Luck of the Irish, Aloha Style


When your Irish friend asks you to go on a tour of Irish pubs, you don’t say no.

We started our adventure at O’Toole’s Pub in Chinatown. My first thought: This is a dark, Boston-loving dive bar — the drinks are going to be amazing! Our waitress, dressed in a traditional kilt, asked us our drink preferences and told us the specials. I love cider, so my friend recommended I get a Strongbow, because they offered it on tap. I had never entered the world of Strongbow ciders before, but now there is no going back.

Light and sweet with a hard post-gulp kick, Strongbow features a crisp apple flavor with undertones of honey. The first one went down so smoothly that we followed it up with another round. Sometimes I get heartburn from drinking two ciders in a row, but I felt really good after these!

It was a Sunday night, so the bar was understandably kind of dead, but the people who were there were so jovial. I left wanting to come back on a night there’s live music (the schedule is posted here) and a bigger party.

Our next stop happened to be across the street at Murphy’s Bar and Grill. Fun fact: Although it’s changed names throughout the years, Murphy’s has been around since the early 1860s and has been a hotspot for everyone from ship captains to Hawaiian royalty.

Murphy’s feels more like a saloon than a pub, which makes sense considering it was called Royal Hawaiian Saloon before Don Murphy purchased it in 1987.

Because we were seated in the saloon section, our waiter brought us a full menu, and my eyes naturally fixated on the dessert section. Our group settled on bread pudding, apple crisp, Sam Smith cider and the pinnacle of Irish beverages, Guinness (pictured here).

Paired with delicious dessert, these otherwise typical bar beverages tasted better than ever. I highly recommend the Guinness and bread pudding combination!

We called it a night after that, but if you’re planning on bar-hopping, one of the best-kept secrets in Honolulu nightlife is the Shamrock Shuttle. It’s a free shuttle that runs on Friday and Saturday nights between downtown and Waikiki. A free lift during a night of boozing? I’ll drink to that!