11 Honolulu Happy Hours for Every Occasion
These pau hana spots take happy hours to the next level.
photo: courtesy of Bar 35
Honolulu’s got every kind of happy hour you can imagine.
On rooftops and beaches, with cityscapes and ocean views, with chef-driven menus and handcrafted cocktails. There are restaurants and bars perfect for postwork debriefings or a much-needed girls night out, quiet spaces for decompressing or ones with lots of distractions (and a great drink menu) to amp your afternoon. And then there are happy-hour-specific menus, with discounts on libations, pūpū and plates of food. It almost makes you feel like you’re actually doing the right thing. We got the place, all you need is the reason.
You’re Looking For a Scene—and Maybe Pizza:
Photo: courtesy of Bar 35
It only makes sense that restaurants and bars in Chinatown and Downtown offer postwork deals on drinks and pūpū. And there’s a reason why Bar 35 on Hotel Street, with its relaxed vibe and outdoor seating, has been a staple in the pau hana scene. Its happy hour spans from 4 to 9 p.m. every weekday except Monday, with 25 percent off any two of its thin-crust pizzas, a serving of spicy edamame, EuroFries with dipping sauces and the popular triple-cheese crostini topped with bacon crumbles. Three-olive martinis are $3.75 and Hangar 1 martinis are $5 during happy hour.
WHAT TO ORDER: The Deep Forest pizza with imported prosciutto, fresh mushrooms and an olive-oil drizzle; and the French Kiss pizza with French brie, ham, house-made pesto and fresh basil. Get the Hotel Street martini with pomegranate and peach schnapps and a house-made sour with a sugar rim.
4 to 9 p.m. Tuesday through Friday, 35 N. Hotel St., (808) 537-3535, bar35hawaii.com
You Need a Big Table For A Lot of Food and Friends:
Moku Kitchen in Kaka‘ako sprawls over 7,000 square feet, giving you plenty of space to spread out. The stretch of outdoor seating—our pick—is better for chatting and people-watching. Happy hour runs from 3 to 5:30 p.m. daily, so get in early and start ordering. Moku Kitchen offers deals on its 36 beers on tap, house wines by the glass and handcrafted cocktails. Small plates—except poke and oysters—are half off. The hand-tossed pizzas, made with a three-day-aged crust, are $10. Plan to hang out and enjoy the live music, which runs to 7 p.m.
WHAT TO ORDER: Garlic truffle oil fries with three dips (we love the house-made ketchup), lobster deviled eggs with dill and lime, and the Hāmākua wild mushroom pizza with truffle oil, Parmesan and fresh thyme. All three are totally shareable. For signature cocktails, order the Monkeypod Mai Tai (Old Lahaina light and dark rum, mac nut orgeat, curaçao and a honey-liliko‘i foam) or the Kō Hana Hou (Kō Hana Kea rum, the spicy-citrusy Velvet falernum, Giffard’s orgeat and clement d’orange foam).
3 to 5:30 p.m. daily, 660 Ala Moana Blvd., (808) 591-6658, mokukitchen.com
You Never Know What You Want—or When:
The Street, A Michael Mina Social House
This upgraded food court on the bottom floor of the International Market Place in Waikīkī is the perfect spot for the indecisive. It recently launched a Bar Bites menu, available all day. Rather than standing in line at each station, grab a table and order from this menu, which features two ribs and slaw from International Smoke for $5.99, a steamed bun filled with glazed pork belly from the Ramen Bar for $8.99, a slice of pepperoni or caprese pizza from Nana Lu for $7.99 and more. (The food will come to you!) During its early happy hour—from 3 to 6 p.m.—The Street offers drink specials at the Beer Bar, Myna Bird Tiki Bar and The Bar at Kai Poke, including $2 Pabst Blue Ribbon at Beer Bar and $5 piña colada at Myna Bird.
WHAT TO ORDER: The best deal is the slider with twisty fries from Maui Onion Burger for $5.99, available on the Bar Bites menu. The Bar at Kai Poke’s $5 sake bombs and house-made spiked Hawaiian punch are musts.
3 to 6 p.m. and 10 p.m. to midnight daily, 2330 Kālakaua Ave., thestreetsocialhouse.com
You’re On A Date:
Roy’s Hawai‘i Kai
furikake-crusted big-eye ‘ahi tataki on Waimānalo greens, flame-grilled petite filet mignon and garlic shrimp Kaua‘i prawns.
Photo: Courtesy of Roy’s Hawai‘i Kai
Don’t worry about what to order: Roy’s Hawai‘i Kai offers a prix fixe sunset menu for $45 with some of the restaurant’s most popular courses. Offered from 5 to 7 p.m., the menu, which changes seasonally, features dishes such as furikake-crusted big-eye ‘ahi tataki on Waimānalo greens, flame-grilled petite filet mignon and garlic shrimp Kaua‘i prawns, and the restaurant’s signature pineapple upside-down cake with vanilla ice cream.
WHAT TO ORDER: Opt for the wine pairing for $20 more.
5 to 7 p.m. daily, 6600 Kalaniana‘ole Highway, (808) 396-7697, royshawaii.com
You’re a Foodie, Whether You Admit It or Not:
Photo: Courtesy of MW Restaurant
What started as just a way to fill the gap between lunch and dinner service at MW Restaurant has quickly become its own thing. Happy hour runs daily from 2 to 5 p.m., with $5 small plates, many of which feature local and seasonal ingredients. The selection is stellar: ‘ahi poke mandoo with Hāmākua eryngi mushrooms, crispy butterfish skin salad, Ho Farms fried okra and kim chee pork lettuce wraps. The bar is open, too, so you can grab a glass of house wine, draft beer or one of a handful of cocktails available.
WHAT TO ORDER: The Ho Farms tomato bruschetta with Hawai‘i Island Goat Dairy chèvre, unagi and butterfish arancini with nori tsukudani and kabayaki mustard, OK Farms bacon-dashi chawanmushi and MW’s pizzadilla (a pepperoni quesadilla) for $10 each. For drinks, we like the cilantro margarita and Tahitian lemonade with vanilla-infused bourbon.
2 to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday, 4 to 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, 1538 Kapi‘olani Blvd., (808) 955-6505, mwrestaurant.com
You Want Steak, STAT:
The Signature Prime Steak & Seafood
Photos: courtesy of The signature prime steak & seafood
The bar menu at The Signature Prime Steak & Seafood has various steak dishes, including steak tartare, filet mignon sliders, lettuce steak wraps and a sizzling steak served on a hot stone. During happy hour, from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. daily, many of the items are half off and others are discounted. (The popular seafood tower is still $79.95, though.) There’s also ‘ahi poke, crispy fried calamari, oysters on the half shell, spiced honey-glazed baby back ribs, fresh sea scallops with a ponzu sauce and goat cheese tartine. Wines by the glass, beers and signature cocktails are on special, too. The restaurant doesn’t take reservations for happy hour, just FYI.
Filet Mignon sliders.
WHAT TO ORDER: Filet mignon sliders, the ultimate bacon cheeseburger and the lobster mac and cheese. The popular B.Z.T. cocktail—a classic bloody mary with a spicy blend of Sriracha and wasabi served with a slice of crispy bacon in the glass—is $8.50.
4:30 to 6:30 p.m. (drink specials until 7 p.m.) daily, Ala Moana Hotel, 410 Atkinson Drive, 36th Floor, (808) 949-3636, signatureprimesteak.com
You’re Looking For a Quick Bite Before a Concert at Hawai‘i Theatre:
We’re not sure how long this happy hour will last, since the owners of Yakitori Hachibei in Chinatown have said this is just for a limited time. But for now, we’re still heading there for its 5@5 menu, which features a variety of dishes and drinks for $5. Get fried calamari, ‘ahi poke and chicken liver pâté served on baguette slices. Five-dollar drinks include highballs, Japanese beers and chuhai made with freshly pressed lemons. Happy hour runs from 5 to 6 p.m. daily, so you don’t have time to waste.
WHAT TO ORDER: The yamaimo fries and the crispy-fried chicken wings with either the restaurant’s special yuzu-citrus sauce or a Nagoya-style shoyu-and-pepper dressing. Get one of the shochu highballs.
5 to 6 p.m. daily, 20 N. Hotel St., (808) 369-0088, hachibei.com/en
It’s 10 p.m. and You Want Sushi:
Izakaya Torae Torae
Ask Senia chef-owner Chris Kajioka where he likes to pau hana and his answer is simple: Torae Torae. While he loves the izakaya’s special dashimaki tamago (which is so in demand it has to be ordered at least a day ahead), the real deals are found on the happy hour menu, which runs from 10 p.m. to last call. Items range from $3 for truffle-teriyaki edamame to $10 for the popular—and filling—bara chirashi, cubes of raw fish and ikura on a bed of white rice.
WHAT TO ORDER: You really can’t go wrong with any of the items on the happy hour menu, though we recommend the ‘ahi tataki, lightly seared ‘ahi with daikon, seaweed and onions and topped with ponzu, Kewpie mayo and garlic chips ($6); spicy tuna tartare, with avocado and spicy ‘ahi topped with a quail egg and tempura nori ($6); hamachi carpaccio ($7); and pork belly don ($7). Hot sake is also on special.
10 p.m. to last call, 1111 McCully St., (808) 949-5959
You Love To Eat Honey Toast at 11 p.m.:
Shokudo Japanese Restaurant & Bar
Photo: Courtesy of Shokudo Japanese Restaurant & Bar
The Before Dark menu at Shokudo Japanese Restaurant, served between 4 and 6 p.m. daily, offers a slew of dishes that run from $3.95 to $5.95—one of the best deals in town. There’s garlic clams, steamed gyoza, spicy tuna nachos, teriyaki chicken quesadilla, a small bowl of char siu ramen and kim chee fried rice. Fans of Shokudo’s honey toast can get a smaller version for $3.95. Drinks are $4 and $5 and include draft Kirin, house wines and hot sake. Or opt for li hing sake, sangria and margaritas in shareable sizes, ranging from $13 to $15. The restaurant’s late-night happy hour offers the same deals from 10 p.m. to midnight on Sunday through Thursday only. Call ahead with reservations, especially if you’re planning to bring the Honey Toast Fan Club.
Photo: Steve Czerniak
WHAT TO ORDER: Dynamite fries, spicy tuna roll, ramen salad and sukiyaki kim chee pizza. Sharing drinks is always fun.
4 to 6 p.m. daily and 10 p.m. to midnight Sunday through Thursday, 1585 Kapi‘olani Blvd., (808) 941-3701, shokudojapanese.com
You Got Paid and Want To Spend It On Food:
You’ll still get a deal during happy hour at Stripsteak Waikīkī, but don’t expect it to be cheap. The Sunset Supper prix fixe menu, only served between 4 and 6 p.m. daily, features a tuna hand-roll appetizer and a 12-ounce New York strip steak with duck-fat fries and spinach sautéed in garlic for $40 per person. You can also order smaller plates on the happy hour menu, including ‘ahi poke tacos, shishito peppers with watermelon carpaccio and a small assortment of makimono and nigiri. The burger and garlic-herb fries—with applewood-smoked bacon, American cheese and caramelized Maui onion—is $21 but delicious. Three beers are $4, house wine is $6 and three cocktails are $7. The happy hour menu is only served at the bar or the open-air lānai; good thing the area is big.
WHAT TO ORDER: If you don’t want the prix fixe menu, which is the best deal, we recommend the burger and fries, loco moco sliders and Tokyo Tots with yuzu aioli, bonito flakes and sake-cured ikura. For drinks, try the effervescent Gala Brand with aperol, passion fruit and prosecco. Or get the Beer & A Shot—literally a beer (Heineken or Miller High Life) with a shot and chaser for $8.08.
4 to 6 p.m. daily, 2330 Kalākaua Ave., 800-3094, michaelmina.net
You Think Pau Hana Should Start After Midnight:
We’ve all been there. You already had dinner, but then you stayed out and now you’re hungry. And you don’t feel like going to Zippy’s (again). Yanagi Sushi has a late-night happy hour from 10:30 p.m. to 2 a.m.—yes, 2 a.m.—with an expansive menu that includes pūpū, rolled sushi and combo meals. Some items are around $5—fried gyoza, mini tonkatsu, chicken teriyaki, kurobuta sausage—and meals range from $12.95 for beef teriyaki and chicken katsu to $15.95 for nigiri sushi with either udon or soba. (Meals come with miso soup, rice and pickled veggies, by the way.) Since there aren’t many restaurants serving late-night specials, Yanagi Sushi can fill up, especially on the weekend, so call ahead.
WHAT TO ORDER: Blackened ‘ahi sashimi, unagi donburi, teriyaki New York steak and spicy tuna roll. Wash it down with either a hot or cold Sho Chiku Bai or Korean soju, all discounted.
10:30 p.m. to 2 a.m. (last call 1:30 a.m.) Monday through Saturday, 762 Kapi‘olani Blvd., 597-1525, yanagisushi-hawaii.com