Pau Hana Patrol: Great grinds, good times at Home
They named it right. Home Bar & Grill is a familiar, comfortable haven for fans of the local pau hana scene, a place that will keep me coming back.
Home Bar & Grill
1683 Kalakaua Ave.
The atmosphere is familiar, with basic beers in a bottle, vinyl booth seats that obviously have held plenny hefty bruddahs, short-shorts-wearing waitresses and what, a dozen (at least 11!) TV screens in the medium-sized room.
The white walls, bench seats, and ambient light from the TVs and neon beer signs don’t make Home anything fancy to look at. All the pleasure comes from what’s right up in your face — the food and drink.
The menu lifts the experience to higher ground. If you just stumbled in without knowing how good the grinds can be, you’d be delighted.
AT LEAST for the moment, Home is easy going, even while it’s drawing in respectable crowds. You can make a reservation, but when we walked in at prime time on a Thursday, there were still tables to be had (just a few, though).
And no pressure: If you only want to have a bargain beer or a happy hour cocktail, that’s cool. Happy hour goes all the way from 2 to 8 p.m.
We came in harried after weaving through Kapiolani Boulevard’s rush-hour traffic, but server Barry Wildern calmed things down with his relaxed manner and friendly answers to my questions. Co-owner Chris Tai was in the house, too, and joked about one of our selections, the Tater Tot “Nachos,” saying he made up that dish after tipping back a few. (They’re labeled “Because Chris ‘The Situation’ Tai Wanted It” on the menu.)
On Tai’s suggestion, we ordered house specialty B’s “Negi Toro.” It was really, really good, like, call somebody and tell them about it good, with fat cubes of fish, a wasabi-infused oil, and tiny, crunchy Japanese crackers.
Fried Rice was rich with bacon, Portuguese sausage, the usual vegetables and two — yes, two — eggs on top, and also notable for the price, just $8. While the food isn’t discounted for happy hour, this menu is a bargain all night long. Watch the specials board for dishes like Pan-Fried Ahi Belly ($12) and Half-Rack of Baby Back Ribs ($18).
Parking can be tricky; the lot out front holds just a few cars, or you can valet in back. But the food, prices and service make Home worth seeking out.
—Elizabeth Kieszkowski / firstname.lastname@example.org