The Happiest Hours of West Maui

15 April 2017

Pro tip: if you want to save on travel, downsize your dining. I know, it's a stark reality and maybe a bit of advice you didn't want to hear. But just like at home, food/dining is generally one of our largest travel expenses, especially in big budget destinations like Hawaii. So, how do we make due? Two words: happy hour. 

Happy hour is basically a sale, right? The same great food for a sliver of the list price. What's there to hate about that? Personally, I'm a big fan of sales, especially the food kind. Even at home, we're always on the lookout for the greatest value HHs. In West Maui, HH specials aren't hard to come by. Between 3 and 5 p.m., just about every restaurant has some kind of deal on mai tais and drafts. The bigger challenge, however, is finding the places with good meal deals, too. We've rounded up a few Aloha Hours, as they're sometimes dubbed on Maui, that gave us the best bang for our buck.

Top West Maui Happy Hours | The Brave Little Cheesehead at bravelittlecheesehead.com

Down the Hatch | Arguably the best we found in West Maui, Down the Hatch boasts the longest Happy Hour on the island. It happens daily from 2 to 6 p.m. with $5 pina coladas, daiquiris and mai tais, or $4 Coors and Blue Moon. To top it all off, they take 20% off apps, including their kalua pork quesadilla and mermaid fries, which are shoestring fries smothered in cheese, chopped bacon, and lava lava sauce (a spicy aioli). I assure you, you'll think of these mermaid fries long after Maui. I could use some right now... If you still have the belly space left (good luck), swing by Breakwall, their sister business, for boozy shave ice, too. It's just $5! Steal. of. a. deal. And one of he best ideas I've ever heard of.

Maui Brewing Co. | Take a break from the sun and swing by Maui Brewing Co. for a dynamite HH menu. We're talking nachos, smothered tots, flatbreads... You name it. I also recommend their $12 beer flight. Being a fan of mostly light brews, I picked the Bikini Blonde Lager, Pineapple Mana Wheat, La Perouse White, Pau Hana Pilsner, Lemongrass Saison, and the Coconut Hiwa. All great choices; it was too hard to choose a favorite.

Aloha Mixed Plate | This place may as well be an all-day HH, by Maui price standards. Get a massive plate lunch of sliced teriyaki beef or shoyu chicken and two scoops of white rice and mac salad, all for just $11 a plate. Not bad, especially paired with a $2 beer. (Note: they offer other entree choices, but these were the two we liked most.)

Kimo's | Lobster sliders, BBQ beef ribs, macadamia nut calamari, kalua pork cheese fries, Thai style chicken bites, and potato skins all between $4 and $6. Not bad! Again, draft beers at $5 and you can get the Kimo's Lahaina Lemonade for just $6. 

Sea House Restaurant | Originally, we eyed up this place because of their Maui onion and cheese soup (think: French onion, but four kinds of onions, including sweet Maui onions). Sadly, all the rain during our stay sent travelers to Sea House in droves, and they cleared them out of onion soup. While this wasn't the most impressive HH menu (or meal) we found, the views are worth the visit alone. Overall, the menu's pretty good, but the prices are the real selling point. 

Lahaina Fish Co. | They had us at $5 mai tais, but we were also suckered in to trying the seafood chowder and strawberry goat cheese salad. Plus, those sunset views from their upper balcony are hard to beat.

Leilani's | Like many HHs in West Maui, Leilani's doesn't have a HH food menu. But the Leilani's fish tacos are the ones that everyone won't stop talking about. Truth be told, it's not even the fish that makes them so great, it's the sauce. You'll have to specially request it, maybe after a few rounds of $7 HH speciality cocktails. Keep in mind, parking in this area is rough. Leilani's is tucked between the fancy hotels and shops of Whaler's Village. Our suggestion is to park in one of the public garages and then swing by ABC Stores to pick up a few mid-trip necessities and then they'll validate your parking pass. Win-win!

Nick's Fish Market Maui | Filet. Mignon. Sliders. It may be worth fighting for elbow room at this restaurant's bar to get your mitts on some of those. Keep in mind, this is not the most laid back HH. It's at a Fairmont hotel restaurant, exclusively hosted at the bar, and it happens during common dinner hours (5-7 p.m.). Consider that your warning.

Oh and, for the Front Street dining recs, be sure to check their websites or call ahead about parking. Some validate for specific lots in the area. Given rare street parking opportunities near Front Street, this is sure to save you a few hangry outbursts. Not that I would know or anything...

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