Waikiki's Best Happy Hours
Where to Drink and Eat and Cheaply And See Sunsets
Music, drink specials and the view make Rumfire Waikiki's Top Happy Hour.
Being happy in Honolulu is not difficult, especially as beach time ends and sunset time approaches.
For many, that's when the urge emerges to have some cocktails, and Waikiki and Honolulu have that covered like an umbrella in a Mai Tai. The choices are as varied as the drinks they serve – places with incredible views, live cultural music and atmospheres that range from fired-up tourists to laid-back locals. In most cases, these Happy Hours run seven days a week – that's right, they are in effect even on weekends. Okole maluna!
Some sensational bargains are out there– beers for as low as $1.50, cocktails for $3 and one place that serves free pizza. Eating and drinking in Waikiki does not have to be expensive.
People prepare for the sunset from the lanai at Rumfire.
There's little question the liveliest off-the-beach bar is Duke's Canoe Club. It's location in the center of Waikiki's active beach pretty much ensures the presence of every party-minded tourist at some point. It's busy, loud and lively. And while $5.75 for a Hawaiian-brewed Kona beer is certainly not excessive, Duke's has no specific Happy Hour. And this article only explores those places that offer food and drink specials.
This article focuses on Waikiki Beach extending to the Ala Moana Shopping Center.
• WAIKIKI'S BEST HAPPY HOUR: RUMFIRE
Sailboats catch the breeze at sunset as seen from Rumfire.
While it does not match the frenzy of Duke's, Rumfire at the Sheraton is a soothing sensation. The trade winds blow through the open doors and windows of this classy lounge, there are tables inside and out and a small band plays Hawaiian-style music of originals, island favorites and covers with an island twist from 5-8 p.m. This just says Hawaii.
Rumfire has seating inside and out in an open-air atmosphere.
Rumfire is also about the only place right on the beach that has Happy Hour specials.
Happy Hour Specifics: Daily, 4-6 p.m. (Not including holidays.)
Specials: $4.50 draft special, 4.50 shot of the day, $6.50 wines and cocktail of the day. pupus $3-8. Live music.
• DORAKU SUSHI
All this food and drink is about $20, and its sensational.
One of the most sought-after foods in Honolulu is sushi, and this highly-acclaimed restaurant in the main area of the Royal Hawaiian Center is the place to start such an experience. The food, service and ambiance is outstanding. Because of this, plus the incredible prices for such high quality meal, Doraku is highly popular among airline crews on layover, and locals love it, as well.
Hour Specifics: Monday-Friday, 5-7 p.m.
Specials: $3 wells, $4 Kirin draft, $5 large Kirin Ichiban, large sake bottle, house chardonnay and merlot. Appetizers range in price from $2.50-5 (California roll, $3; chicken kara'age, $4; ahi poke, $5).
• SANSEI SUSHI
Another sushi place is Sansei in the Marriott. It goes away from the traditional daily 5-7ish Happy Hour specials, opting instead to go with food and drink deals at different days and times.
Hour Specifics: Sunday-Monday, 5:15-6:15 p.m. Late-night Fridays and Saturday, 10 p.m.-1 a.m.
Specials: Sunday-Monday: 50% off the menu. Fridays and Saturdays, 50% off food with $3 Crown Royal, Jagermeister and Bud Lites, $4 Heineken, plus $5 Belvedere (Fridays), $5 Grey Goose and Jack Daniels drinks, (Saturdays).
• CHA CHA CHA
The fish tacos are grilled and served with sides or al a carte.
A Mexican restaurant/bar in the heart of Waikiki Beach may seem a bit odd, but locals – as well as flight attendands and airline pilots on layovers – know Cha Cha Cha as a great bargain place for food and drinks. This is especially true for Taco Tuesdays, which are so popular the small, simple joint must bring in a doorman. The fish tacos are grilled and served on flower tortillas but the real menu winner is the pork quesadilla. The margis are good, and at their best when the shaggy-haired blonde dude is making 'em.
Happy Hour Specifics: M-F, 4-6 p.m., and 9-close.
Specials: $3 margaritas, $12 pitchers. Taco Tuesdays feature $2 tacos (starts at 10 p.m.).
• THE SHACK
The Shack and its Happy Hour gets a big round of cheers from these girls.
It's more than a small burger chain. Now open in Waikiki around the corner from the International Marketplace, it's where locals go to party on Thursday nights for $2 beers. Most locals don't bother to show up until 11, as the place doesn't close 'till 4. 2255 Kuhio Avenue. If you're looking to sit down, get there before 11. If you're looking to party long and deep on a Thursday, get there by 11.
Happy Hour Specifics: Monday-Thursday, 6 p.m.-close. The biggest night is Thirsty Thursday.
Specials: Wells, calls & house wines, $3. Mondays – $3.50 Absolut Vodka, $3 Primo • Longboard • Fire Rock. Taco Wednesdayss, $2 Fish Tacos, $1 off Mexican beers, $1 of all tequilas, $1 off tequila Specialty Drinks. Thursdays, 24 Beers On Tap with $10 cover.
• TOP OF WAIKIKI
The Hawaiian Kona drafts are just
%2.60 at the this "top" Happy Hour location.
The view from "the Top" is as impressive as the food and drink specials.
While Rumfire gets PubClub.com's vote as Waikiki's Best Happy Hour, the "top" Happy Hour location is the Top of Waikiki. That's because rather than being on the beach, it's above it – 20 floors to be exact. The Top of Waikiki on Kalakaua Ave., is a bit of an old-school place but it's beautiful and fills up with all ages of Happy Hour seekers. Adding to the ambiance, the bar revolves, revealing views of Waikiki from the mountains to the sea. The food is sensational and some of the appetizers can be quite filling.
Happy Hour Specifics: Daily, 5-7 p.m.
Specials: $2.50 draft (Kona), $4 mixed drinks, martinis and house wines. $7 premium martinis. $7 appetizer menu plus the daily "sunset special," full meals in the $20 range, daily, 5-6 p.m.
• LULU'S WAIKIKI
The PubClubettes hang loose with patrons at leid-back Lulu's.
Hawaiian comfortable and casual cannot be better defined than at this friendly open-air bar. With a mix of locals and travelers (many budget-minded), Lulu's is the place to, as they like to say here, hang loose. It can also heat up with activity like Honolulu's humidity. After Happy Hour, there are nightly drink specials starting at 10. Lulu's is located on the Diamond Head end of Waikiki Beach, across Kalakaua Ave., with a full view of the beach out of its large windows, which welcome in the tropical breeze. And the patrons.
Happy Hour Specifics: Daily, 3-6 p.m.
Specials: $3 wells, $5 Mai Tais, $2 Steinlagers and $3 wells, Tuesday-Sunday 10 p.m.-close Additional daily select beer specials after 10 p.m. Mondays are Service Industry Nights; 50% off tab with industry i.d. Every full moon there are $2 Blue Moon pints and $3 wells.
• PUSSYCAT LOUNGE (FRIDAYS AT APARTMENT 3)
A "casual upscale" environment mixes in with DJs and a later Happy Hour that lasts all night. Local promoters FM take over Apartment 3 on Friday nights and call it Pussycat Lounge. 1750 Kalakaua Avenue. 3rd floor Century Center.
Happy Hour Specifics: Tuesday and Fridays, 8 p.m.-2 a.m.
Specials: 6 p.m.-2 a.m. Tuesdays: $4 draft beer. $5 apartment3 speciality drinks, martinis, premium cocktails, pupu menu (including the popular pizza. Fridays: $3 drafts. (Stella, Bass, Guinness, Kona Longboard, Blue Moon, Rogue's Dead Man Ale, Boddington's & Newcastle.
• CHART HOUSE/HARBOR PUB
The most extensive Happy Hour menu is at the Chart House, the distinctive restaurant with locations throughout the USA. Its Honolulu spot is at the "Gilligan's Island" harbor on the ewa end of Waikiki Beach (past the rainbow-tiled hotel which is the Hilton Hawaiian Village). It features modestly-priced beers, $4 cocktails and a full range of appetizers (Caesar salad for $6.50 to $2 off all steaks), plus additional daily specials on food and beverages. And it happens twice.
The Chart House is right above one of Honolulu's long-standing dive bars, the Harbor Pub, which has its own Happy Hour featuring beers for a buck-fifty. While there's no food specials, the Harbor Pub is known for its outstanding pizza, best on the island many locals claim, which range in price from $12-20. Starting at the Harbor Pub and then going to the Chart House for more drinks and dinner is Waikiki's double header.
Happy Hour Specifics: Daily, open to 7 p.m., and again at 10 p.m. Harbor Pub: 4-7 p.m.
Specials: $3.50-5:25 beers, $4 wells, $4 margaritas and other drinks specials. Appetizer specials and nightly discounted dinners and drinks. At Harbor Pub, $1.50 domestic beers, $8 large pitchers of Budweiser and $3 mixed drinks.
– BEACH WALK –
At Lewers Street and Kalakaua begins a fairly new section of town called the Waikiki Beach Walk. Yes, it's a strange name since it's not actually on the beach, but it does have several restaurants and bars. And they welcome patrons with extremely inviting Happy Hours.
• YARD HOUSE
There's a certain comfort zone travelers get into, and the Yard House is it in Waikiki. A reliable bar with solid food, sports filling the many plasma TVs, and a selection of beers whose taps rap around the counter, it's as welcoming to many tourists as the ocean breeze. With a Happy Hour starting in the mid-afternoon, it's possible to start a "Happy Hour hop" here lasting from lunch to dark.
Happy Hour Specifics: 2-5:30 daily.
Specials: $3.50 domestic pints, $3.75 premium and imports, $4 wells, $5.75 Mai Tais, $1.50 off all wines. Half-priced appetizers (wings, chicken strips and lettuce wraps, but the pizzas are the most popular items, ranging in price from $5-7).
• GIOVANNI PASTRAMI
Directly across Lewers is this nice local restaurant and bar. Quite often it appears quiet, but suddenly someone from another restaurant or bar will come in, then they are joined by another couple of people from another restaurant and bar, and suddenly it's a party.
Happy Hour Specifics: 3-6 p.m.
Specials: $3 domestic drafts, $4 imports and wells, $5 Mai Tais and Blue Hawaiians, $7 Stoli martinis. Free Roundtable pizza.
• MOOSE McGILLYCUDDY'S
The Moose may not be loose here like it was in the past, but with these specials, it could get going again.
Happy Hour Specifics: 4-7 p.m.
Specials: $3 drafts and mixed drinks, $4 premium liquor and specialty drinks. Nightly dinner specials.
– ALA MOANA SHOPPING CENTER –
Bring on the beers during Happy Hour at the Mai Tai bar.
On the ewa side of Waikiki (away from Diamond Head) is Honolulu's popular mall, the Ala Moana Shopping Center. In addition to having many places to bag souvenirs, it is also a place to bag food and drink bargains at two very popular bars, Longhi’s and the Mai Tai Bar. If it's a Friday, head to the exotic Pearl lounge after Happy Hour for one of Honolulu's best social scenes.
The dress code at these places is Hawaiian casual, Shorts and sandals are fine, of course, but off-the-beach tops are not.
The food and ambiance is outstanding at Longhi’s.
An elegant restaurant with some of the best food in Honolulu, Longhi’s is a hot Happy Hour spot. It's always full – with the possible exception of First Fridays – with a stellar crowd, Honolulu's finest, some say. Longhi's has an ocean view (and thus, of the sunset) out its large, open arched windows. There's just an intoxicating element to this place.
Happy Hour Specifics: Daily, 4-7.
Specials: $3-5 drafts, $4 wells and martinis, $5-12 wines, $6 premium martinis. Appetizers range from $3.50-8 and while the grilled portobello mushrooms ($5) and homemade pizza bread ($3.50) are outstanding, it's darn near impossible not to have the Endive salad off the full menu ($13).
• MAI TAI BAR
Not to be confused with the bar at the pink hotel (Royal Hawaiian) that serves potent Mai Tais on the beach, the Mai Tai Bar is large and lively in an open setting in the mall. There's live music and the Hang Ten Happy Hour pretty much fills up all the tables and bar stools on a regular basis. This won the Star-Bulletin's Best Happy Hour award in 2008.
Happy Hour Specifics: Daily, 4-8 p.m.
Specials: $3 pint ($9 pitchers) of Hawaiian-brewed Longboard Lager, $4 martinis, wines and Leid Back and Passion Fruit Mojito specialty drinks. $5 pupus (items include popcorn shrimp, calamari, and chicken chinos).