Meet Me At The Mall


I’ll be honest with you: The mall is not the first place I go when I’m on the hunt for a good cocktail. But after racing around Ala Moana Center (and its new Ewa Wing expansion!) doing some holiday shopping, I was seriously dehydrated.

I initially had decided on California Pizza Kitchen (their Hawaiian BBQ Chicken pizza is SO GOOD!), but the line was long and I was in no mood to wait. Luckily, that’s when I spotted the popular open-air Mai Tai Bar located directly across from CPK. It was around 5 p.m., and there was live music playing, so I decided to grab a seat at the bar.

My initial impression was that the waitresses all were very friendly and the bartender had a heavy hand — so we were off to a good start. I also noticed that for being such a seemingly large place, it was filling up pretty quickly and getting loud.

I ordered a water to start with — lame, I know, but like I said, I was dehydrated!— but I knew after glancing over the cocktail menu I needed to dive deeper. Plus, it was happy hour! Mai Tai Bar offers drink and food specials from 4 to 7 p.m., a time period they refer to as “Hang Ten.” But even if you miss that, they keep the deals going with a late-night happy hour from 8 to 11 p.m., when beer pints are $3 and pitchers are only $9.

I finally decided on a Lava Flow (pictured), per the bartender’s recommendation. Frozen drinks are not my usual go-to. Sometimes I find the flavor is lost in the slush of ice, but this was certainly not the case at Mai Tai Bar. Not only was it decently strong, my Lava Flow had a pronounced flavor, no rogue ice chunks and was refreshing. It came with a flower in it, which I found to be charming and not overly touristy.

I’ll definitely be back to watch Sunday football or to grab another mid-shopping beverage. Cheers!