Pau Hana Patrol: Mac 24/7 is twice as nice
BY STEVEN MARK / email@example.com
Mac 24/7 is one of those welcome places for local people who claim to hate Waikiki — the Waikiki that’s crowded and noisy. Inside the Hilton Waikiki Beach hotel, Mac 24/7 is tranquil and spacious, and rarely crowded.
Hilton Waikiki Beach, 2500 Kuhio Ave.
It’s a great place to unwind after getting off early from work or to brace for an evening on the town. Happy hour also is offered from midnight to 3 a.m. Sundays through Thursdays for night owls.
There are two sections to the restaurant. If you’re going for pau hana, you might be tempted to stop at the long bar, which is what you see at the entrance. There are three flat-screen TVs on the wall that are tuned to sports, but the sound is usually off so you don’t hear crowd noise or the rants and raves of the announcers. You can belly up to the bar or take one of the booths nearby if you’re with friends.
There’s also a dining room behind the bar, which comes with a nice surprise: a view of a small but elegant garden, with a pavilion and manicured lawn. While most people prefer a view of the beach, a peaceful garden scene isn’t bad, either.
And if there’s a sports addict among your crowd, the dining room has one flat-screen.
Happy-hour drinks are standard fare, with beer (Kona Longboard, Bud Light and Stella) at 16 and 22 ounces for $3 and $6.
We tried a couple of the Hawaiian Favorite Cocktails ($6).
The Blue Hawaiian came with a delicate tang, a nice balance of Vikingfjord Norwegian potato vodka, Bacardi Superior rum and Bols Blue curacao, with the appropriate vivid blue.
The Luscious Lychee martini had a rich, aromatic taste, using the Norwegian vodka and Bols lychee liqueur.
I’ve had the Mai Tai here, too, and it was very satisfying.
There are no happy-hour food discounts, but the appetizer menu still has some nice selections.
A Hawaii-inspired Vietnamese roll ($10), which includes tea-smoked, Mongolian glaze kalbi, prawns from Kauai, hearts of palm and a Kona coffee caramel shoyu, is an award-winning dish. It’s rich and has a deep, full-bodied flavor, with a variety of textures in the filling.
We also had the deep-fried short rib bites ($12), which at first seemed a bit odd. The Thai mustard glaze gave it a tempuralike texture, a bit crunchy, but the meat inside was almost melt-in-your-mouth tender. Pairing it with the Vietnamese roll was not the best choice, as both are fairly salty. On its own, though, it’s a good dish.
On previous visits I’ve also had the mini ahi poke tacos ($12.50), which come with a delightful cilantro-wasabi spread.
There’s a full menu, so diners can order burgers, steaks, fish and a nice variety of island-inspired dishes if they want to stay for dinner.
Since this restaurant is open 24/7, there are also breakfast items, which are available at any time.
If you’re looking for early-morning amusement, order one of the Mac Daddy Pancake Challenge dishes for your visiting friends and watch in amazement when the huge stack arrives.
For dessert there was a nice sampler of Portuguese bread pudding, Kona coffee flan and Lynne’s Famous Ooey Gooey Mac Nut Brownie Bites ($9), all in small bites. I’ve had a whole brownie before and loved it, but it was so filling I couldn’t finish. Served with this grouping, it was just right.
The Hilton Waikiki Beach has several other bars that offer happy hour, and Mac 24/7’s might be the most sedate. Since it’s in a Waikiki hotel, Mac 24/7 mostly serves tourists, but they’re usually the mellow, just-happy-to-be-here crowd — not the look-at-me, party-hardy rowdies.
The many times I’ve been there, whether for happy hour or not, the service has always been friendly and professional, the atmosphere cool and comfortable. It’s a good place to shoot the breeze with good friends or family.