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Best Bars 2010: Bars For Any Occasion

Sometimes life calls for a drink. Whether it’s to celebrate a promotion, drown your sorrows after a job loss, go out with the girls, watch the Hawaii Bowl or whatever, we found the 24 best bars for 24 different occasions. Cheers!


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Going through a divorce? Need to vent about your job? Murphy's Bar & Grill bartender Jonathan Schwalbenitz is a great listener.

Photo: Mark Arbeit

You Need Some Therapy

Do patrons pour their hearts out? “More than you might think,” says Murphy’s Bar & Grill bartender Jonathan Schwalbenitz. “It runs the gamut. Boyfriend or girlfriend problems, work issues, even life and death matters, like long-term care. People just want to ease their burdens.” Being a part-time psychologist isn’t just part of the job for professionals such as Schwalbenitz. In his 19 years at Murphy’s, it’s been one of his most rewarding experiences as he’s gotten to know his customers better. Need to bend a bartender’s ear? A neighborhood pub such as Murphy’s is the ideal place, and Schwalbenitz recommends stopping by before or after the lunch or dinner rush. And don’t worry; your secrets wouldn’t be the first the bartender’s heard. “We’re not priests or doctors, but our trade relies on confidentiality.” Monday through Friday, 11:30 a.m. to 2 a.m., Saturday and Sunday 4 p.m. to 2 a.m., 2 Merchant St., 531-0422, murphyshawaii.com.

Photo: Courtesy Brasserie Du Vin

The Kids Moved Out

Junior just moved in with  his college buddies and your daughter is gainfully employed and on her own. It’s time to kick back and celebrate your freedom! Head over to Brasserie Du Vin, a little slice of Paris on Bethel Street. You deserve a bottle of bubbly, and Du Vin carries 17 varieties from Italy, Spain and Champagne, France. Pair with escargot in garlic herb butter and baked Brie with pecans and dried cranberries ($6 and $8 during the 4 to 6 p.m. happy hour) and reward yourself for your 18 (or 20 or 25) years of unconditional love and sacrifice. Monday through Saturday, 11:30 a.m. to 11 p.m., 1115 Bethel St., 545-1115, brasserieduvin.com.

First Date

You finally asked out that special someone and they said yes. Whew. The hard part is over. For an intimate and memorable night, take your date to Genius Lounge Sake Bar & Grill. Lovebirds can enjoy a bottle of one of the lounge’s 50 varieties of sake, and nibble on crispy pork katsu ($12) and fiery kimchee fried rice ($11), while getting to know each other seated on the lānai, with its twinkling lights and mosaic tabletops.  An added bonus—get there between 6 and 8 p.m. and enjoy half-price drinks, including $2.50 sangrias. Your wallet and your date will be happy. Daily 6 p.m. to 2 a.m., 346 Lewers St., 626-5362. geniusloungehawaii.com.

Sonny Ganaden and Momoko Metzker sip sangrias and enjoy the candlelit dining at Genius Lounge Sake Bar & Grill.

Photo: Rae Huo



Girls’ Night Out

When girls decide to get together for a night out, it usually means they are going to dress to the nines and dance all night. Ginza, which opened earlier this year, provides a perfect venue. Dance on one of its two large dance floors to the Top 40 music pumping through its speakers, while the nightclub’s design transports you to Japan’s high-end fashion district with lit-up cityscapes on the walls around the room. Best of all, ladies’ cover charges are normally free every night, while the men pay at least $15.  Friday, 10:30 p.m. to 4 a.m., Saturday, 11 p.m. to 4 a.m., 1240 Kona St.





Looking for Love

Photo: Kevin Blitz

“What’s the best bar for  singles?” we asked our online readers; 100 responses later, the answer was clear, Bar 35 is the best bar if you’re not romantically involved, but steal over to this Chinatown hotspot, and that just might change. Bar 35 boasts more than 150 types of beers and has daily happy-hour specials—with tasty cocktails, such as the Geisha for $3—as well as handmade flatbread pizza ($12) and Eurofries ($6) with your choice of eight dipping sauces. Weekly DJ lineups will get the rhythmically inclined moving, giving you a chance to talk to the intriguing character you’ve been eyeing across the room. Monday through Friday, 4 p.m. to 2 a.m., Saturday, 6 p.m. to 2 a.m., 35 N. Hotel St., 537-3535, bar35hawaii.com.  

Related Articles:

Hangover Tips
Cocktail Competitions: Why Should Chefs Have All The Fun?
Honolulu Bar Survey Results

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