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Atmosphere

Beachside

Tourist behavior kills me. There’s something perpetually entertaining about the fanny packs, speedos, exhaustion and stress of these people, trying to keep up with the bubble of Waikiki culture that I could watch all day long. It seems like everybody but them is in on the joke. That’s why one of my favorite places to go is the Mai Tai Bar at the Royal Hawaiian Hotel, where I don’t mind overpaying for rum when I can watch this shipwreck wash in under those pink umbrellas all day.–James Cave

2259 Kalakaua Ave., 10am–12am daily, 923-7311, [royal-hawaiian.com]

Punk

Tucked away in Fort Street Mall with foot traffic from both HPU and Downtown professionals is Mercury Bar. Very laid back when there are no events, and extremely packed when there are, Merc is a great spot for discovering live music or enjoying a cheap, quiet beer. No food, no happy hour, but $3-7 drinks and never a dress code.–Christa Wittmier

1154 Fort Street Mall, Mon.–Fri., 3pm, Sat., 7:30pm, Sun., 10pm, 537-3080

Hip & Trendy

Multipurpose, multifunctional, multi-room, and now serving ridiculously delicious Chicago-style deep dish pizza, Soho Mixed Media Bar is the catch-all for Chinatown. Beers and cocktails in the approachable $3-5 range and educated bartenders that know how to pour more than a Red Bull vodka give the multimedia space’s bar its popular je ne sais quoi. Regulars love its DIY feel mixed with state of the art hi tech TVs, lasers and projection.–CW

80 S. Pauahi St., Mon., 11am–9pm, Tue.–Fri., 11am–2am, Sat., 9pm–2am, 545-4714, [sohomixedmediabar.com]

The AMUSE Wine Bar at the Honolulu Design Center is something to experience at least once. The whole Design Center is a little trippy: a restaurant called Stage, a stage called Cupola and a wine bar called Amuse. Once you work that out, try and decide which of the 60-or-so wines to choose from, and stick your pre-paid hotel room door-like key card into a slot at the “wine kiosk”, hoping that you have enough points for the 2oz taste of Château Lyonnat, Lussac-St. Émilion that the robot squirts into your glass. Sniff, swig, swallow, repeat. It’s a fun way to try a bunch of the wines you see on the top shelf at Tamura’s, without dealing with all that commitment.–JC

1250 Kapi’olani Blvd., Mon.–Sat., 5–10pm, 237-5428, [amusewinebar.com]

Art Bars

The art in The Manifest is as interesting as their regulars. Well, we can call it a tie. Frequented in daylight by creative media, fashion designers, tattoo artists and photographers hooked on dirty chai, the Chinatown newcomer (in Hotel Street years) is like the cooler, younger cousin to thirtyninehotel and Bar35, across the street. $7-8 chalkboard cocktail specials by crafty award winning Justin Park set the bar for use of bitters and fresh fruits.–CW

32 N. Hotel St. Mon., 8am–10pm, Tue.–Fri., 8am–2am, Sat. 10am–2am, [manifesthawaii.com]
1144 Bethel St., Mon. & Tue., 4pm–12am, Wed.–Sat., 4pm–2am, 528-1144, [bambutwo.com]

Once just a late night bite window that’s evolved quickly into the most sought-out lunch, dinner and full-service whiskey and sake bar, Lucky Belly is now bringing art into the mix. To say the current pieces on display by Yumiko Glover are eye catching would be an understatement. Unlike galleries, Lucky Belly pays 100 percent of sales back to the artists. Cocktails are $9-10 and they serve up the best pork belly bao in the game.–CW

50 N. Hotel St., Mon.–Sat., 11am–2pm for lunch, and 5pm–12am for dinner, Thu.,–Sat., 1pm–2:30am window, 531-1888, [facebook.com]

The current exhibition, “A Libelous Rogue Wit,” by o.g. thirtyninehotel member Richard Earl Leong Yu Ralya displays new works on canvas and paper in pure abstract expressionism that has owner and SF Art Institute classmate Gelareh Khoie confidant that every piece will sell. They recently announced they will receive an ‘Ilima Award for their food, but most of us Chinatowners knew their patio pupu are some of the best in the state. This is the A-list for drinks, food, art and ambiance.–CW

39 Hotel St., Tue.–Sat., 5pm–2am, 599-2552, [thirtyninehotel.com]