The best happy hours in Honolulu
Here's our round up of the best bars to end the day the Hawaiian way, with fruity cocktails and snacks at happy hour prices.
- April 2019
The locals call it pau hana – literally meaning “finished work” – but whatever you call it, happy hour in Hawaii will satisfy your cravings for a tropical libation (Gummy Bear Martini, anyone?) as well as yummy light bites. Here are the hotspots to enjoy sundowners around Honolulu…
Happy hour is a little different at this top-shelf, open-air watering hole opens in new window on the third level of International Market Place. Dubbed “Oyster Hour” for the Two Buck Shuck special (AUD $2.80 gets you oysters on the half shell), nibbles as well as drinks are discounted from 4-6pm daily. Think bubbles and wine for AUD $8, pints for AUD $7 and delicious cocktails for AUD $10. Pair your drink of choice with a spread of food, including buffalo octopus served with black-eyed peas and ranch dressing or margherita flatbread. Now sit back, relax and enjoy the fresh salt air that blows in from the Pacific one block over.
Top of Waikiki
Secreted away, high above bustling Kalakaua Avenue, is a happy hour with awe-inspiring panoramic views. Top of Waikiki opens in new window is the only rotating dining room on the island and with drinks deals from 5-9.30pm daily, it’s the best spot to enjoy the sunset while sipping through a menu of AUD $12.50 cocktails. Start with the Gummy Bear Martini – a mix of vodka, lychee and peach liqueurs, that’s guaranteed to get you buzzing. Then, dig into fried calamari for AUD $11 and deep-fried goat’s cheese rangoons for AUD $14, just two options on the extensive menu. Tip: Ask the wait staff to snap your photo as the dining room rotates past the iconic Waikiki Beach and the Royal Hawaiian hotel.
Mai Tai Bar
End a day of retail therapy at the world’s largest open-air shopping centre, Ala Moana, with a AUD $7 Lava Flow cocktail from Mai Tai Bar opens in new window on the centre’s fourth level. Specials are served from 4-7pm daily and include a handful of AUD $8 specialty drinks, AUD $4 beer pints and AUD $7 house wines, as well as cheap eats such as AUD $8 popcorn shrimp and AUD $11 fish tacos. It’s worth staying a while for the live music and to catch the late-night happy hour (8-11pm), when specialty mango and lychee Mai Tais are only AUD $7 and pitchers of local favourite Kona Longboard Lager are just AUD $12.50.
Cruise past the colourful murals that have transformed the walls and alleyways of art-focused neighbourhood Kakaako before grabbing a seat outside farm-to-table restaurant Moku Kitchen opens in new window. Settle in from 3-5.30pm to enjoy half-price small plates, including AUD $6 garlic truffle oil fries served with house-made aioli and ketchup or choose from one of four hand-tossed pizzas for AUD $10 – our pick is the Hamakua wild mushroom pizza. For a very reasonable AUD $9, sip away on their famous Monkeypod Mai Tai, made with local rum and topped with a tart honey and yellow passionfruit foam.
At the intersection of traditional sushi and inventive fusion dishes sits Doraku opens in new window, a chic restaurant with two locations (Waikiki or Kakaako). It’s easy to snag a full dinner, complete with drinks, for under AUD $25 here – just turn up from 4-6pm. Order a deluxe spicy tuna roll for AUD $8 to start, followed by AUD $8 chicken lettuce wraps and AUD $7 sake. Feeling the urge to splurge? Go for the regular-priced east meets west roll, filled with poached shrimp and topped with seared rib eye and a secret sauce that leaves your tastebuds tingling.
Located in the industrial setting of Salt in Kakaako, Bevy opens in new window is a cocktail bar with a 1920s vintage prohibition vibe. Stop by Monday through Saturday from 4-7pm for AUD $8 classic cocktails or the cocktail of the day – a curated tipple made using locally sourced ingredients – and AUD $2.80 off small plates, including potato puffs and brussels sprouts. Arriving with friends? Snag the AUD $41 punch bowl special, a fruity mix served with a ladle for four to six people.
This beachside lounge opens in new window is the perfect spot for unobstructed views of Diamond Head crater, plus it has a great selection of daily deals to keep you well-fed while you take it all in. From 3-5.30pm, munch on AUD $14 kalua pork nachos – an island favorite, where the pork has been cooked all day in an underground oven – and sip on a fruity Scorched Strawberry cocktail infused with chilli water for AUD $9. Ocean breezes are sure to cool you down on hot days but hopping into the ocean, a stone’s throw away, will also do the trick.