Happy Hour: Kelly O’Neil’s

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It seemed like a good idea. It’s nearly St. Patrick’s Day. Geoff said we should go to the Irish pub in Waikiki. It’ll be fun. It seemed like a good idea. . .

Normally, I only like to tell you about spots that are super awesome, but this post didn’t exactly go as planned. It started to go downhill right away when we discovered that Kelly O’Neil’s doesn’t actually have a happy hour. I had read online that they had happy hour until 8:00, but I guess that was inaccurate. 

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Geoff got two Longboards, and I ordered an Angry Orchard, which they have on tap. That doesn’t appear to make it any cheaper, though. This is a place to get a beer or a whiskey. There’s no fruity cocktail menu. I don’t think the Irish do fruit.

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We came straight from work, so we decided to order dinner. I had heard there was some pretty good food. I got a plain cheeseburger and Geoff got the fish and chips. The fries were fat and crispy and definitely the best part of the meal. Everything else was fine but nothing special.

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Our least favorite bit was that they allow smoking in this pub. Very not cool.

So, what’s the bright side? Well, there’s a nice bit of charming pseudo-Irish kitsch. It’s easy to get to from anywhere in Waikiki. And most importantly, our bill was still under $20 per person. 

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I can’t say I’m dying to go back to Kelly O’Neil’s. It wasn’t awful, but it certainly wasn’t excellent. I promise, we’ll try harder next time.

Sunday Brunch: Duke's Waikiki

Sunday Brunch: Duke’s

Sunday Brunch: Duke's Waikiki

Going out for breakfast feels like pure luxury. You get to relax, possibly eat something that should really be dessert, and just enjoy the rest of your day. There’s no pressure, just indulgence. I absolutely love it. That’s why I’ve decided to share one of our favorite breakfast spots with you every month.

We knew right away that our first Sunday Brunch post would have to take you to Duke’s. This is my husband’s absolute favorite place to go for breakfast, and whenever we have out of town guests, we always take them here as soon as we can. They usually end up visiting at least once more before they head back home.

Sunday Brunch: Duke's Waikiki
A chilly January morning in Waikiki

Duke’s is located on the ground floor of the Outrigger Waikiki, and it’s actually just downstairs from Hula Grill. Named for the legendary surfer, Duke Kahanamoku, this restaurant has a gorgeous view of Waikiki beach, surf boards and vintage Hawaii photos on the walls, and a cute tiki bar that’s extremely popular at night.

Their breakfast though, is a buffet. For $16, you can hang out until 10:30 and just keep eating. This has proved to be a major bonus for some of our friends who can put away more food in one meal than I could eat in an entire day. It also comes with juice and coffee or tea. The buffet features standard breakfast fare, including eggs, bacon, sausage, toast, bagels, pancakes, and French toast. There’s also a beautiful fresh fruit and cereal bar. If you like, you can also get an omelette made just for you with whatever you like. I usually opt for the eggs benedict, though.

Sunday Brunch: Duke's Waikiki

They also feature a few items that are distinctly Hawaii-inspired. For instance, you can get banana pancakes or pineapple bread pudding. You can top your pancakes with coconut syrup. There’s also Portuguese sausage and rice, if that’s more your style. 

Sunday Brunch: Duke's Waikiki

Geoff likes to go in once and overflow his plate with all the savoury stuff, including any pork product he can get his hands on. I have a two plate approach, first savoury, and then sweet. How can a person not eat French toast when it’s just staring right at you?

Sunday Brunch: Duke's Waikiki

We love the relaxed atmosphere at Duke’s, especially when we’re preparing for a long day of showing our friends the beauty of our island. If you have a big appetite, it’s totally worth the money. I always leave feeling calm, relaxed, and probably just a little bit too full.

Happy Hour: Hula Grill

Happy Hour: Hula Grill

Happy Hour: Hula Grill

One of my favorite places to go for happy hour in Waikiki is definitely Hula Grill. The view alone makes it worth every penny. Normally, this place would be in the “special occasion only” price range for us, but they have so many great deals and delicious choices during happy hour, it’s totally doable for a late afternoon or early evening out. 

Happy Hour: Hula Grill

I love the happy hour menu at Hula Grill because there’s an excellent variety of really great pupus for a totally reasonable price. It’s not just one or two boring things. We shared the Peking Pork Belly Bao which was rich and lovely , and the Beer Battered Fresh Fish and Chips which comes with a sweet chili sauce as well as tartar sauce.There are still a couple of other things I’d love to try on the list, like the bbq pork sandwich.

They also have several tropical cocktails for $6 that would normally be more like $10. I tried the Hanauma Bay Breeze and the Pa’ina Punch. Both were sweet and delicious and also cute, which the girly side of me appreciated. 

Happy Hour: Hula Grill

My favorite thing about the whole concept of happy hour is that it can allow you the opportunity to try things that would be otherwise inaccessible. We had plenty of food between the two of us, and we each ordered two drinks. Our bill with tax and tip was just over $40. It’s not something we could afford every week, but for good cocktails in Waikiki, that’s extremely reasonable.

Happy Hour: Hula Grill

Hula Grill is located on the second floor of the Outrigger Waikiki. Be sure to check their website because the times of happy hour are different depending on the day of the week. Order yourself a fruity cocktail, and take in the ocean view. You’ll know you’re in paradise.

Hawaiian Punch at Moose McGillicuddy's Waikiki

Happy Hour: Moose McGillycuddy’s

Hawaiian Punch at Moose McGillicuddy's Waikiki

Moose McGillycuddy’s has been getting people drunk in Waikiki since my parents were young. In fact, it’s my dad’s favorite place to get a drink, and every year on my mom’s birthday, we have a Hawaiian Punch in her memory. My dad still talks about a legendary night he had in this bar.

The food is fine, but a bit over priced. It’s the drink specials that make Moose’s worth checking out. They have happy hour seven days a week from 4:00 to 7:00. Beers are $3 to $5, and cocktails are $3 or $4. My huge Hawaiian Punch in the photo has four different kinds of liquor, and it cost $4. It’s almost too good to be true.

They have an upstairs that I think has a more nightclub, young kids, cheap shots, puke on your shoes kind of atmosphere. I’ve never been up there. They have ridiculous late night drink specials, if that’s your thing.

Hawaiian Punch and a Kona Longboard at Moose McGillycuddy's Waikiki

The downstairs is geared toward an older crowd. They definitely played a lot of music that reminded me of my parents. But the cheap drinks go really far in making up for any atmospheric shortfalls. They have a long list of cocktails and shots. I want to try most of them. Don’t take me here when I’m thirsty.

University Burger at Moose McGillycuddy's Waikiki

We were hungry, so we took advantage of burger night. It’s a good pub burger, and on Wednesdays, most burgers are $8. If you know how to work the system, you can get out of here for pretty cheap.

When you find yourself in need of a cheap cocktail in Waikiki, definitely check out Moose’s. They’re always there for you.

Happy Hour: Mai Tai Bar

Mai Tai Bar

One of our favorite places to grab a quick drink or two and a couple of pupus is Mai Tai Bar at Ala Moana Center. They have some pretty good happy hour deals in the afternoon, including $5 pupus, but I love coming here any time of day. I think t’s best in the early afternoon when it’s nice and quiet and you can get a table with a nice comfy sofa. Mai Tai Bar is a great way to relax.

Obviously, the best thing about Mai Tai Bar is the mai tais. I order mango, and Geoff always gets lychee. They’re sweet and refreshing and make me feel generally content. I could kick back and sip at one of these all day. They have a great variety of mai tais and other drinks. Maybe someday I’ll try them all.

Mai Tai Bar

In the food department, they have a tasty barbecue chicken flat bread pizza, and the parmesan herb fries are pretty spectacular. Everything is perfect for sharing. They don’t serve entrees, but you can get plenty of small plates to fill you up.

It’s not the cheapest bar in town, but it’s not completely unreasonable. If you find yourself at the mall, it’s the perfect way to chill out. My favorite thing about this place is just how comfortable it is. It’s totally relaxing. They also have live music at night, if you dig on that.

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I’m thinking I might need to get myself back to Mai Tai Bar very soon.

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