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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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Celebrating 25 Years

Relive that blissful first year of marriage together over drinks at Lewers Lounge. Polished and elegant, the lounge is the perfect place to celebrate the day you said, “I do.” Listen to live classic and jazz piano tunes while sipping a ($12). Request your wedding song and fall in love all over again. Nightly from 7:30 p.m. to 1 a.m., 2199 Kalia Road, 923-2311, halekulani.com

It’s Time to Say Aloha

Someone near and dear to you leaving the Islands? Send them off with a sunset memory from House Without a Key, the Halekūlani’s storied outdoor bar. The view of Diamond Head and the ocean, Hawaiian music by the Sunset Serenaders, hula by Kanoe Miller, a couple rounds of the appropriately named Halekulani Sunset (guava, pineapple and rum, $10)—who knows? Your guest of honor might decide to stay. Daily 7 a.m. to 9:30 p.m., entertainment 5:30 to 8:30 p.m., 2199 Kalia Road, 923-2311, halekulani.com.

Got into Mensa

Quick—who was the 22nd and the 24th president of the United States? What year did The Smurfs air in the U.S.? Trivia contestants rack their brains to answer questions such as these during the Stump Trivia Tuesdays at The Manifest, from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. Groups of up to six—often with colorful team names—write down their answers on a variety of topics. The winners get a free round of drinks and their photos posted on Manifest’s website. Added bonus: The bar sells hotdogs for $4 (or $7 with a beer) or you can bring your own brain food. 32 N. Hotel St., 523-7575, manifesthawaii.com

Cory Nomura serves up a tasty, house-made lychee-infused martini at Wang Chung's, one of the smallest, friendliest bars in Waikiki.

Photo: Mark Arbeit



Came Out of the Closet

Wang Chung’s bills itself as the friendliest bar in Waikiki, and we think owner Dan Chang just may be right. “It doesn’t matter who comes in—gay, straight, transgender—everyone has a great time,” he says. “The positive energy is infectious.” Chang has been known to personally welcome everyone who enters this intimate, karaoke bar. On a recent visit, the whole bar belted out Lady Gaga songs, celebrated patron Glenn’s birthday with a mini coconut cake and had Bud, the bartender, serve up rounds of lychee martinis ($7) created with housemade, lychee-infused vodka. Daily 2 p.m. to 2 a.m., 2410 Koa Ave., 921-9176, wangchungs.com




Pau Work

Comfy rattan couches? Check. Casual outdoor atmosphere? Check. Live music? Impressive pau hana specials? Check. Our online survey participants found that the Mai Tai Bar in Ala Moana Center has all of the above, making for a great place to pau hana. Whether you want to root for the Warriors, listen to Kapena or just enjoy a cold draft and calamari ($5) during the daily 4 to 7 p.m. happy hours, Mai Tai’s can’t be beat. It’s no wonder the bar was also voted Bronze for Best Bar in the 2010 Hale Aina Awards. Daily from 11 a.m. to 12:30 a.m., 1450 Ala Moana Blvd., 947-2900, maitaibar.com

Closing the Deal

When it comes to successful business, it’s not about hiding tricks up your Gordon Gekko sleeve. It’s about appearing straightforward and effortless—which sums up both the ambience and drink menu at Nobu’s The Lounge. There’s a reason local PR agencies and financial advisers court their clients at this Waikiki locale. The lounge’s cocktails infuse any business meeting with that same quietly confident charm. Start with its signature Hokusektsu sakes to nail the fine-line balance of seriousness and cool. To end, ask resident mixologist David Newman for his specially constructed “Handshake Cocktail” ($12), a Grand Marnier Centenaire cognac and sour honey fusion dusted with gold-flake honey caviar. Knowing to order this unlisted drink is part of what seals the deal. Daily 5 p.m. to 12 a.m., 2233 Helumoa Road, 237-6999, noburestaurants.com/waikiki.

Photo: Kevin Blitz

Boys’ Night Out

Sometimes guys just need a dose of beers and friendly competition in the shape of an 8-ball. Find that chill environment within the new Kalihi sports bar The Remedy. It offers the usual formula—TVs, dartboards, pool tables, private karaoke room, conversational bartenders. Enjoy $4 drafts during Remedy’s happy hours from opening to 8 p.m. in addition to dollar-off pūpū that’s standard bar food fare, but in surprising quantity. We recommend the Cheesy Garlic Bread ($6) and mountainous Monte Cristo Nachos ($9). Monday through Friday,
3 p.m. to 2 a.m.; Saturday and Sunday, 6 p.m. to 2 a.m., 746 Kohou St. 

Related Articles:

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

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