Now that I’m well entrenched in my 30s, it can be difficult at times to face the jarring realization that those of us who can remember Bell Biv DeVoe, Z.Cavaricci pants and Wonderphone aren’t the freshest flowers in the bunch anymore.
And even though Jay-Z tried to change the game a few years back (remember his "30 is the new 20" line on the single "30 Something" from 2006?), for those of us born before 1980, there’s no hiding the fact that there are always going to be others younger than you, faster than you — and better equipped to handle their liquor than you.
It’s that last quality that I used to (stupidly) take pride in. When I’d show up at a house party or hitch a ride with friends on the weekends, it was all about proving you could handle your alcohol. It’s an immature attitude to have, for sure, but I know I’m not the only one who felt indestructible at that age.
MOOSE MCGILLYCUDDY’S PUB & CAFE
310 Lewers St.
Back in the day, one of the more popular spots among my peers was Puck’s Alley. Even though I had yet to finish high school, I can remember hearing stories about the shenanigans that would go down at Mama Mia’s or Moose McGillycuddy’s, and trying to sneak in myself before I was old enough to legally be there.
Two years after I graduated, however, both Puck’s Alley watering holes were out of business. While Magoo’s and Eastside Grill were worthy replacements, they never reached the legendary status Moose’s had among 20-somethings who used to party there.
THAT’S WHY it was such a blast from the past to walk into Moose McGillycuddy’s last week.
No, I wasn’t in Manoa. A second Moose’s, on Lewers Street in Waikiki, has continued on strong, even after its sister location shut down in 1997, and that bar celebrates 30 years in business in 2010.
This place doesn’t look like much of anything worth visiting from the street. In fact, the sign out front telling customers to "Please Wait to Be Seated" sure makes it seem like you’re walking into a restaurant instead of a bar. Get inside, however, and you’ll quickly realize the space is a well-oiled alcohol-serving machine with two floors of fun and a 4 a.m. closing time.
Arrive early enough for happy hour, and Moose’s is easily one of the best deals in all of Waikiki for a cold beer. Between 4 and 7 p.m. daily, drafts are just $3 along with all well liquors and house wines. Premium cocktails made with stuff like Absolut, Crown Royal, Bombay Sapphire or Dewars will set you back $4. Not a bad deal when it can easily cost $10 or $12 for a cocktail elsewhere along Kalakaua.
Pull up one of the nearly two dozen bar stools or so that sit around the horseshoe-shaped bar downstairs, and you’ve got a great view of the street outside as well as the numerous TVs that hang from the walls. You can also ask to sit at one of the plentiful booths throughout the downstairs lounge that are surrounded by old framed photos and other bar memorabilia. Service here is attentive, with more than enough bartenders and servers on duty to ensure you’re not waiting long for another drink.
Prefer to party like a rock star? Ask anyone who parties here after midnight and they’ll tell you the atmosphere changes drastically. Once the upstairs bar opens at Moose’s, an extraordinary amount of bodies can be squeezed into this establishment. But instead of local college kids, the Waikiki bar tends to attract more military and tourists than locals (a severe shortage of nearby parking surely affects the situation). And that’s OK — as long as you know what you’re getting yourself into.
Still, it was quite the case of deja vu when I walked back into Moose’s. It’s funny how some places instantly trigger memories with a sign on the wall or T-shirt logo.
Despite my more than 10-year difference in age and (hopefully) improved understanding of what it means to be a responsible adult, I couldn’t help but sit at the bar inside Moose’s and feel the itch to start ordering shots and telling whoever had control of the music to throw on some Notorious B.I.G.
As Christopher Wallace used to rap, "If ya don’t know, now ya know…"