Honolulu’s Best Sports Bars
Friday - August 12, 2005
It’s almost time once again for the football maniacs to take center stage.
You can drive in Honolulu early on a Sunday morning on streets so quiet you can hear the birds. There is no traffic and few signs of life. Park your car and walk into a sports bar, and voila – a screaming, raucous crowd practically vibrating with excitement. The jerseys of virtually every team in the league are represented, trash talk tossed like darts between the opponents. The scene is routine at many spots, and some do it on Saturday mornings as well. Here are a few places where you can get your football fix this fall.
Eastside Grill, 1035 University Ave., 952-6555
Owner Robbie Acoba is coming up on his sixth football season and offers the full monte each Saturday and Sunday. On Saturday, ESPN Gameplan commences at 6 a.m. with full breakfast service available. Eastside has become extremely popular with alumni groups — Ohio State fans can number 80- 100 for some games. Sundays the doors open at 6.30 a.m. for NFL. All games are available, TVs are assigned and labeled. “The Steelers, Raiders, and Eagles have the most fans,” says Acoba. A full and hearty breakfast menu, featuring everything from apple pancakes to steak and eggs, is priced from $6.95 to $8.95.
Eastside is also a huge draw for fantasy players — at least 10 leagues hold their draft here — and Eastside has its own league as well. Because individual teams control the broadcast rights to pre-season, what’s available is what can be pulled down from satellites, known as ‘wild feeds’. Large alumni groups should call and give the bar a heads up to better get the right viewing options.
Legends Sports Bar, 411 Nahua St., Waikiki, 922-7486
Owner John Harrison moved from nightclubs to this sports bar 13 football seasons ago, and has never looked back. This is a small bar, but don’t be fooled — it offers more sports than anyone in the state. Legends offers the NFL Network and ESPN Gameplan with nine TVs all assigned and labeled. Legends also brings in soccer, horse racing, MLB on Extra Innings, and a full college basketball package. Much of this is via closed-circuit television. You might wander in and watch guys studying the racing form and watching the ponies, or it might be rugby. Legends feels like an old public house — a meeting place where it’s as easy to find a conversation as it is a ballgame. Bring your own food if you like — the bar serves a 1/4-pound hot dog with homemade mustard for $2.
As Harrison puts it, “Where will the madness end?”
This bar draws serious sportsfans; if bikini-clad girls walked through, you’d hear “Hey, you’re blockin’ the TV.”
Opens 6 a.m. Saturday and 7 a.m. Sundays.
Murphy’s Bar and Grill, 2 Merchant St., 531-0422
Murphy’s will reopen next week after being closed for renovations, and will jump into the football fray. A dozen TVs will be allocated on Sundays from 7 a.m. Saturdays it won’t open until 9.30 a.m., unless, and this is a big unless, a large group makes a reservation in advance. Perfect for alumni groups who could enjoy near exclusivity. Breakfast will be served both days — if you’re a group try to get Murph to make his corned beef hash — one of the best four things I’ve ever had in my mouth!
Red Lion, University, 2535 Coyne St. (off University Avenue)
Gary Dickman is back. Late of Players and All Star Hawaii, Dickman was the first to master the satellites and dishes. He will begin his first season at Red Lion University where they will feature over 30 college games on Saturdays and the full NFL slate on Sundays. Red Lion will feature 15 TVs, including a 100-inch projection TV for the day’s feature game. All TVs will be assigned and monitored.
“For the NFL, it’s Steelers, Raiders and Cowboys,” says Dickman. “Recently the most popular colleges have been SC, Oklahoma and Nebraska.” Red Lion looks to attract alumni groups. They feature an off-the menu breakfast on Saturdays and a Sunday buffet, tentatively priced at $9.95.
There are others who have satellites and dishes. Wherever you find yourself on fall weekends, happy viewing.
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