of “beer crackers” (imagine an entire thin-crust pizza of gorgonzola, roasted garlic and green onion, cut into eight pieces, all for you, for $5), which we washed down with, what else, Brew Moon’s own Black Hole Lager, 16 oz. for $3, made on the premises. Ward Centre, 1200 Ala Moana Blvd., second level. 593-0088. Pau hana Monday through Sunday 3-7 p.m. [Now Closed]
Vodka mixed with fresh squeezed grapes is a match made in heaven that you won't find anywhere else. Get it for $6 every Thursday.
The Shack (Mililani)
WHO WE FOUND: Everyone. Or at least everyone who lives within a reasonable distance of Mililani.
As the bartender pointed out, there isn’t another bar for a while. The view isn’t great (it’s located in a shopping center—you get to see cars), but the people don’t seem to be there for the view. It’s a neighborhood gathering place. Groups of people—couples and friends and co-workers, young, middling and old, dressed snazzy and dressed casual—watched the football game and gathered in conversation around the small tables, inside and outside. Many patrons are regulars; two who were joking at the bar admitted to meeting at that very spot.
Beer, drafts, wells and wines are $2 during happy hour; the chicken guacamole sandwich was good ($7.95 and an extra $2.99 if you want fries or a dinner salad—there are no pau hana deals for food) and there are video games and pool. 95-221 Kipapa St., 627-1561. Pau hana Monday-Sunday, 4-6p.m. Other Shack locations: Kailua (Pau hana Monday-Sunday, 3-6p.m.), Hawaii Kai (Pau hana Monday and Tuesday, 3-7p.m., Wednesday-Sunday, 4-6p.m.) and Waikiki (Pau hana Monday-Saturday, 4-6 p.m., Sunday, 3-7 p.m.)
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