Pau Hana Patrol: RumFire is affordable, accessible

Nov. 5, 2010 | 7 Comments In the Star-Advertiser Friday Print Edition

A Kalua pulled pork quesadilla dish and garlic pommes frites are available during happy hour at RumFire in the Sheraton Waikiki Hotel. —Bruce Asato /

I still don’t get why more local residents don’t hang out at RumFire.

I know, I know. It’s Waikiki. There are tourists everywhere. Hotel workers don’t always show the most aloha to customers they think won’t spend as much as their counterparts from elsewhere around the world. And I don’t have to say much about parking in the area, right?

Wrong. If for no other reason, free validated parking — which has been available at the Sheraton Waikiki for years now — should be enough to convince kamaaina to venture into the concrete jungle along Kalakaua Avenue. But throw in discounted drinks and pupu, a million-dollar view of the Pacific Ocean and some genuinely friendly employees, and there really is no excuse not to check out RumFire during happy hour.


Sheraton Waikiki Hotel


Happy hour:
» 4 to 6 p.m. daily (drink specials also from 9:30 to 11:15 p.m. weekdays)
» $5 specialty cocktails
» Live entertainment from 5 to 8 p.m.

Pupu picks:
» Garlic pommes frites ($5)
» Kalua pulled pork quesadilla ($6)
» RumFire’s Signature Kim Chee Fried Rice ($8)

FROM 4 to 6 p.m. daily (and 9:30 to 11:15 p.m. weekdays), guests can enjoy $5 cocktails off RumFire’s lengthy list of “Liquid Aloha” offerings. More than a half-dozen drinks are on special, from the bar’s Signature Mai Tai to a Happy Rockstar, which is just a jazzed-up name for a Rockstar Energy and vodka cocktail. What’s most impressive, however, is that some of the best drinks on the menu here are among those featured during happy hour.

The Dragon Fire Cooler, for example, is one of those cocktails that you’ll remember for a while. A week or two after visiting, you’ll find yourself daydreaming at work about knocking a few of these back on the beach at Waikiki. Made with Bacardi Dragonberry, cranberry juice and fresh-squeezed limes, this drink gets its bite from the two dashes of hot sauce added to the mix. It tastes like a Jolly Rancher going down, but the spice follows like a quick slap to the face after you’ve swallowed your sip.

The Liquid Fuel is another cocktail worth trying — Cruzan raspberry rum is mixed with fresh lime juice and Rockstar Energy, but the step that elevates this cocktail is the addition of fresh guava puree to the glass. The fruit changes the flavor and consistency of the cocktail completely, while the energy drink gives it a nice kick. At $5 each, you’re not spending much more than you would on a bottle of beer, except you’re getting a quality cocktail instead.

WITH ALL the alcohol being served, it’s important to remember to order food while at RumFire. Nearly 20 items are on the “Bahawaiian” menu.

During happy hour, a dozen dishes are priced between $4 and $10, with most in the $5-to-$8 range. Keep it simple with some edamame ($4) or a basket of french fries ($5), or go for something more substantial like the kalua pulled pork quesadilla ($6) or the bar’s signature Kim Chee Fried Rice ($8). A hamburger ($8), ribs ($6) and fish tacos ($10) are also on the special menu.

At those prices, especially in Waikiki, it would take quite a bit of messing up to not keep this columnist happy. In a neighborhood where I’ve paid double (or even triple) the price for the same quantity of food, I’m ecstatic to know there is an option available for me to spend $30 or $40 and enjoy quite a sizable spread — with cocktails!

And let’s not forget the oceanfront view at RumFire, with its open-air seating amid the hotel’s new, upgraded pool deck and just steps away from another quality watering hole (the new Edge Bar). The energy is always high as sunset approaches and hotel guests fill up most of the seating near the bar. Sit on the Ewa side of the room for the best sunset views, but keep in mind things will get pretty warm, temperature-wise, as the sun’s rays shine directly into the lounge area.

Your best bet? Don’t wear heavy clothes, and be sure to bring sunglasses.

—Jason Genegabus /

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  • Ddavidhenao

    They only play nice to us Local’s when their numbers don’t add up and must resort to target us, cause their rent must be paid somehow!!

  • Livinginhawaii

    We don’t go to Rumfire because awesome cocktails are $3 in Chinatown and there is a lot of free parking (where you don’t need to hassle with getting a validation). Nope this place needs to do much much more for the locals – 5$ is no deal Jason!

  • Jayz

    Make happy hour 4-8 and I’ll go for sure. Ending at 6pm isn’t long enough to make it worth while.

  • brudda Sal 702

    Don’t forget Bobby and Joey da bartenders !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Anonymous

    I was just home on vacation, I don’t think that even with free validated parking, locals would rather buss out the beer and pupu’s Local Kine, TACO POKE, LIMU POKE ETC.and hang out with bruddahs, than pay $$$$ and hang out with the tourists.

  • Heidiellynhi

    I just had mainland guests visit for a week and discovered Rum Fire was the perfect spot to take them. The happy hour food (kalua pulled pork quesadilla $6) was really good and well priced and the drink specials were good too. People watching was interesting and the views first class. My picky San Francisco guests had a blast. Being pampered like a tourist is not al bad….. I don’t need to troll Downtown, with major parking hassles, stinky bums and obnoxious teenagers, to have a great Pau Hana anymore!