The Best Bars in Honolulu 2009: Liquid Assets
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The Lewers Lounge specializes in well-mixed, beautiful cocktails.
Photo: Mark Arbeit
When anxiety runs high— and there’s been plenty in this year of recession and swine flu—you don’t need a drink. You need a well-mixed drink. You need a guy with a moustache and kind eyes pouring you a perfect martini, and you need someone to bring you a plate with hot, salty things on it. You need a place where you can walk in and see people you know, and on the way out, maybe throw your arms around someone solid, and hold them close for a minute. When anxiety runs high, we remember that the best bars are assets to the community.
Aiea Bowl Bar Lounge
Sure, you can go there to bowl, but in-the-know locals flock to Aiea Bowl for the Alley Restaurant’s ono grindz (we dream about the tasty chicken platter) and the nightly drink specials in the Bar Lounge from 10 p.m. to closing. Take advantage of rotating drink specials on Super-Duper Saturdays, where, from 9 p.m. to 2 a.m., you can try your hand at Cosmic Bowling (we like to think a little liquid courage improves our aim) and shake your money maker to the musical stylings of a live DJ. The Bar Lounge is open daily, 11 a.m. to 2 a.m. 99-115 Aiea Heights Drive., 488-6854. www.aieabowl.com.
You can’t be a club kid forever. Eventually, you want to sit down someplace nice and have a conversation. That’s why nightlife promoters Flash and Matty Boy partnered with Charles “Chip” Jewitt, the owner of the former Aria restaurant, to create Apartm3nt (pronounced apartment three), a hip, slightly edgy lounge in the Century Center space that was home to Aria, The Bistro and, further back, Alfred’s. Unexpected asset: the menu, filled with gourmet versions of American classics, such as grilled-cheese sandwiches and hot dogs. Happy hour prices until 2 a.m. on Tuesdays. Daily 5 p.m. to 2 a.m., 1750 Kalakaua Ave., third floor, 955-9300.
Brandy’s Bar & Grill
Located across the street from Aloha Stadium, Brandy’s Bar & Grill is a neighborhood watering hole that attracts a motley mix of folks, from UH football fans watching the game on TV to Navy guys knocking back pints while shooting pool. It’s definitely a beer-swilling kind of place, with Bud Light, Budweiser and Michelob AmberBock on draft and Newcastle, Heineken, Corona and others available in bottles. Brandy’s serves up standard pub grub, including a recommended-by-the-regulars kālua pork quesadilla, slow-burning Buffalo wings and mini corndogs. Check the board for monthly drink specials. Monday through Thursday, 2 p.m. to 2 a.m.; Friday and Saturday., noon to 2 a.m.; and Sunday, 6:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. 4510 Salt Lake Blvd., 486-4066.
Breakers Restaurant & Bar
Despite the throngs of tourists and obligatory surf décor, the bar at Breakers Restaurant has several things going for it. First, there’s the bottled-beer selection (think everything from Heineken to Harp). Second, Breakers is one of the few spots where North Shore sports fans can get their fix, thanks to the smattering of TVs tuned to the day’s games. Lastly, Breakers is the only bar in Haleiwa that stays open until 2 a.m. Open daily, from 8 a.m. to 2 a.m. 66-250 Kamehameha Highway., 637-9898.
Top Five Cocktails
We taste-tested drinks and quizzed bartenders all over town. In no particular order, here are Oahu’s don’t-miss cocktails:
- The Late Nite at Thirtyninehotel
- Pomegranate Sake at Shokudo Restaurant & Bar
- The Whiskey Smash at Lewers Lounge
- The Pisco Sour at Nobu
- The Shark Bite Bloody Mary at Oceans 808
Go on a Honolulu Bar Tour with us as we taste-test these drinks.. Watch the Video!!