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: Neighborhood families, local business people and sports fans.
A neighborhood hangout in Hawaii Kai, Therapy Sportsgrill has something for everyone from watching sports on its 10 plasma TVs, to pool tables and darts to drinking $2 drafts or half-off well cocktails while looking out at Koko Marina. There are no food specials, but we found the edamame tossed with poke sauce ($6) and fried garlic chicken topped with furukake ($10) to go great with our beers. 7192 Kalanianaole Highway, 394-8200. Pau hana Monday through Friday 4-8 p.m.
WHO WE FOUND: Four people (a couple young gal pals and a pair of friends). And another two showed up a bit later.
In all fairness, we were there on a Tuesday evening—not exactly hopping pau hana hours. Thirtyninehotel has an indoor lounge and an outdoor rooftop, but it’s not huge, so it’s difficult to imagine the place holding more than 100 people—but it has. Anyone who’s been there on a Friday (when it has live music) knows it can become standing-room-only.
The cocktail menu features some enticing drinks (ingredients include ginger, lemongrass and lavender) created by bar manager Christian Self. The Rose ($4; general pau hana prices are $3 to $11) is a virgin drink made with lavender sour, a splash of pomegranate and European rose essence. It’s tart and yummy (and possibly addicting) and one of the drinks he dubs a “mocktail.” Of course, thirtyninehotel is also a gallery space, giving you something to talk about besides work. 39 N. Hotel St., Honolulu. 599-2552. Pau hana Tuesday-Friday, 5-9p.m.
Wailana Cocktail Lounge
WHO WE FOUND: Avid Warriors fans and construction workers from across the street.
There are corners of Waikiki that locals own—one of them is the tucked away cocktail lounge of Wailana Coffee House. When we went it was packed with a green-and-white-jersey-wearing, bet placing, yelling-at-the-TV boisterous crowd. Although the Warriors lost the game, everyone remained in good spirit, but how can you not with $2 domestic beers or $3.25 Mai Tais? From 3-5 p.m. all pupu are half off, including such favorites as fries, onion rings, edamame and crispy pork wontons. We ordered two beers, the wontons and fries for less than $7. 1860 Ala Moana Blvd. 955-1764. Pau hana Monday through Sunday from 12-6 p.m. and half off pupu from 3-5 p.m.