Weekend Picks – October 8, 2009

The only thing worth getting sauced for this weekend? Cold beer and gourmet pizza. And with the best slices in town showing up on bar menus rather than at pizzerias or Italian joints, it’s worth making plans to get a pie and a pitcher at one of these pubs.

V Lounge
The Scene: Part afterhours club, part pre-party lounge, it’s suddenly on the map as a dinner or late-night eats spot, thanks to its newly unveiled pizza menu.
The Slice: The crust is made with imported Italian flour, the mozzarella is handmade in small batches, and the sauce is simmered from scratch with San Marzano tomatoes. Then it’s all fired in a kiawe wood-burning brick oven – making it the most authentic Neapolitan style pizza in the Islands.
The Details: V Lounge, 1344 Kona Street. www.vloungehawaii.com

Apartment 3
The Scene: Chic, sleek, upscale lounge frequented by the city’s stylish set.
The Slice: Personal-size pies perfect for keeping the martini buzz at bay for a little while. There are simple choices like Margherita or For the Love of Veggies, and toppings-heavy pies like the Carnivore or the popular Da Kine – piled high with cheddar, Monterey Jack and mozzarella cheeses, baked ham, toasted pineapple and sweet red onions.
The Details: Apartment 3, Century Center Building, 1750 Kalakaua Ave. (at intersection of Kapi‘olani), third floor. 808.955.9300.

J.J. Dolan’s
The Scene: A neighborhood-y pub with a Cheers-like vibe. It’s straightforward beer and pizza at its best.
The Slice: Hard to go wrong no matter what you order, but the Giacomo is legendary – sausage, pepperoni, salami and olives piled on a perfectly thin crust.
The Details: J.J. Dolan’s, 1147 Bethel Street, 808.537.4992. www.jjdolans.com

Bar 35
The Scene: This super-chill, dimly-lit bar fills up at pau hana time with Chinatown scenesters and the Downtown office crowd. The drink of choice? One of the hundreds of microbrews and imported beers they stock.
The Slice: The crust is traditional – thin, crispy, oblong-shaped – but the toppings are anything but. The Gyromatic is like a Greek sandwich, and Smokey Heaven is clearly inspired by a NYC lox-and-bagel with smoked salmon and cream cheese. There are still classics too, though, like Italian Perdition with sausage, olives and anchovies, as well as plain cheese.
The Details: Bar 35, 35 N. Hotel Street, Chinatown. 808.537.3535. www.bar35hawaii.com

The Scene: Familiar wine bar with tables full of cozy couples or crowds of co-workers.
The Slice:
Ciao, baby – these simple, thin-crust pies are classic Italian types like Primavera, Pancetta & Pesto, Puttanesca and Margherita. Um, make that chow, baby.
The Details:
Formaggio Wine Bar, lower level of Market City Shopping Center (intersection of Kaimuki Ave. and Kapi‘olani Blvd.). 808.739.7719. www.formaggio808.com

Kona Brewing Co.
The Scene: Yes, it’s more of a restaurant than a bar, but the Hawai‘i-brewed beer is still the draw at this waterfront watering hole.
The Slice: Hearty, bread-like crust that stands up to the serious toppings here, with lots of locally-grown produce among the choices. For something different, try the Ka‘u Pesto, made with homemade macadamia nut pesto sauce.  
The Details: Kona Brewing Co., Koko Marina Center, 7192 Kalanianaole Hwy, 808.394.5662. www.konabrewingco.com