Monday, August 22, 2016

The Reef/Pono Hawaiian Grill


Happy Hour – every day 3-6 and all day on Mondays

Power Hour – 10-11 pm Thursday Friday Saturday- $4 wells and $2 Coors Light

Drinks: $5 Mai Tai, house Margarita and Dark and Stormy,  $2 Coors Light, $1 off all beer , wine and liquor

Food: None
Julie's Review

The Pono  Grill and the Reef are located on Union Street.  The Reef has great happy hour time slots, but finding them was not easy.  I looked at the Pono Grill website, but no mention was made of happy hour.  I called and the phone was busy two times and then I was put on hold.  After waiting several minutes the woman came on the line.  When I asked when happy hour was the woman said, that’s over in the bar.  You will need to call them directly and hung up.  No number, no transfer and no listing of the number anywhere, that I could find.

So, the first thing to know is that the Pono Grill and The Reef are two separate businesses, housed in the same building.  Pono Grill has the food and The Reef has the drinks.  This can be a little confusing from their websites.

Having happy hour every day from 3-6 and all day Monday- you gotta love that!!!  Unfortunately, there is no food to go with the drinks.  Don’t love that so much.  There is food at the restaurant, but no happy hour specials or prices.  Ouch!   You gotta feed your drinks!


Jo and I arrived and got a table.   We quickly bellied up to the bar where Danny was working.  He told us the bar is indeed separate from the restaurant and understood our disappointment that there wasn’t food.  He runs a pop up across the street called Kickin’ Chicken which delivers chicken and waffles to your house!  That was sounding really good about now. Check out his Facebook page:

 Danny was a fun bartender – great service and a cutie to boot!  He whipped up a margarita for me and Jo ordered a Mai Tai.  Since neither Jo or I had eaten we ended up ordering food at the restaurant which was tasty, but not happy hour prices, for sure.  My margarita was made with fresh lime, but was not quite sweet enough for my sweet tooth.  Jo didn’t care for her Mai Tai.  Hula Mai Tais set the standard and these didn’t quite measure up.

By this time Joanie had joined us, followed shortly by Heather and Ted.  Joanie had a beer and Heather and Ted ordered Dark and Stormies.  Danny whipped me up a Dark and Stormy, as well.  This was definitely the best happy hour drink on the menu. 

One of the nice features of their happy hour is that ALL liquor, beer and wine is a  $1 off, so I ended up getting a top shelf margarita which was quite tasty.  The party was just getting started.  The Reef’s motif is surfer chic and has a beautiful outdoor garden area.  We noticed a flag that looked like a British flag, but when we googled it, it was the Hawaiian  flag.  Who knew?

About this time we discovered the ‘Selfie corner’ with grass skirts, straw hats and leis.  We had to get a photo of that.  Soon the band started – musicians who used to frequent the Trout Farm. (sob!).  Ted was on the floor in his grass skirt and we all kicked up our heels.  While we were dancing an over-enthusiastic waitress cleared our unfinished drinks!  I talked to Danny and he replaced the drinks free of charge – that’s the kind of excellent service he offered!

We were about ready to call it a night when Graciela and Roy showed up.  Now, we were ready to head to the Church Street Fair.

So in sum – the Reef has great happy hours – 7 days a week from 3-6.  Reasonable drink prices, though the Dark and Stormy was my favorite, by far.  Danny is a fun bartender offering great service and there is live music on Sunday afternoons.  The major down side is no food on the happy hour menu, though it’s a few steps away.  A fun place.

Julie’s rating:  3.5 shots
Jo's Review

So off we go for another happy hour.  We decided on Pono Hawaiian Grill because we had passed by at some point and saw that they had happy hour every day. We like that in a happy hour so Sunday afternoon we ventured out.
It’s a beautiful day and they have a fair crowd in the place.  You enter to what seems like a garage door front door.  The place seems homey with table and chairs, couches and a relaxed atmosphere. Lots of island motif around the place, and a beautiful patio in back.

I’m the first to arrive so I quickly secure a high table by the bar that was just vacated. As I look around the the waitress clears off the table but doesn’t bother to take an order from me I realize no one is taking orders.  I guess you help yourself around here. As I look around more I see that you place your orders for food and pay at the front door, then they give you a number and bring the food to you.  You have to go to the bar to get your drinks as well so not as relaxed as I thought since I’m fending for myself to acquire my food and drink.

Once Julie gets there she goes to the bar for the drinks and we find out that the Reef and Pono Hawaiian Grill are sort of separate entities working out of the same building. The Reef has happy hour every day from 3-6pm and all day on Mondays. They have $5 Mai Tai’s, Margaritas and Dark & Stormy’s. $2 Coors lights and $1 off all beers, wine and liquors. They also have a power hour form 10pm-11pm, $4 well cocktails and $2 Coors light.

Pono Hawaiian Grill does not partake in the happy hour deal and has no specials for happy hour that I saw. I have to say that was a big disappointment to me. I like my happy hours to have cheap prices on drinks and food. So even though I ended up getting some chicken wings, (of course) I’m not added them to this write up since they were not part of the happy hour, I just needed something to eat.  I must admit I would like to go back some time and try the Loco Moco or one of the poke dish.  The prices for Pono seemed reasonable.

So I got a Mai Tai and Julie started with the Margarita. I can say I wasn’t that impressed with the Mai Tai. Although it was made with fresh juice it was a little weak for me and to acidy. I like more kick for my buck. Not sure how Julie’s drink was but I don’t remember her raving about it.  Her next drink was a Dark & Stormy and she definitely liked that drink. I ended up getting a beer from my next drink. 

Joanie showed up and then Heather and Ted showed up. We all got some drinks and were chatting it up and having a good time. It was nice but I was just not feeling it, perhaps the disappointment of no food specials. They all started talking and reminiscing on their burner days so I ended up taking off and leaving them to it.

So happy hour at the Reef/Pono Hawaiian Grill was different to say the least. The drinks were ok, and with no food specials well I guess for a quick stop it fine.  I guess you’re still getting a deal at least with the cheaper drinks if you get food too. Not what I expected but if was fine.

Jo’s review: 3 shots