Feeling At Home At Arnold’s

The entrance, off of Saratoga Road, to Arnold’s Beach Bar looks like an alleyway — exactly the kind of walking path to avoid during the day and, especially, on a night out.

But despite the somewhat shady entrance-way, once you’re inside the Waikiki bar, the atmosphere makes up for it. Arnold’s feels like a neighborhood bar — you know, the type of place where people you grew up with show face every Friday and order the same whiskey and coke. It feels safe and homey. That Arnold’s gave me that feeling is somewhat peculiar, because it turns out to be a popular tourist destination. The familiar vibe Arnold’s is able to produce with a tourist-based clientele is rather impressive, if you ask me.

Also impressive is the bar’s upstairs section. Arnold’s is roughly the size of a small kitchen, yet it hosts a full bar, seating and two dart boards upstairs. On the recent Friday night I visited, the place was packed. I found myself shoulder-to-shoulder with strangers, who quickly became acquaintances because we had no choice but to strike conversation.

When I maneuvered my way through the crowd to the bar, I asked for a drink menu — and was laughed at. Small bars like Arnold’s aren’t really known for handcrafted drinks, but I thought I’d try. Instead, the prices are what really matter — if you’re on a tight budget like I am, you’ll appreciate all Arnold’s has to offer. From open to close, there are $5 cocktails including Mai Tais, Blue Hawaiis, Mimosas, Margaritas and more. If you’re a beer drinker, all drafts are $3 until 6 p.m. and $4 after 6 p.m.

Arnold’s does not hold back on the alcohol content either, despite cheap prices. My first Vodka-Cranberry was so strong, I wasn’t sure I could finish it. After just a couple more, I had to cut myself off. For just $15, I left feeling warm and happy.

Other than for their strength, don’t expect the drinks here to wow you. But what’s really at the core of Arnold’s is its atmosphere: It’s a comfortable place where we can get a cheap escape from our daily lives, and meet interesting people from around the world.