The idea of a "happy hour" that starts at 2 in the afternoon and ends at 5 might seem odd even for Waikiki, but then consider the dual themes of Alan Jackson’s 2003 hit, "It’s Five O’Clock Somewhere," and the fact that Jimmy Buffett appeared as Jackson’s guest on the record and in the music video. With that in mind the timing starts to make sense. There’s no denying that it is always 5 p.m. somewhere in the world, and if you’re sneaking away from work earlier than you should be, why not go to a place that isn’t easy to find? Jimmy Buffett’s at the Beachcomber has it covered on both counts.
The "isn’t easy to find" part kicks in because the happy-hour prices are only in effect at the little satellite bar (also known as the Honolulu Surfing Museum) next to the hotel pool — and on the far side of the lobby from the restaurant and its "Hot Spot Bar."
JIMMY BUFFETT’S AT THE BEACHCOMBER
2300 Kalakaua Ave. (lobby level, Waikiki Beachcomber Hotel) 791-1200, jimmybuffettsatthebeachcomber.com
Happy Hour: 2 to 5 p.m. daily
Call it what you will, the hideaway has everything necessary to get into the "it’s 5 o’clock somewhere" mindset — a short list of drink specials, the entire menu at regular prices, several televisions and the possibility of attractive distractions in the pool area.
Service was fast and attentive when we stopped by last month. Never mind the time of day, almost every seat at the bar was taken, and there were people at several tables. Even so, the bartender was quick to acknowledge us and well versed on the drink specials and the menu. Given Buffett’s universally known musical signature, ordering a "Who’s to Blame" margarita (available "frozen" or on the rocks, with salt or without) was an obvious choice. At the happy-hour price of $5.95, It was a great way to get the patrol started.
Anyone old enough to be interested in alcoholic beverages knows that they aren’t consumed in quantity on an empty stomach. Parrotheads will find no discounted food specials, but anyone who is taking off in midafternoon can probably afford Buffett’s trademark Cheeseburger in Paradise ($10.99) or the famous Volcano Nachos piled high with all the standard toppings ($14.99, or with your choice of fajita chicken or beef for $16.99).
Boneless Chicken Wings ($10.99) provide the tangy flavor of "wings" without the messiness of dealing with the bones and cartilage; traditionalists can get wings served with the bones for no additional charge.
Quesadillas are served with chicken ($10.99) or fajita beef ($11.99); bits of roasted peppers folded in with the meat and cheeses add a distinctive taste and texture. It’s a menu item I’d go back for.