Isle-brewed beer pairs nicely with parties at Brew Moon
Most people my age simply can't comprehend the beauty of drinking quality handcrafted beer.
Can you blame us? For a 20-something, living it up means having enough scrips to afford a cold pack of Red Stripe on sale at Foodland -- and that's only if we've got enough left in the bank after paying rent and chipping away at our ever-growing pile of bills.
Location: Ward Centre
Hours: 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Sundays to Thursdays, open until 2 a.m. Fridays and Saturdays
When Brew Moon Restaurant and Microbrewery decided to head in a new direction with its late-night entertainment schedule at the beginning of the year, it meant the departure of live jazz and stand-up comedy in favor of two new parties for the club crowd. The addition of "Rockstar Fridays" and "Refresh" have invigorated the place, breathing new life into what has always been a great destination for beer and food in a central location.
ONE THING that I've always liked about Brew Moon is its versatility. There are enough seating options to provide options for those who work, live and play in the area, and that variety is what keeps people coming back.
An outdoor dining area is perfect for drinking a pint of North Star Lager on a sunny Sunday afternoon. Pick the right table, and you'll have a decent view of people walking by on the sidewalks below.
Just past the restaurant's front entrance is the bar, with a handful of booths and high tables comprising a more lounge-like atmosphere. This area is also great for a business lunch, or a quick snack to go with a glass of Black Hole Lager before meeting up with friends at nearby Ward Theatres.
And there's always the main dining room, which is great for a date. What better place to wow someone with a nice meal than a restaurant that also brews its own beer?
JAMM AQUINO / JAQUINO@STARBULLETIN.COM
Bartender Justin Campbell pours two pints for waiting customers. The microbrewery has been at its Ward Centre location since 1999 and features some of Hawaii's finest handcrafted microbrews and ales, along with a tantalizing lunch and dinner menu.
THE KIDS have followed VJ Entertainment and the Stone Groove Family from Hard Rock Cafe, where "Rockstar Fridays" thrived as an 18-and-over party with a relaxed dress code and slightly more varied music selection. When the Waikiki restaurant went strictly 21-and-over, the promoters packed up and made the move to Ward Centre. You also might remember the Stone Groove Family from the good old days of Sunday's "Dark Side of the Moon" parties.
While not as crowded as Fridays, Saturday's "Refresh" party is a good alternative for beer drinkers looking for a well-dressed crowd to go with that Big Bang Pale Ale. The vibe is a lot more mellow, and promoters have even added a second DJ to spin house music in the outdoor dining area.
At first, both nights featured $2 beer specials. It's kind of tacky to sip such good beer out of plastic cups. But at that price, who's complaining?
The cost for a 12-ounce pour has since risen to $3 on club nights -- the same as it is during lunch and dinner at the restaurant. Still, the beer is better than almost anything you'll find in a bottle elsewhere.
BUT THE best change at Brew Moon had to be one that took place last year, when a new law allowed Honolulu breweries to sell product directly to customers.
In other words, now you can buy a 64-ounce growler of beer to take home. Pay $15 for the growler, and you can get it refilled for $10 on subsequent visits. Kegs are also available.
Beer to go and two new weekend parties -- if it's been a while since your last visit to Brew Moon, drop by and do your part to help the local economy by drinking brew made right here in Hawaii.
How much for a Bud Light?
Don't even think about asking for a Bud Light at Brew Moon. Order the Lunar Sampler ($6.25) if you want a taste of everything, or just go for my favorite -- the Black Hole Lager.
Get things to do?
Show up at night on a weekend if you like the younger club crowd, otherwise the televisions and your drinking partner are the only entertainment here.
What about the grinds?
In addition to a wide variety of pupu, complete lunch and dinner menus are also available at Brew Moon. And even though Kua Aina is right next door, the Smothered Burger ($12) here is just as tasty. Pair that with the famous Ahi Sampler ($15), and you've got quite a spread to go with your beer. Get there during happy hour (3 to 7 p.m.), and you'll save even more on food and drink.
And the help?
Although service can be leisurely at times, the staff at Brew Moon is well-versed in treating their customers with respect. Bartenders are generally knowledgeable about the beers they pour, and brewmaster Greg Yount is generally available to answer questions as well.
Barfly appears every Friday in the Star-Bulletin WeekEnd section. Reach Jason Genegabus
with suggestions of neighborhood bars to visit.