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23 Pau Hana Spots These Notable Locals Can’t Get Enough Of

We asked some well-known local personalities for their favorite after-work spots.


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Masaharu Morimoto

Photo: Courtesy of Masaharu Morimoto

 

Our annual Restaurant Guide shows you how to pau hana like a pro. Here’s where local deejays, chefs, designers, coaches and more go for after-work grinds.

 

Lee Anne Wong

chef-partner, Koko Head Café

Lee Anne Wong

Photo: Courtesy of Lee Anne Wong

 

“I love pau hana time at Encore Saloon. I’m usually ordering a platter of pork nachos with Grime Time queso—and extra jalapeños—the tortaguesa (Mexican hamburger) and the fish tacos, all washed down with a Stiegl-Radler grapefruit beer and a shot of mezcal. The relaxed vibe, open-air courtyard out back and great service make it one of my favorite places to relax and grind on Mexican yum-yums.”

 

Christa Wittmier

​co-founder of Aloha Cancer Project and deejay

Chris Wittmier

Photo: Courtesy of Christa Wittmier

 

“My favorite pau hana spot is Pint + Jigger. I love how it’s always dark in there. It reminds me of the ye ole pubs I used to frequent in England that always had two nouns in the name. My go-to is the [Marrow of Bone] dish and [co-owner] Dave Newman’s smoked tequila cocktail. It’s great to ask the bartenders to surprise me when I tell them what I’m in the mood for. They really are superb at their craft.”

 

Grace Lee

co-anchor of Sunrise on Hawai‘i News Now

Ruth’s Chris Waikīkī because they have a great steak special, good house wine and the best bartenders.”

 

Tom Park

co-owner, Bar Leather Apron and Leather Soul

“Currently, my favorite spot is Chez Kenzo. Although people think I only drink high-end whisky, my drink of choice is actually Bud Light and Chez Kenzo’s BL is ice cold and served in frozen beer mugs. The food is great, too, Japanese-influenced, and everything is delicious. My favorites are the ja-ja nasu and fried garlic. They also have a very under-the-radar pasta menu. The crab pasta with tomato cream is to die for!”

 

Donalyn Dela Cruz

director of communications, Hawai‘i State Department of Education

“The Harbor Restaurant at Pier 38. Winnahs with the Brasa oven.”

 

Kini Zamora

fashion designer/Project Runway veteran

“This is so not the answer you’re going to expect from me, but Shinsho Tei. They have a plate of bacon that they fry crispy and it’s like chips. I love to go there because it’s relaxing, good food and fun karaoke.”

 

Sig Zane

owner, Sig Zane Designs

Sig Zane

Photo: Courtesy of Sig Zane

 

Moon & Turtle in Hilo. Mark and Soni [Pomaski] put together super tasty dishes. All-time favorites: moi sashimi with an Italian dressing and cinnamon tomato tripe stew.”

 

Kirk Caldwell

Honolulu mayor

Kirk Caldwell

Photo: Courtesy of Kirk Caldwell

 

“One of my favorite pau hana eateries is Zippy’s. I eat there often and enjoy the chili—it’s the best in the state. I order the chili without rice and don’t add any extras. You could say I’m a chili traditionalist!” 

 

Robyn Ah Mow-Santos

UH women’s volleyball head coach

Robyn Ah Mow-Santos

Photo: Courtesy of Robyn Ah Mow-Santos

 

Shinsho Tei and 8 Fat Fat 8. Both places are low key and the food is delicious.”

 

Masaharu Morimoto

chef/owner of Morimoto Restaurants

Masaharu Morimoto

Photo: Courtesy of Masaharu Morimoto

 

“When I’m not working at my new restaurant, Morimoto Asia Waikīkī, I sometimes walk downstairs to the Alohilani Resort’s O Bar. I order a cold beer and sit for a moment near the giant aquarium. I like the energy of Waikīkī so I stay nearby even when I’m not busy in the kitchen or greeting guests.”

 

Guy Hagi

weatherman, Hawai‘i News Now

 “The Hawai‘i News Now people go to Underdogs next to the station. If I had time I’d go to Duck Butt, Doraku, Livestock Tavern or RumFire.”

 

Nat Bletter

co-founder, Madre Chocolate

Nat Bletter

Photo: Courtesy of Nat Bletter

 

“For pau hana I usually go to Encore SaloonLivestock Tavern or the new Harry’s Hardware speakeasy.”

 

Jasmine Tanioka,

chief financial officer, Tanioka’s Seafoods & Catering

“The Kapolei Cheesecake Factory has this amazing happy hour. I love two things there: the farfalle with chicken and roasted garlic and the smokehouse barbecue burger. The food is really tasty, there’s lots of parking and everybody’s so friendly. It’s just a nice, relaxing place.”

 

Charlie Wade

UH men’s volleyball coach

Charlie Wade

Photo: Courtesy of Charlie Wade

 

“We like to go to Big City Diner in Kailua. We always start with at least one order of the edamame; the sauce is great. Our oldest son, Makana, will order one of their ‘ono burgers or the salmon sandwich. Kainoa usually goes with the loco moco. Kekoa likes the chicken wings off the keiki menu. My wife, Tani, usually gets the portobello mushroom sandwich, and lately I have gone with the Not So Traditional Cobb salad. Many times we will get an order of Uncle Danny’s fried rice for the table to share.”

 

Kimo Villarimo

107.9 deejay

“I don’t get to pau hana a lot, but when I do I absolutely love chicken wings, so a first option is Buffalo Wild Wings. The menu has everything for proper pūpū-ing. [And] Taps & Apps: great tasting menu and a bevy of beverages. Whether it’s a mug of your favorite brew or a flight of different flavors, this place never disappoints.”

 

John Veneri

co-anchor, Living808 on KHON 

The MIXX on Pi‘ikoi Street has really good food and karaoke all night. Or Side Street Inn because the pork chops and fried rice are super ‘ono!”

 

Trini Kaopuiki

co-anchor, Living808 on KHON

“One of the places I enjoy is RumFire Waikīkī at the Sheraton. It’s a great venue with gorgeous views of the ocean and sunset. And if you stay until evening (which inevitably happens when my girlfriends and I get together), there’s a great deejay that plays music starting at 9 p.m. Then we just end up dancing the night away!”

 

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