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By Jason Genegabus

Friday, December 6, 2002


It’s pitcher perfect

ANNA BANNANA'S
Hours: 11:30 to 2 a.m. daily
Location: 2440 S. Beretania St.
(across from Moiliili Park)
Phone: 946-5190

fly


OF ALL the bars on Oahu, Anna Bannana's has got to be one of the granddaddies of the bunch. Thirty-three years after first opening in Moiliili, the watering hole still oozes personality and keeps people happy with affordable beer and a good selection of pupus to grind on.

It's been years since I've walked into Anna's, yet nothing has really changed. The practice bomb with "get bombed" written on it is still there, as is the old Japanese Chamber of Commerce sign and the collection of license plates from around the country (including the old Hawaii one with Kamehameha's portrait and brown lettering). Once you get settled in with a beer, take a few minutes and browse the walls. Don't worry -- no one will look at you funny!

art
KEN IGE / KIGE@STARBULLETIN.COM
Anna's regulars Alicia Penner, left, Anisse Gross, center, and Ragnar Carlson relax at the end of the day.




It was relatively busy when the Barfly and a few friends landed at Anna's earlier this week. Most of the bar stools were taken, and a few people sat at the half-dozen tables or so that occupy the place. I had never eaten more than French fries and pretzels here before, so after ordering a pitcher we asked to see a menu.

Selections ranged from $2.50 for chips and salsa or onion rings, to $5.75 for fish and chips and $6 for an order of the "Super Nachos." Hot dogs and potato skins are on the menu too.

Besides the beer and pupus downstairs, a single television and Megatouch game machine serve as distractions along with the jukebox near Anna's front door. Music choices range from the Beatles and Jimi Hendrix to Alicia Keys and Keahiwai.

While most people still look at Anna's as a rogue biker bar, the atmosphere inside isn't anything like that. I don't know any bikers that would show up wearing Tommy Hillfiger threads, do you? I felt right at home in my shorts and slippers, and there were a few people from downtown's aloha shirt army there as well. No matter what you wear, Anna Bannana's is a good place to relax and absorb the nostalgia while making new friends. As a sign hanging near the front entrance says, "Slightly Better Times Ahead."


How much for a Bud Light?

Bud Light is on tap for $6 a pitcher; pints and small pitchers are also available for $2 and $4, respectively. Be sure to check out the other beers too -- Red Hook, Mirror Pond, Newcastle Brown Ale, Anchor Steam and more flow from the taps at Anna's Bannana's.

Get things to do?

Be sure to try the old-school steel-tipped darts near the back wall; there is also a Megatouch game machine and a single television set in one corner. And bring some dollar bills with you too; there aren't any strippers, but the jukebox at Anna's has a diverse mix of music that's worth spending money on.

What about the grinds?

While other establishments in the area have better food, Anna's pupu menu holds its own with popular items like potato skins with cheese and bacon ($5.50) or the "Super Nachos" ($6) with beef, beans, cheese, sour cream and guacamole. The "Rick Nelson" ($5), a roast beef sandwich with dijon mustard, cream cheese and BBQ sauce, is also worth a try.

And the help?

Just like the people hanging out at the bar, Anna's staff members are pretty laid back and seem to know most people who stop by. We didn't have any problems ordering food or drinks, and our glasses were chilled when they arrived at our table -- a nice touch.





Barfly appears every Friday in Star-Bulletin Weekend.
E-mail Jason Genegabus at jason@starbulletin.com with suggestions of neighborhood bars to visit.





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