Your favorite happy hours on O‘ahu

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Last night I met a girlfriend for pau hana drinks at Bevy, a fairly new neighborhood bar in Kaka‘ako. It’s got a solid happy hour menu, with a new selection of tapas, that we had wanted to check out. Items like house-made goat cheese creme on smoked beets with candied pecans. Or cod-and-caper croquettes served with a sweet chili aioli. Or the popular oysters on a half shell (above) with a papaya salsa and ponzu sauce. (And for $1 each, no less!)

It got me thinking about happy hours.

Anyone who has worked in Hawai‘i knows how much we love our pau hana. We love discounted pūpū and drinks — especially if they’re as delicious as the tidbits we feasted on at Bevy.

But what makes a good happy hour?

I say the following:

1. Great drinks. You can’t have a happy hour with lame, watered-down cocktails and a very limited offering of beers. (Unless you’re Shirokiya and you’re serving cold beers for $1.) We want good, solid drinks at a decent price. I’m not going to pay $8 for a colorful cocktail, even if it comes with a sprig of rosemary.

2. Tasty bites — and size doesn’t really matter. I want to say I appreciate the huge portions some bars dole out, even at happy hour. But I don’t care that much about the quantity as long as the food is crazy-good and reasonably priced. I’ll eat a small plate of food if the dish is absolutely delectable — and the price is right.

3. Fun, lively atmosphere. I might be in the minority when I say this, but I like a happy hour to be fun and lively — not dark or drab or dreary. I don’t need to sit in a cave and eat food I can’t see. If I’ve been sitting in a quiet office for the past eight hours, the last thing I want to do is be in a quiet space after work. I want laughter, I want conversation, I want to swear and dance and toss my head backward in a contagious fit of laughter. Period.

4. Parking. OK, maybe this my 39-year-old self coming out. But I hate having to circle neighborhoods for parking or walk several blocks in heels. I’m just too old for that. Give me valet.

I like places like Brasserie Du Vin in Chinatown, located closed to a cheap municipal parking lot. It boasts a robust happy hour menu like baked Brie, beef sliders topped with caramelized onions and a share-able cheese-and-charcuerie platter. Or Shokudo Japanese Restaurant & Bar near Ala Moana Center, with its late-night menu of contemporary Japanese dishes like unagi rice and sukiyaki bibimbap and sukiyaki kim chee pizza. Or Holoholo Bar & Grill in Mo‘ili‘ili with its take on bar classics like a Hawaiian version of poutine and deep-fried pork ribs.

So, according to that criteria, where are your favorite spots for happy hour?

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7 Responses to “Your favorite happy hours on O‘ahu”

  1. M July 3, 2014 at 9:08 am #

    Hello Cat,

    Great drinks….I don’t drink so it doesn’t affect me.

    Tasty Bites….That’s numba one, gotta get guud grinds

    Fun, lively atmosphere…not a biggie, the company I’m with is guud enough

    Parking….plenty parking is a plus.

  2. Aaron July 3, 2014 at 9:42 am #

    Kincaid’s. Easy parking and a very short walk from the 3rd and 4th floors of the Ward Warehouse parking structure. A lively pau hana crowd, particularly if there’s a good game on the TV. Drink specials for $4 and $5. Full-sized orders of their appetizers at a cheaper price, as well as a very good cheeseburger and chips for $7 (add $1 if you want fries instead of chips). Happy hour every day from 3 to 7pm. Lots to like at Kincaid’s…

  3. kyleepuu July 3, 2014 at 1:19 pm #

    Chez Kenzo has a great happy hour, I especially like that it is until 7pm – most other HH’s end way too early for me to catch!

  4. travelmonkey July 3, 2014 at 2:58 pm #

    Home Bar & Grill

    Great food and service, fun lively atmosphere, all my friends love it. Parking kinda sucks a bit later, but I work nearby so it’s not a problem for me

  5. Strobie July 3, 2014 at 9:38 pm #

    KINCAID’S! That’s a good call. Potatoes three ways and a view. Love Du Vin, too.

  6. Dennis July 8, 2014 at 6:33 am #

    Another great place to spend my retirement days. Thanks Cat!

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