Pau Hana Patrol: Holoholo Bar & Grill

Jul. 11, 2014 | 1 Comment In the Star-Advertiser Friday Print Edition
Holoholo Bar & Grill's Hawaiian Poutine, fries topped with a shiitake mushroom gravy and cheese, with various pupus and martinis. (Krystle Marcellus / kmarcellus@staradvertiser.com)

Holoholo Bar & Grill’s Hawaiian Poutine, fries topped with a shiitake mushroom gravy and cheese, with various pupus and martinis. (Krystle Marcellus / kmarcellus@staradvertiser.com)

BY MICHELLE RAMOS / mramos@staradvertiser.com

You’ll find it inside a white, unassuming building in Moilili, between Kirin Restaurant and the Japanese Cultural Center on Beretania Street: Holoholo Bar & Grill.

I went early to check it out for happy hour and had a fine time. The bar is nice and relaxing and seems like a good place for friends to hang out.

HOLOHOLO BAR & GRILL

2494 S. Beretania St.

(808) 369-7297
holoholobarandgrill.com

Happy Hour:
3-6 p.m. Mondays-Saturdays
» $3 Bud Light draft and domestic bottled beers
» $4 flavored martinis
» $5 Darkhorse chardonnay and cabernet wines

When you enter, go left and you’ll hit the bar. Go right and you’ll approach the restaurant area, which opens at 5 p.m.

The bar’s setup is simple. Nine high chairs line the bar, and 10 tall four-seater tables fill the lounge. Natural light comes in from windows facing the parking lot.

We sat at a table between the wall of windows and a big-screen TV hanging behind the bar. Two smaller TVs hang on the wall to the left of the bar, and canoe paddles hang on the wall to the right.

Happy hour begins at 3 p.m., but the word might not be out there yet. We arrived shortly before 4 p.m. and were the only ones in the lounge.

As a result, our waiter was very attentive, informing us about the happy-hour menu, which consists of five small plates and six larger plates to share.

I sipped on a lychee martini ($4) that was presented attractively and had just the right combination of sweet and tart flavors, as I tried to remember what used to be here. Our waiter helpfully reminded us that it had been Yakiniku Camellia II. Another yakiniku eatery — Dish go — followed but didn’t last long.

I WON’T get too hung up on the menu — owner Jill Owens said some dishes will stay and new items will be added in coming weeks — but most of the food was typical bar grinds, albeit with a local twist.

We ordered the Hawaiian Poutine ($3.95), Back Yard Smoked Meat ($12.95) and Gedashi Tofuri ($11.95).

The poutine was french fries topped with a shiitake mushroom gravy and cheese.

Tofuri, cubed tofu deep-fried in a furikake batter, is served with a sweet shoyu sauce.

There’s also Noe’z Nut’z Nacho’z: in addition to the cheese and meat, this one has a kim chee dip on top.

Stay tuned for an Industry Night menu, which will only be offered from 10 p.m. to 1 a.m. Thursdays. It will include staple items like fried ahi belly with a spicy shoyu sauce and a roasted rice trio. It’s targeted to begin Thursday night.

A pomegranate martini made by Jordan Fontanilla. (Krystle Marcellus / kmarcellus@staradvertiser.com)

A pomegranate martini made by Jordan Fontanilla. (Krystle Marcellus / kmarcellus@staradvertiser.com)

I PASSED the dessert case at one point, and the decadent items were calling my name.

Back in the lounge, the waitress said Holoholo doesn’t have a dessert menu because the items change daily, but you can order anything from the restaurant and eat it at the bar.

I plan to go back to check out the new menu and try a sweet option.

The restaurant, which opened in November, gets pretty busy on most days of the week, but if you go for pau hana, you should have no trouble getting a parking spot or a seat.

Arrive a little later, and the parking on the Ewa side of the building can fill up.

When we got to the bar, it was pretty empty, but by the time we left at around 5:30 p.m., there were only a couple of stalls open.

Owner Jill Owens said some people try to use the parking lot to shop or do business elsewhere, so Owens has a sign-in book at the door — you’ll want to know your license plate number when you arrive.

  • Erika Engle

    It’s a great place for breakfast, too! (The restaurant side, I mean.) I had the YUMMY Monte Cristo one time, and another time, I didn’t want a big breakfast so I just got eggs and toast (and likely a side of bacon, because, well, #BACON)