Ige’s is a hole-in-one even without any golf trappings
With a name like Ige's Restaurant and 19th Puka, this week's featured bar brings to mind the type of watering hole you'd find at various golf courses around Oahu.
Ige's Restaurant and 19th Puka
Location: 98-761 Oihana Pl.
Hours: Open 3 p.m. to 10 p.m. Tuesdays through Thursdays, 3 p.m. to 1 a.m. Fridays and Saturdays
In reality, the Aiea establishment is nowhere near the links or clubhouse of any local course. Located high above Moanalua Road on the corner opposite of Buzz's Steak House, Ige's makes its home in what appears to be a converted warehouse/retail space.
Even though you won't find golf spikes or bags full of clubs outside the front door, a "19th hole" mentality remains. From what I could tell during our visit last weekend, Ige's is great for groups of friends and families looking for a quality spot to get some food and a cold one after a long day.
AT FIRST glance, it's hard to figure out exactly how to get to Ige's Restaurant and 19th Puka.
Since it shares a parking lot with adjoining businesses, you have to use a bit of intuition after finding a space for your ride. Ige's is on the corner, so you want to cross the street and head in that direction.
Keep your eyes peeled for a short flight of stairs to your left as you walk. You'll probably notice a couple of people smoking in this area, since Ige's is technically a restaurant and therefore subject to Honolulu's indoor smoking ban.
But hey, at least those smokers will help to mark the spot you're heading for, right? Just take a deep breath and hold it while you pass them by.
Once inside, hang around the reception area if you want a table or booth to sit at. Otherwise, make your way to the left and grab one of the nine seats at the bar itself.
At this point, it'll become clear that "Ige's Restaurant" and "19th Puka" are interchangeable -- there's no wall to separate the bar from the rest of the restaurant. The whole room is one big puka.
FL MORRIS / FMORRIS@STARBULLETIN.COM
Darryl Griffin, left, Kaleo Lancaster, center, and Jonah Keohokapu enjoy the bar at Ige's Restaurant and 19th Puka in Waimalu.
WHAT MAKES this spot appealing is the variety of drinking, eating and seating options available at Ige's.
Looking for a comfortable spot to down a couple of beers after work? Grab a seat at the bar.
Out with the girls and want some pupus and martinis before letting a designated driver chauffeur you into town for a night at the clubs? There is a ton of space to accommodate you and all your drinking buddies.
I like how part of Ige's has a high ceiling, thanks to its humble warehouse roots. Cross over to the side of the restaurant that fronts Moanalua Road, however, and you're among typical dining room seating. It's well-lit, with lots of space between the tables and a good view of cars passing below if you're sitting near a window.
Live entertainment is also part of the equation here on the weekends. Local jazz musician Robert Shinoda handles booking duties, and manages to get a nice mix of artists to perform. A half dozen tables are situated directly in front of the stage, which is on the same side of the room as the bar and just steps from the kitchen, which is visible to customers.
On the night we stopped by, the music mix ranged from '70s soft rock to contemporary pop hits. Some of the people at a nearby table (who, it seemed, all worked together) were singing along, and I could see heads bobbing at the bar as customers grooved while watching high school football on a plasma screen television overhead.
Sure, Ige's Restaurant and 19th Puka might not be the most happening place. But in a neighborhood like this, it gets the job done with mountains of food, reasonably-priced drinks and a welcoming atmosphere for a wide variety of Leeward Oahu residents.
How much for a Bud Light?
The Barfly drank $3.75 bottles of Bud Light at Ige's. Four taps are located behind the bar, offering draft versions of all the usual domestic brews.
Get things to do?
There's only one television here, located directly over the bar itself. Otherwise, the live performance stage is utilized on a regular basis.
What about the grinds?
With the word "restaurant" in its name, you would expect Ige's to have a decent amount of food choices. And they do, with daily specials and even a Hawaiian Plate ($13.99) for those with an appetite. The beef stew ($8.99) I ordered hit the spot, and went down oh-so-well with my beer.
And the help?
As is the case with all restaurants, sit at the bar for the fastest service. We sat at a table and had to wait for our server a couple of times to order both drinks and food.
Barfly appears every Friday in Star-Bulletin Weekend. E-mail Jason Genegabus at email@example.com
with suggestions of neighborhood bars to visit.