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For lots of visitors to Oahu, there always seems to be that two-hour window AFTER the beach but BEFORE dinner. Where to go? Happy-Hour (we call it Pau Hana). Here’s a look at the Top Ten Happy-Hours on Oahu, to quench your craving before dinner:
1. Kona Brewing Company: The first Kona Brewing Company is, of course, in Kona. But, the second location of this popular bar and restaurant is in Hawaii Kai on Oahu. Over a dozen ales and lagers are hand-crafted on the premises, including popular Wailua Wheat, Big Wave Golden Ale, and Longboard Island Lager. Many of the beers are featured in the menu items as well, including delicious pizzas and entrees like Garden Isle Grilled Chicken with a red ale glaze and beer-braised ribs in a Black Sand Porter sauce. konabrewingco.com, (808) 396-5662
2. Duke’s Canoe Club: The entire restaurant is a tribute to Duke Kahanamoku, Hawaii’s renowned swimmer, surfer, and Olympic athlete. This casual bar and restaurant in the Outrigger Waikiki offers patrons a wealth of island culture. Memorabilia, live Hawaiian music, fruity cocktails, and fresh local seafood are among the attractions that have folks returning again and again. www.dukeswaikiki.com, 808.922.2268
3. Mai Tai Bar: If you’re longing for authentic Hawaiian ambiance, there’s no better way to satisfy the craving than at this charming open air bar. It’s located on top of Ala Moana Center, so you get a spectacular view of the city. The bar was the 1st Place Winner for Best Bar for Day Drinking and Pau Hana at the Honolulu Pulse Awards 2015. From 4-7 p.m., take advantage of food and drink specials for $5 each. The menu includes House Special Calamari, Chicken Chinois, and Firecracker Shrimp. The Mai Tai Bar also has a “Late Night Happy Hour”from 8-11 p.m. Come for the live, local music twice daily from 4-7 and 9:30 p.m. to 12:30 a.m. www.maitaibar.com, 808.947.2900
4. Kincaid’s: Kincaid’s has been a Honolulu staple for a while, but that just means it knows how to put on a smashing Happy-Hour! Kincaid’s offers a pau hana and late-night happy hour every day with $6 cocktails and $4 wines and beers. Bring on the crab dip and the baked brie, with a side of gin and tonic. You can find the restaurant at Ward Warehouse and enjoy Happy-Hour from 3-7 p.m. and 9-10 p.m. Sunday through Thursday; 9 p.m.-12 a.m. Friday and Saturday.www.kincaids.com, (808) 591-2005
5. Surfer, the Bar: Turtle Bay Resort has always been a popular destination for visitors. But, now, locals are getting in on the action! Surfer, the Bar is part bar, part restaurant and part night club. Great happy hour cocktails are offers along with the full bar and classic Hawaiian cocktails such as the lava flow and the mai tai – their strongest drink. Live music is offered on a regular basis and karaoke happens every Sunday night. Other forms of entertainment like “Talk Story” on Wednesdays offer guests an inside look at the life of people in the surf industry via live interview. Surfer, the Bar opens at 6 p.m. daily.www.surferthebar.com, (808) 293-6000
6. Cactus: Our list wouldn’t be complete without a Windward side offering. A favorite place for a cocktail and a few great appetizers is at Cactus in Kailua. Their signature frozen margaritas and frozen sangria are both $6, a pint of Dos Equis is a mere two bucks and everything on the happy hour menu is $1-$10. You can also try the super-addictive fry bread ($2 during happy hour). cactusbistro.com, (808) 261-1000
7. Maile’s Thai Bistro: If you’re finishing up a day at Hanauma Bay and need a cocktail, head over to Maile’s Thai Bistro at the Hawaii Kai Towne Center. Domestic drafts are $2.50 a glass. Plus, the Thai-inspired pupu menu (everything is $6 or less) is a nice change from the French fries and nachos usually on the menu during happy hour. mailesthaibistro.com, (808) 394-2488
8. Rumfire: RumFire serves terrific European-Pacific cuisine, from fresh island fish and a grilled filet mignon to a wealth of flavor-packed tapas. Terrific cocktails and vintage rums add to the appeal, as does the daily happy hour, 4-5 p.m. and called “The Firedrill,” which often features DJ mixes and live bands. The atmosphere is upscale but friendly, and people often come with a group of friends for the most fun. www.rumfirewaikiki.com, (808) 922-4422
9. Wada: Everything is between $3 to $5 on Wada’s Happy-Hour menu, which happens between 4-6p.m. and 9-11 p.m. The restaurant offers izakaya-style eats like crispy mochi sticks (like a fried spring roll of mochi and mentaiko) and salt poke (raw seasonal fish seasoned simply so it shines). Finish with the Wada shiso gohan (hot rice mixed with minced beef tongue and shiso). With sake at $3, too, it doesn’t get any better. www.restaurantwada.com, (808) 737-0125
10. Haleiwa Joe’s: The restaurant’s website says, “sandy feet welcome,” and that should give you a good indication of what to expect: a cool, casual atmosphere. While you soak in the scenery, make sure to sample terrific seafood and steak entrees. Prime rib is always popular, and coconut shrimp maintain a faithful following as well. You’ll also find grilled fish, fresh soups and salads, and tempting desserts. In the bar, a wonderful selection of appetizers makes for great nibbling. There’s another location in Kaneohe called Haleiwa Joe’s Haiku, but it’s this North Shore location that really draws crowds and loyal local customers. www.haleiwajoes.com, (808) 637-8005
Whether you’re on the North Shore, downtown, or on the Windward Side, it’s worth your while to check-out these restaurants and bars on Oahu. After all, the words “vacation” and “Happy-Hour” go hand-in-hand.