Cover Story


Cover image for Oct 5, 2011

In this year’s bar guide, we’re celebrating some perennial faves, bars that are new, some that have changed and others too often overlooked. Having wet their beaks in a selection of Oahu neighborhoods, our bar-hopping writers provide a modern tour of the Island’s ever-changing, ever-fading revelry.

From Behind the Bar

Journalists and booze go together like pen and paper, finger and smart phone, plate lunches and styrofoam, I’ve observed in my dual occupations as alt weekly writer and bartender. Maybe it’s the growing cynicism about human nature that comes with interacting with endless streams of people. The self-perceived supreme wit and snark. The snappy comebacks swallowed to keep the peace.

There was a time when half the Weekly editorial staff, it seemed, held night jobs behind the bar. Dean Carrico once wrote a piece “Hey drinker, follow these rules,” [Oct. 3, 2007], filled with timeless advice:

Wait your turn. Know and specify what you want to order. Have your money out. Put in your party’s order together. Respect last call.

As for my own view: In the end, jaded perspectives aside, it really does come down to the people. Bartenders love to hear your stories, share them and sometimes analyze them as to what they mean not only to you, but also to those around you. We are trying to capture the zeitgeist, one way or another. And you, readers and patrons, are it.

So keep coming. Keep sharing. Keep bitching. Keep celebrating. Keep reading. Keep writing to us. And keep letting us know that we live in an exciting, mercurial world that’s still provides comfort in routine — like going to your favorite bar or picking up your local Weekly.

Now off to the bar — it’s happy hour somewhere in the world.

How Super CW Sees It

It’s there, are you listening?

“People didn’t want to hear anything they’ve heard before where I came from, but out here it seems to be the opposite for the most part. It was a bit of a culture shock coming to a city where everyone wants the same thing.”

Give it some time; those people are out here too, I was thinking.

“People in the nightlife here have no innovation. They are totally fine with being complacent. Nobody wants to take any risks to try something new. It’s so stagnant.”

You don’t know unless you try to do it yourself, I was thinking.

“I don’t even go out anymore. There’s nothing to do.”

Your loss, I was thinking.

“The scene is better than ever. We have Chinatown thriving and totally kicking ass, we have Waikiki that’s back in action again after that tourist slump a few years ago, and we have the new generation of 18-24 year olds listening to the craziest music ever. It’s a fast progression that I’m stoked to see.”

No, that wasn’t from me, but finally someone was talking some sense.

I had been asking everyone their thoughts on our scene over the past few nights out, when I knew our bar issue was coming up and the opinions were stretching so far that I was starting to doubt my own opinions that it’s doing well. Then I realized something; it really depends on the person’s age. The older they are, the more negative they are. The younger they are, the brighter the future looks.

Oh, duh. That’s just the way life is, isn’t it? Not like I haven’t been checked a zillion times for being overly optimistic about everything, but damn it, things are good here. At least a few times a month I’m in a room surrounded by “Wow!” faces. I think it has a lot to do with which way you’re looking, and how adaptable you can be to change. Are you only going where your friends are going every night or are you trying something else? Come on, let’s move. Thank God the puppet master of our lives (Facebook) is finally forcing us to evolve with its streamlined feed changes. At least something is pushing us forward, whether we like it or not. Owners, try booking (and paying) new musicians. Partyers, start paying for things. Everyone, try listening to or doing something new. Together we got this.