Jason Genegabus

16 ounce has plenty bounce

THIS WEEK marked the end of college basketball season, with the University of Connecticut beating Georgia Tech for the NCAA Division I men's national championship.

Fortunately, our local CBS affiliate chose to broadcast the game live on Monday, which meant late afternoon "business meetings" and sudden, unexplained illnesses for most of Honolulu's hardcore college basketball fans.

As I scanned my mental Rolodex of watering holes I haven't checked out yet, one place stuck out in my mind when I thought about spherical objects. Why not head down to Aloha Tower Marketplace and pay a visit to Hooters?

Hours: 10 a.m. to midnight Mondays through Thursdays; 10 a.m. to 1 a.m. Fridays and Saturdays; 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Sundays
Location: Aloha Tower Marketplace
Phone: 524-4668


THINK ABOUT it for a second, folks. What else goes better with basketball than beer and ... buffalo wings?

I wasn't the only person who thought of Hooters as an option to catch the game -- a good three quarters of the tables in the restaurant were already occupied when I walked in with my drinking partner on Monday shortly after tipoff.

A dozen seats at the bar offer a place to sit if you just want to sit down and knock a few back, but I'd suggest grabbing a table instead, especially if you decide to stop by with friends. There's only one television behind the bar, as opposed to another eight televisions spread throughout the room and a big screen set up against the wall on the restaurant's mauka side.

Outdoor seating is also available, but it defeats the purpose of coming to Hooters to watch a game if you decide to sit out there. While it might be nice to nibble on some munchies near the waterfront, you won't be able to see much (if any) of the action taking place inside.

Lots of Hooters memorabilia hang on the walls here, from photos of the servers to plaques commemorating the Honolulu location as "Store of the Year" in 2003. The breezy, open-air layout gives customers a nice view of people walking by, and it's always fun to watch tourists stop and stare for a moment before continuing on with their business.

THAT'S NOT to say that the customers don't stare at Hooters -- it's hard not to, when there are at least a half-dozen women walking around in barely-there orange shorts and skin-tight white tank tops emblazoned with the company's trademark owl logo.

Every time I visit, the amount of respect I have for the employees here goes up. It's got to be incredibly difficult to do your job effectively and efficiently while guys are shamelessly undressing you with their eyes and striking up pointless conversations just to keep you lingering by their table.

As was the case the last couple of times I've stopped by, the majority of servers working during our visit were transplants from the mainland. That's always been a major sticking point when I try to get my friends to go there: Unless you're into haole girls, you're better off visiting the servers down the street at Pipeline for local eye candy in tight-fitting clothes.

"Thank goodness for the local girl," my drinking partner said when he first sat down.

Both of us had noticed her when we walked in, and while I've always been one for equal opportunity when it comes to the opposite sex, he wanted someone more his taste to fetch another pitcher while inhaling a plate of wings.

I GUESS it's that female interaction that makes this joint so attractive. For a segment of the population that won't (or can't) visit one of the strip clubs in the surrounding area, Hooters provides an opportunity to have a few drinks and a bite to eat while in the company of attractive and scantily-clad women.

But if you have no problem walking into Rock-Za or Femme Nu, it's probably a good idea to skip this place and head elsewhere. There are a number of other bars close by with cheaper beer prices, and you won't have to subject yourself to witnessing pathetic attempts by some guys to feel up the servers as they clear plates and pitchers from the tables around you.

How much for a Bud Light?
The Barfly drank $9.45 pitchers of Bud Light during his visit to Hooters. Other draft beers available at the bar include Red Hook, Killian's, Sam Adams and the Kona Brewing Co.'s Longboard Lager. It was also "delightfully tacky, yet unrefined" to see our server put a plastic bag filled with ice cubes in our pitcher of beer to keep it cold.

Get things to do?
Other than watch television and talk to the servers, there isn't much to do here. If things get really boring during your visit, head over to the restaurant's front entrance and challenge one of the girls to a hula hoop competition - they've got the necessary equipment waiting and are ready and willing to take you on!

What about the grinds?
Sandwiches are the specialty here -- the Hooters Burger ($8.29) I ordered arrived at our table cooked medium rare, just as I had asked. Other places I've visited simply ignore your request when you ask them to cook something rare, so it was nice to get a burger made the way I like it. And you can't go wrong with the Hooters Chicken Wings ($7.59 for 10 pieces) shaken in one of eight sauces, or served "naked," with no breading and no sauce. Feeling high class? Order a Gourmet Chicken Wing Dinner ($149.99), which includes 20 wings and a bottle of Dom Perignon. A number of salads ($2.59 to $7.99) are also on the menu, as are barbecue ribs ($12.99), snow crab legs ($12.99 per pound) and New Orleans shrimp ($11.49).

And the help?
Maybe it was because I expected a ton of beauty and not a lot of brains, but I was pleasantly surprised by the attentive service we received at Hooters. The beer we ordered was poured for us into chilled glasses -- not just the first round, but every time it looked like we needed a refill. My visit also marked the second straight week that I had to endure a shift change, but unlike last time, we got introduced to our new server before the old one clocked out. It was nice to see that we weren't being forgotten, as was the case the week before when we couldn't even get a glass of water brought to our table.

See the Columnists section for some past articles.

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


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