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Owning a bar or nightclub sounds like a dream job but has its challenges

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Executive Guide to Honolulu Pau Hana

There’s no shortage of bars, restaurants and nightspots perfect for hip Honolulu professionals, many of them offering pau hana deals.

“Some people may tell you that a business is successful because of excellent food, while others might refer to a great atmosphere or fantastic service. But I believe it all comes down to value,” says Carey Bennett, co-founder of the Happy Hour Pal app and website that provides a comprehensive list of happy hours all over Hawaii. “It doesn’t matter if you are the neighborhood bar or a five-star restaurant. What matters is people find value in their experience at a location.” Here are some of the best pau hana values and experiences in Honolulu:

thirtyninehotel
39 N. Hotel St.
599-2552
www.thirtyninehotel.com

It’s hard to believe this Chinatown landmark opened 10 years ago with no kitchen, no bar and no liquor license. The plastic lawn furniture on the rootfop lanai has been replaced with neat metal seats, wooden tables and canvas umbrellas. It recently unveiled a new happy-hour menu with Bloody Mary beef short ribs and triple-cooked fries with a loaded sour cream dip, along with thirtyninehotel’s well-known classic and signature cocktails. “They have never once compromised their tastes,” says nightlife blogger Christa Wittmier, “and that’s why I love them forever.” This happy hour runs late, until 8 p.m., Wednesday through Friday.

Brasserie Du Vin
1115 Bethel St.
545-1115
www.brasserieduvin.com

This bar-restaurant in Chinatown boasts one of the best happy hours downtown, with a menu boasting baked Brie stuffed with nuts and cranberries, handmade blue crab cakes and the classic French dish moules frites. Premium well drinks are just $4 and all Du Vin’s signature cocktails are $3 off during happy hour, which runs from 4 to 6 p.m. daily except Sunday.

Pint + Jigger
1936 S. King St.
744-9593
www.pintandjigger.com

This popular spot offers quality food and drinks, including 21 beers on tap, in a relaxing space where you never feel pressured to pay the bill and leave. It has two happy hours – one from 4:30 to 6 p.m. Saturday though Thursday, the other from 10 p.m. to 2 a.m. Tuesday and Thursday – with drink specials and discounts on its popular stout burger with beer cheese, garlic parmesan popcorn and spicy seafood ceviche served on fresh tortillas. “The atmosphere is very hipster,” Bennett says. “And I love their fries.”

M Nightlife Honolulu
500 Ala Moana, 529-0010
www.mnlhnl.com

This nightclub revamped its happy hour in May, offering a menu with various sushi rolls, deep-fried soft-shell crab, Asian five-spice fried calamari, barbecued pork sliders and shiso salt fries. It runs from 4:30 to 8 p.m. Tuesday through Friday with live music, outdoor seating and validated parking.

Pearl Ultralounge
Ala Moana Center
1450 Ala Moana
944-8000
www.pearlhawaii.com

Located at Ala Moana Center – read: lots of parking – Pearl Ultralounge has been a popular spot for networking events and business socials for years. Its happy hour starts at 4:30 p.m. with deals on beer, well drinks, cocktails and appetizers.

Shokudo Japanese Restaurant & Bar
1585 Kapiolani Blvd.
941-3701
www.shokudojapanese.com

With two happy hours – 4 to 6 p.m. daily and 10:30 p.m. to midnight Monday through Wednesday and Sunday – Shokudo offers great deals on some of its signature menu items, including kim chee fried rice, tako karaage, garlic clams and its popular honey toast topped with ice cream. It’s perfect for the professional who has to stay at the office late, but wants a drink and nosh after work.

Nico’s Pier 38
1133 N. Nimitz Highway
540-1377
www.nicospier38.com

If you don’t want to hang out downtown, head to Nico’s Pier 38 off Nimitz Highway. Its happy hour, which runs from 4 to 6 p.m. on weekdays, boasts fried calamari, orange fried chicken, ahi ribs and a poke sampler. Draft beers and well drinks are discounted, too. There’s live entertainment on most nights. “You can sit there and watch the sunset,” Bennett says. “You can’t beat that.”

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