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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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Photo: Rae Huo

Becoming a Retiree

Nestled under diamond head  at the edge of Waikīkī, The Elks Lodge is a prominent beachfront bar that lets you soak in stunning ocean views, and your golden years. With a staff that considers you family and a members-only policy, you’re always in for a warm welcome. Upon sponsorship from a current Elks member, a charitable $1,100 initiation fee and an annual sum of $275, your membership allows you to invite the entire ‘ohana for a truly multigenerational experience. Overhearing one bar patron say to another, “I just retired,” as we collected the check, came as no surprise. Open daily at 11 a.m. and closes at 7 p.m. on Mondays and Tuesdays, at 9 p.m. on Wednesdays, Thursdays and Sundays and 10 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays. 2933 Kalākaua Ave., 923-5722, elks616.org

Up to No Good

Harbor Pub isn’t shady, but this hidden gem of a bar is discreet, with a layout  and décor that makes you feel like you’re on a boat, which is perfect for those of you who might be up to no good—whatever that may entail. Tucked under the Ilikai Marina facing the Ala Wai Harbor, the pub attracts regulars, locals and tourists alike. It’s open for breakfast, but is busiest during the daily happy hour, from 4 to 7 p.m. and on. Satiate your appetite with a cold one and the hand-tossed Harbor Combo pizza. Daily 7 a.m. to 2 a.m., 1777 Ala Moana Blvd. 941-0985.

Photo: Courtesy Thirtyninehotel

Volunteered to be Designated Driver

It’s a noble gesture, of course, but being the designated driver of the evening can be a thankless task. Next time, reward yourself by steering your tipsy friends to Thirtyninehotel, which, in addition to its gourmet lineup of cocktails, also serves up some of Honolulu’s tastiest virgin drinks. Sample a Rosé, which boasts lavender sour, a splash of pomegranate and European rose essence, and you won’t even miss the booze. Then there’s the Tropico, which replicates the tropical flavors of a piña colada, sans rum, and the Stormy Sky, which melds blackberries and ginger to delicious effect. Add in local art installations and new menu items such as hush puppies ($6), poi gnocchi ($5) and lamb popsicles ($11), and you’ve got a spot that’ll make everyone happy, sober or not. Tuesday through Sunday, 4 p.m. to 2 a.m., 39 N. Hotel St., Honolulu. 599-2552, thirtyninehotel.com.

Your Cable Went Out

you may remember theVenue as rRed Elephant, custom built for live music with state of the art acoustics and sound systems. New owner David Stewart kept those qualities, and remodeled earlier this year, adding lounge-y seating and a full bar. Order your drinks there, or from the neighboring bambuTwo Cafe and Martini Lounge, as you enjoy art house movies on Mondays, Hawaiian music on Thursdays, or anything else from the wide range of experiences theVenue hosts. Slam poetry? Stand-up comedy? Dance performances? Goth beauty pageants? Yes, all those and more. Monday through Saturday, 7 a.m. to 2 a.m., 1144 Bethel Street, 528-1144. theVenue: Hours vary by performance, 1146 Bethel St., bambutwo.com.

Been Laid Off

you need a drink. And a dark corner in which to lick your wounds and plot your next move. You need to go to The Hideaway. With a jukebox, a pool table, a colorful cast of regulars and an ashtray next to the men’s toilet, Waikīkī’s favorite tiny dive bar has everything you need to sink into the woodwork for a while. Most importantly, it’s got cheap booze. Prices get even lower between 6 and 7 p.m. every day, when domestic beers and well drinks are just a buck apiece. (If you want to get a full hour of dollar drinking in, though, be sure to follow the clock on the Hideaway’s wall, instead of your own watch. Bar time runs 17 minutes early.) Daily from 6 a.m. to 2 a.m., 1913 Dudoit Lane, 949-9885. 

Watching the Big Game

Fans unite at Kanpai Bar & Grill.  Watching a UH football home game during a recent visit, it was easy to see why. Literally. Kanpai is home to 11 flat-screens, and there’s not a bad seat in the house, be it crowded around bar stools, in an indoor booth or on the casual, open-air patio. Kanpai opens at 7 a.m. during football season, but also attracts the late-night set. Put your money on a couple of seasoned winners: the tender Braised Short Rib Loco Moco ($8) or a generous-size Kim Chee Ribeye Steak ($17); they’re enough to feed your favorite team’s entire second string. Daily 11 a.m. to 2 a.m., 404 Ward Ave., 593-9202.          

Related Articles:

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

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