Food Box

Image: Malia Leinau

Here’s how to have a truly happy hour:

Strong rum drinks, hand-crafted with muddled mint and plenty of lime, are half-priced at Soul de Cuba’s festive happy hour ($4-$6). Cuban music gets your shoulders rolling and hips swaying. The bartender might do a couple salsa steps from bar to kitchen. Sangria goes down sabroso–easy. Selected pupu, such as salt cod fritters and fried calamari, are half price ($4-$6). Salud!

Soul de Cuba, 1121 Bethel St. Happy Hour: 4-6pm, Mon.–Thu., [], 545-2822

Voila! Brasserie Du Vin invites you to Southern France for an evening. Sit at the bar or at a table in the courtyard. Selected wines and cocktails (ginger lemon martini, yum!) are discounted. The happy hour menu includes a savory listing: $3 soup de jour, $2 pommes frites (the waiter just calls ‘em french fries, so you can too), $7 fresh caprese salad, $9.50 grilled island fish, among others.

Brasserie Du Vin, 1115 Bethel St., Happy Hour: 4-6pm, [Mon.–], 545-1115

Indigo, sweethearts, is the OG of the downtown happy hour. It’s a lovely place to sit and toss back big $4 martinis in style. Extra-dirty, sake-tini, cool and luscious lychee. They’ve got fantastic, veggie-friendly, complimentary pupu and a $6 bar menu with poke, kalua pig sliders, french fries and goat cheese wontons.

Indigo Restaurant, 1121 Nu’uanu Ave. Happy Hour: Tue.–Sat, 4-8pm , [], 521-2900

Come as you are! Sit waterside at Kona Brewing Company, watch the boats bob and the ducks duck. House wines and beers (Koko Brown Ale, Black Sand Porter, Waialua Wheat, Longboard Lager, and so forth) are $3.50 during the long afternoon happy hour. Three pupu are half-priced: garlic twists, pepperoni rolls and roasted garlic. Ask yourself, what would Jimmy Buffett do?

Kona Brewing Company, 7192 Kalanianole Hwy. Happy Hour: Mon-Fri, 3-6pm [], 396-5662

Above the (fun-loving) din at Duke’s, Hula Grill Waikiki looks placidly out to the setting sun. There’s an outrigger canoe flying above the bar, high tables with a view of the surf at Pop’s, friendly folks and a sweet happy hour menu: $3.75 beer, $4.75 wines by the glass, discounts on boat drinks, hefty pupu such as Panko-Crusted Calamari ($5.25), Island Fish and Chips ($7.75), Ciabatta Chicken Sandwich and Fries ($6.75).

Hula Grill Waikiki, 2335 Kalakaua Ave. Happy Hour: Mon-Sun, 4–6pm, [], 923-4852

• Wine Down Wednesday, Town restaurant. $25, four wine-and-food pairings; $24, wine, bread and olives only; on the patio weekly, weather permitting. ([]).

• Happy Hours with good food. Craft Bar at 12th Ave. Grill ([], SALT Kitchen & Tasting Bar ([]), Vino ([]).

• Sunday at Nobu Waikiki. Half off speciality drinks (and pupu), 7PM to closing, lounge. 7-$10. ([]).

• Morton’s The Steak House. Meal-size pupu in bar, $6-$7; drinks $5.50-$8. ([])

• Bar 35 Mondays. Skyy Vodka drinks, $3.50; other drinks speicals, $5 and less; Eurofries and Chicken Bites pupu. ([])

• Shirokiya Yataimura beer garden. Happy hour, $4 Budweiser pitchers and $1 pints. Low- to medium-price food court sushi and Japanese nibbles. ([])

• Free tastings: Get on the mailing/email lists for local wine and liquor purveyors for tastings and news of sales or discounts..

BYOB savvy

Wine is the most marked-up item on any restaurant menu. You can save money by bringing your own unless the restaurant discourages this practice by charging a high corkage fee — a charge for opening the bottle.

Always check by phone before assuming your 5-buck-Chuck will be welcome. Ask not only about a corkage fee but if there is a glass fee. We are not kidding: Some restaurants charge not only charge for allowing the bottle through the door, but also slap a fee on the number of wine glasses used. This is not only a money issue; it’s a sign that the restaurant doesn’t encourage BYOB, either because they prefer you order their wines, or because they’re not wine-savvy or alcohol-friendly.

The Wine Stop, the little house-cum-wine boutique on King Street, has posted a wide-ranging list of eateries that charge little or no corkage free for those who wish to bring their own. Access it at []

Only food guide sites generally offer a BYOB search feature: yelp, [], urbanspoon. As well, names of individual restaurants pop up when you Google“BYOB honolulu.” A hard copy list is available at Fujioka’s Wine Times.