By Jason Genegabus

Friday, January 3, 2003

The 5 best bars of 2002

The Barfly looks back at his favorite spots

Is it 2003 already? For the past few weeks, the Barfly has been flitting from Christmas parties, to holiday gatherings and a liquor-soaked New Year's Eve. Now that I've got a minute to reflect on the places I've visited since this column started in August, the Barfly is proud to present the top five beer-drinking locations of the past year.

We begin our list with an annual event that brings tastes from around the world ...

5. The Great Diamond Head Beerfest

Yeah, the Beerfest isn't an actual bar, but anyone who appreciates a cold barley soda should pony up the money for admission and check out this event when it returns next year. Over 100 different varieties of beer were available to sample at the Waikiki Shell in October, along with a few malternative and non-alcoholic selections, as well. Be sure to stick around until the end of the night, too -- it was really entertaining to watch people stumbling over tree roots on the grounds of the Shell after having one too many free samples!

4. Maile's Place

Location: 614 Cooke St.
Phone: 596-7500 What makes Maile's Place so attractive is its proximity to other nightspots in the surrounding area. Located next to Karen's Kitchen, it's close enough for the downtown crowd and unassuming enough to drive past without really noticing that the bar is there. $2 domestic beers and friendly service are enough to rank Maile's Place at No. 4 on the Barfly's list.

3. Pub Kagami

Location: 3435 Waialae Ave.
Phone: 738-5524 One of my favorite places to grab a beer is at what I call a "garage-style" bar. A nice, cozy space with comfortable seats and cheap drinks is enough to keep me happy, as if I had gone to visit a friend's house and tossed back a few from the beer fridge in the garage. Pub Kagami fits this description, although I'm worried that the owners' pending divorce could change the vibe there.

2. Ye Olde Fox & Hounds Pub & Grub

Location: 4614 Kilauea Ave. #102
Phone: 738-5655 As I said in November after my first visit to Ye Olde Fox & Hounds, there's so much to like about this bar -- its convenient location near Kahala Mall, the variety of pupus to choose from on their menu, and the fact you can get a draught pint of Guinness or Newcastle Brown Ale are just a few reasons to go. What keeps Ye Olde Fox & Hounds out of the top spot on my list, however, is its location. While convenient, complaints from neighbors in the surrounding area will hamstring Ye Olde Fox & Hounds and keep the spot from attracting bigger crowds.

And the winner is ... Ocean Sports Restaurant, where Brian Nguyen, left, Gina Aguirre (she's actually a waitress there) and Anthony Nguyen (not related to Brian) enjoyed a drink and pupus in September. The Barfly enjoyed the bar's affordable prices, comfortable seats, jukebox selections and friendly servers.

1. Ocean Sports Restaurant

Location: 2012 S. Beretania St.
Phone: 955-4753 Of all the establishments the Barfly landed at in 2002, Ocean Sports was the only one that's kept me returning on a semi-regular basis. With $5 pitchers before 8 p.m. and a variety of grinds on the menu for less than $10, you should be able to have a great time at Ocean Sports without breaking the bank. Comfortable seats, a well-stocked jukebox and some of the nicest servers in town all add up to make Ocean Sports Restaurant the Barfly's top pick for 2002.

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

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