There are few things that bind people more than the ritual of after-work drinks. Whether you’re in California or Delaware or Germany, the phrase “it’s 5 o’clock somewhere” resonates with just about everyone. In Hawaiʻi, the expression “pau hana” is often interchanged with “it’s happy hour” and translates to “work is finished.” It refers to a conscious decision to leave any worries behind and enjoy free time. The essence of “pau hana” encourages visitors to put down their phones and relax in the company of others over drinks and pupus (appetizers). Here are some of the top spots in Waikiki to get your pau hana on.
But wait, there’s more. We’re here to help demystify some of the unusual words you might see on menus like furikake, laulau and lilikoi — and explain which meat is being served and why. And possibly most importantly of all, provide the fun facts on the origins of local dishes.
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Some of the best eats for great prices can be found at Doraku. Fill up on mouth-watering sushi, chicken wings, ribs and vegetable dishes. But we prefer the sushi, and it’s best chased down with a few $6 lychee martinis! Open daily 11am to 10:30pm. Monday through Friday happy hour from 4pm to 5pm.
Mahina and Suns
Mahina and Suns is in the heart of Waikiki. With really good food and nightly live music, it makes for the perfect post work day stop for a drink. Be sure to get a selfie in front of the ‘Wish You Were Here’ pool. Open daily 8am to 10pm. Lanai drink happy hour from 8am to 5:30pm and Lanai food happy hour from 12pm to 5:30pm.
Maui Brewing Co.
Location, location, location … and really good beer. Done. Maui Brewing Co is open Monday through Thursday 11:30pm to 10pm, Friday and Saturday 11:30am to 11pm, and Sunday 11:30am to 10pm. Happy hour Monday through Friday 3:30pm to 4:30pm.
Probably the best sunset view in Waikiki, SKY is an open-air restaurant atop a 19-story building lives up to its name — you’ll see lots of sky. Try the spicy ahi sashimi pizza or mushroom flatbread, or share a few of executive chef Lance Kosaka’s tasty small plates. Open Sunday through Thursday for brunch 10 am to 2pm and dinner 4pm to 10pm. Friday and Saturday for brunch 10am to 2pm, dinner 4pm to 8:30pm, and the nightclub 9pm to 12am.
You won’t find a better spot to get views of Diamond Head. This newly renovated hotel has a gorgeous open-air restaurant that is, yes, a big open deck. It makes for a great place to watch the sunset! Deck is open Sunday through Thursday 6:30am to 10pm. Friday and Saturday 6:30 am to 11pm.
The Hideout at the Laylow
Hideout is a retro chic, open-air restaurant is located in the newly renovated Laylow Hotel. Happy hour offers $5 beers, $7 liquors, $8 glasses of wine, and a $12 mai tai. Some delicious bites are available for $10 to $15. Enjoy the fire pits, live music and good vibes. Happy hour is daily 4:30pm to 6:30pm.
This taphouse has a massive selection of beers, and the daily happy hours offers half-off selected appetizers and pizzas, as well as $2 off beer, wine, spirits and cocktails. Yardhouse has a cozy pub vibe with a food menu that tries to compete with their large beverage selection. Open Sunday through Thursday 11am to 1am. Friday and Saturday from 11am to 1:20am. Monday through Friday happy hour from 2pm to 5:30pm.