Pau Hana Patrol: Arnold’s Beach Bar

Apr. 23, 2015 | 0 Comments In the Star-Advertiser Friday Print Edition
Bartender Dawn Cummings makes a mai tai at Arnold’s Beach Bar. (Jamm Aquino / jaquino@staradvertiser.com)

Bartender Dawn Cummings makes a mai tai at Arnold’s Beach Bar. (Jamm Aquino / jaquino@staradvertiser.com)

BY CHRISTIE WILSON / cwilson@staradvertiser.com

One of the benefits of riding TheBus is that you can get a really good look at the nooks and crannies of local neighborhoods while someone else is doing the driving.

This is how I first spotted Arnold’s Beach Bar in Waikiki, tucked behind Eggs ’n Things on Saratoga Road. From the little I could see, it looked like a fun, low-key place, and I decided to investigate.

THE EXPERIENCE

This tiki dive bar, which shares its owner with King’s Pub, has been open for 21 years, and befitting the description, it’s a bit sketchy. General Manager Dan Wheatley said the site was first a horse stable back in the 1930s, then a brothel and a gay bar before it became Arnold’s, named for the owner’s dog. (It remains a dog-friendly establishment.)

A short alley leads to the bar proper. There’s a handful of outdoor and indoor tables and a dozen or so seats at the semi-open-air bar. As one would expect, the bar front and walls are covered in woven mats, and the decor features swap-meet tikis, surfboards, glass fishing floats and inflated puffer fish.

ARNOLD’S BEACH BAR

339 Saratoga Road

(808) 924-6887
www.arnoldswaikiki.com

Happy Hour:
10 a.m.-6 p.m. Monday-Thursday; 9 a.m.-6 p.m. Friday-Sunday
>> $3 domestic bottles and Bud Light draft
>> $4 Longboard, Big Wave and a rotating brew on tap

A wall-mounted jukebox was blasting a pounding beat until a guy with a guitar started up. He was pleasant enough and typical of the entertainment offered 5 to 8 nightly.

The crowd on this evening comprised younger types who likely work or live in the area and servicemen. An older couple dressed nicely in aloha wear walked in while I was there, probably in search of “Waikiki’s Last Tiki Bar,” as the website calls it.

The restroom deserves special notice: A narrow staircase in the original wooden stable leads up to a small room — the old hayloft — that contains two stalls, one for kane and the other for wahine. Some customers may not be so comfortable sharing the space with the opposite gender.

There’s metered street parking and a pay lot at the post office across the street.

Arnold’s Beach Bar, named after the owner’s dog and touted as “Waikiki’s Last Tiki Bar,” has been open for 21 years and remains a dog-friendly establishment. (Jamm Aquino / jaquino@staradvertiser.com)

Arnold’s Beach Bar, named after the owner’s dog and touted as “Waikiki’s Last Tiki Bar,” has been open for 21 years and remains a dog-friendly establishment. (Jamm Aquino / jaquino@staradvertiser.com)

THE DRINKS

Happy hour, which runs from opening to 6 p.m., offers $3 domestic bottles and Bud Light draft. Longboard, Big Wave and a rotating brew on tap are $4. After 6 p.m., add a buck to happy-hour prices.

Otherwise, draft Pabst Blue Ribbon is $3, and mai tais, Blue Hawaiis, margaritas, mimosas, Bloody Marys and Tiki Teas (vodka, triple sec, orange juice and tea) are $6.

My mai tai was strong. No complaints there.

THE FOOD

Nope. Although the bar’s website advertises hot dogs and pulled-pork sliders, food is no longer served.

THE VERDICT

There’s no view, and Arnold’s lacks the gritty, uncompromising character of a true dive bar or the sincere charm of an authentic tiki bar, so unless it’s a matter of convenience, there are only two reasons to stop by: to sip a Bloody Mary while waiting for a table at Eggs ’n Things or to get your buzz on while walking to or from the beach because, obviously, $6 mai tais.

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