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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With a new menu boasting more than 25 pupu, there's something for everyone at Uncle Bo's.

Photo: Rae Huo

Celebrating Yakudoshi

Depending on your attitude, any birthday can make you anxious. However, some birthdays are worse than others. For local Japanese, the yakudoshi signifies a critical year—41 for men, 32 for women—as it is believed to bring about bad luck; finding a bar to ward off all disastrous superstitions is equally critical. With a private room that comfortably accommodates up to 65, Uncle Bo’s makes throwing this get-together easy. The bar features more than 25 pūpū, such as the Boca-Rota ($14) and Ahi Tornado Roll ($14). Relive memories with an audio/visual projector and screen to remember the good times while creating new ones. Daily 5 p.m. to 2 a.m. 559 Kapahulu Ave., 735-8311, unclebosrestaurant.com.

Accompanying Your Out-of-Town Guests


Photo: Rae Huo

The Beach Bar at the 109-year-old Moana Surfrider is a perfect place to step back in time with visiting family and friends and enjoy a sunset toast or an after-dinner soirée—without the crowds. This is a casual bar where you can relax, listen to live contemporary Island music and enjoy the evening under the Moana’s large banyan trees. Sip on a classic Moana mai tai ($10.75), snack on cocktail shrimp ($16) or lava wings ($15) and watch the ocean from your front-row spot on Waikiki Beach. Daily 10:30 a.m. to 11:30 p.m., 2365 Kalakaua Ave., 922-3111.

Fleeing Your Out-of-Town Guests

Out-of-town guests overstaying their welcome? Sometimes you have to create your own breathing room. Take the visitors to Ala Moana Center for some vacation shopping, and, when they’re not looking, sneak up the elevator to the dark and secluded bar at Morton’s the Steakhouse. They’ll never find you. With Morton’s generous happy hours (which last from opening till 6:30 p.m., and 9 p.m. till closing, Sunday through Friday), you can afford to make the most of your alone time. Martinis for $7, glasses of wine for $6 and discounts on tasty pūpū, such as petite filet mignon sandwiches. Sunday through Thursday, 4:45 to 10 p.m., Friday and Saturday, 4:45 to 11 p.m., 1450 Ala Moana Blvd., 949-1300, mortons.com.

You’ve Been Promoted

What better way to celebrate a promotion than to treat your friends and family to a night out at Side Street Inn on Da Strip. It also has award-winning food, which has recently been featured on The Food Network, as well in the pages of HONOLULU in October’s dining column. Share family-size helpings of its signature fried rice ($12), ahi sashimi ($21) or pan-fried pork chops ($22). With a friendly, attentive staff and a crew of regular customers, this isn’t a bar where you just eat, drink and run. Plan to settle in for a long night of toasting your bump up the ladder. Daily 3 p.m. to 12 a.m., 614 Kapahulu Ave., 739-3939, sidestreetinn.com.


Photo: Kevin Blitz

It’s a Beautiful Night

The moon is full and the clouds have scattered. What better place to take in the night sky and enjoy the Waikiki cityscape than at Waiolu in Trump Tower. And with a sophisticated cocktail to boot. We recommend the Golden Green Goby ($14), made with Ty Ku liqueur, Skyy citrus, homemade lemongrass ginger tea and fresh honeydew and cucumber. It’s what food and beverage manager Christina Maffei terms “liquid artistry.” With a drink in hand, plant yourself on one of the plush linen couches on Waiolu’s lanai and prepare to have your stress melt away. Daily 6:30 a.m. to 10:30 p.m., 223 Saratoga Road, 683-7777, trumpwaikikihotel.com

You’ve Gained Five Pounds

People don’t visit SoHo Mixed Media Bar to stand around at the bar. With two rooms of music and two large dance floors, it’s hard to stand still—especially during its Acid Wash ’80s night. Music isn’t all that SoHo has to offer. While it’s primarily a concert and event venue, SoHo occasionally hosts neon dance parties, foam parties, blow-up-bull riding fun, block parties outside its doors and watersliding—we’ve even seen a few adult-size bouncy houses. After dancing, swimming, riding and jumping, those extra five pounds around the waist will easily disappear. Monday through Friday, 2 p.m. to 2 a.m., Saturday 9 p.m. to 2 a.m., 80 S. Pauahi St., sohohi.com.

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