Some folks might think it’s blasphemy, but making the most out of happy hour doesn’t always mean soaking yourself in alcohol.
Sure, cheap drinks make the worst days on the job a little bit easier to deal with. At the same time, customer service, ambiance and food offerings also play a role in deciding where to go.
Visit Sam Choy’s Breakfast, Lunch and Crab on Nimitz Highway for pau hana and you’ll find that food plays a starring role, with pupu specials available from 5 to 6:30 p.m. at the Big Aloha Brewery—also known as the small bar hidden in a back corner with a few tables nearby for extra seating options.
SAM CHOY’S BIG ALOHA BREWERY580 North Nimitz Highway 545-7979
» 5 to 6:30 p.m. daily
Nearly 20 items are on the bar’s happy hour menu, with the majority priced at $2.95 and $3.95. They’re not discounted versions of regular entrees (portion sizes are smaller than plates on Sam Choy’s legendary dinner menu), yet most items are substantial enough to feed at least two people. Local dishes, like a Mini Loco Moco ($3.95), Luau Crab Dip ($5.95) and Ahi Shoyu Poke ($8.95), will keep kamaaina happy, but this place is also great to bring visitors: Garlic Fries ($2.95), Teri Chicken ($3.95) and Babyback Ribs ($5.95) will satisfy those looking for more mainland-style items.
Even though the focus is on food at Sam Choy’s, that doesn’t mean the brews aren’t worth trying. If you consider yourself a supporter of Hawaii-made products—and/or a fan of beer in general—it’s worth ordering a pint or two to go with the pupu here.
Like dark beer? The Kiawe Honey Porter is a tasty choice, while a seasonal dark ale is also available now. I also like the Ehu Ale, and light beer drinkers should enjoy Choy’s Kakaako Cream Ale. If you can’t make up your mind, order a sampler tray ($8.50) to get a 5-oz. taste of five different microbrews.
Pau Hana Patrol is a weekly look at Honolulu bar and restaurant happy hours.