Aloha Friday. It was a hard work week. You’re beat. Pooped. Worn out. Ready to start off a relaxing weekend. Where do you like to go for really ono pupus, music and wala’au time with family and friends?
Home? Bar? Restaurant? Beach?
Last week was indeed a tough one for us, so we unwinded with friends last Friday at the Mai Tai Bar in Ala Moana Shopping Center.
“Hang Ten” happy hour happens between 4-7pm and 8-11pm daily, which includes a variety of pupu and drink specials and live music.
My favorite pupu here is the Popcorn Shrimp (shown above) which, during happy hour is only $5.00… what a deal! The regular menu price is $8.00, which is still reasonable. It includes a mound of I’d say U-20 shrimp tails, deep-fried in a nicely crisp “popcorn” batter on a bed of sliced cabbbage with the most killer remoulade (that pink one on top) I’ve ever tasted. OMG..so awesome! The other sweet & sour sauce is also tasty, but that remoulade though. Da’ bomb.
My second favorite is the Coconut Shrimp…
A bit larger shrimp tails in a coconut crusted batter, served over pickled julienne carrots and daikon with an Cajun marmalade dipping sauce. Supah, supah ono and also just $5.00 during those times. Another super deal.
There’s several other pupu items for $5.00 as well as a selection of Mai Tais (of course), Martinis, Wine and mixed drinks for $4.00 as well as pitchers of Bud Light (I think) and Kona Longboard for $7.00. These low prices are truly amazing considering Maitai’s ritzy Ala Moana location, with neighbors such as Macy’s and Nieman Marcus just a walk away. It’s no wonder this place really packs a crowd. Locals always know where’s the deals! There’s actually quite a few tourist shoppers who drop in out of curiosity (the crowd).
Another draw here is the live music, performed daily from 4-7pm and 9-12pm.
Kimo Opiana jammin’ some R&B and local hits
Kimo usually plays Wednesdays and Fridays from 4-7pm. Cory Oliveros plays the same time on Thursdays. Various (usually Jawaiian) bands play the 9-12pm shift. Kimo and Cory are both absolutely awesome musicians. The type who can play just about any song you request, although they usually have their own signature play list.
Kimo has a smooth, powerful voice and a sometimes playful approach to his music, like substituting lyrics such as “Hotel California” with “Hilton Hawaiian Village”. Cory is more applied and serious, more on the Jazz side, showcasing his technically advanced advanced guitar work; something I really get into.
Maitai Bar “front side”, facing Bubba Gump and CPK. Those green and red packages are Maui Style Potato Chips, which are complimentary.. just ask.
Ma Tai Bar is located on the third level on the “Diamond Head” end of Ala Moana Shopping Center. They’re just steps away from Bubba Gump Restaurant (who owns Maitai) and California Pizza Kitchen. In fact, all the food served here comes out of Bubba Gump’s kitchen.
It’s an open-air establishment, with nice cool tradewinds that breeze right on through. There’s one main bar (shown above) with 2 long side bars on each end that are served from the main bar and chairs all along. The surrounding area has tables and chairs and rattan sofa seating around the perimeter, giving you that “at home” feeling. It’s rather spacious (do the math here on $/sq. ft. lease rent and your head will spin), with most nights filling up to standing room only. This place gets REALLY CROWDED. In fact, if you get there after 6pm, unless you’re really hot-lookin’, chances are slim you’ll find seating.
I doubt the new Pearl nightclub in the nearby Ho’okipa Terrace will make a dent in their crowd. It’ll just give them a place nearby to go when Maitai closes. lol What’s best about Mai Tai’s besides the happy hour specials is the relaxed “island syle” atmosphere and fun, friendly and (mostly) attractive crowd. When you’ve had your Mai Tai fill, you can then do some shopping just a step outside. Nice.
Mai Tai Bar – Ala Moana Shopping Center
Tasty Island Rating:
Quik Note on the QUAKE…
We were in our condo in Waikiki when it hit. My girlfriend was up, getting ready for work and I was asleep. She immediately ran in the bedroom and woke me up, as she was pretty frightened. I awoke to the bed shifting side to side and a house plant doing the Hula. The first quake was certainly stronger, with a significant side-to-side movement of our building. Not jolting enough to topple or break anything though. Sort of like mild turbulence on an aircraft. Still, it was pretty scary. Every second felt like a minute. The second tremor was similar in sensation but weaker and shorter.
As soon as it ended, my next thought was TSUNAMI! Thank, thank, thank God (and madam Pele) we didn’t have one. Just 4″. Oooh… get the boogie board!
My girlfriend beat the soon-to-be-HOURS blackout and made it down the elevator in time to go to work. Yes, being a hotel employee, she had to work. Actually she faired better than I did by keeping busy. I was absolutely BORED out of my brains! No electricity meant NO TV and NO Internet.. ackkkk! To top it off, it was a muggy, rainy day. Just a dreadful, wasted Sunday.
My heart and prayers go out to those on the Big Island who suffered lost homes and property damage. Let’s hope madam Pele remains kind to us. Despite property damage, nobody was killed or seriously injured. She truly was kind.
With rattled nerves this week, we might have to consider another pauhana Friday at the Mai Tai.