Tropic interlude


POSTED: Friday, April 02, 2010

Wander through the Ward Entertainment Complex and you'll find a number of options for drinks and pupu, from a complete restaurant experience to the neighborhood bar complete with regular customers and friendly owners.

Go ahead and mark your mental checklist now—Ryan's, Paparazzi, Ka, Dave & Buster's, Bucca di Beppo, Kincaids. Plenty of restaurants and what passes for nightclubs these days. But a neighborhood bar?

Tropics Cafe Bar & Lounge sounds like a mouthful when you say it, but wander inside the bar on the edge of the Ward Farmers Market property closest to the movie theater complex, and you'll find a cozy little spot with a seemingly secret second floor.






        Ward Farmers Market / 591-8009


Happy hour:
        » 4 to 7 p.m. weekdays
        » $3 well cocktails
        » $3 house wine
        » $3 draft beers
        » $10 draft pitchers


Pupu picks:
        » Tropics Sliders ($1 each)
        » Garlic Fries ($3)
        » Wing Dings ($3)
        » Garlic Ahi ($10.95)




And yes, despite the drawn blinds and closed door, Tropics is open for happy hour from 4 to 7 p.m. weekdays.

The early start is why everything looks shuttered from the outside; indoors it's nice and dim, with plenty of booths and tables to go with the handful of bar stools at the first floor bar.

This isn't the Tropics that most associate with weekend reggae ragers that feature live bands downstairs and an upstairs lounge that offers darts and pool in addition to another full bar.

Most of the pupu here are of the fried variety, especially if you're ordering off the happy hour menu. The wing dings ($3) are available in varying degrees of hotness, while tried-and-true items like garlic fries ($3), gyoza ($3) and cheese quesadillas ($2) round out the offerings.

The catch, however, is that Tropics cuts the happy hour servings down in order to keep costs low. Be sure to check out the entire food menu if you're hungry, because there are a number of other options if you're willing to spend a few extra bucks.

The garlic ahi ($10.95) is one of those dishes that isn't on special, but order it seared and the buttery slices of fish with heaping mounds of garlic on top will disappear very quickly when accompanied by a cold pitcher of beer.

If that's not true happiness, what is?

Pau Hana Patrol is a weekly look at Honolulu bar and restaurant happy hours. E-mail happy hour tips to .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).