Rice Fest Hawaii 2014

Rice lovers gathered Sunday at Ward Centers for Rice Fest Hawaii 2014. The annual event featured all kinds of rice dishes, local musicians and a Spam musubi eating contest. An attempt was also made to create the world’s largest loco moco.

Rice Fest Hawaii 2014

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Photo by Eric Baranda

Party pics: Bevy One Year Anniversary

Bevy’s owners Christian Self and Timo Lee celebrated the neighborhood bar’s one-year anniversary Saturday night, featuring signature drinks and dishes and DJs providing the entertainment.

Bevy ONE Year Anniversary

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Party pics: Endless Summer Social Soiree

Summer lingered on at eleven44 with the Endless Summer Social Soiree, hosted by Fun in the 808. Guests were encouraged to dress in stylish South Beach attire to fit the theme. Drink specials were available throughout the night, with various DJs providing entertainment.

Endless Summer Social Soiree

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Something new: Surrender Bar and Grill

IMG_0050The first thing you notice when you walk into Surrender, Honolulu’s newest pau hana/sports bar, is the red. It’s everywhere — on the walls, the menus and even the staff is decked out in the signature crimson. It definitely sets the tone for the place, which is lively, yet chill.

Located at the corner of Keeaumoku and Young streets, Surrender is a cool addition to the city’s bar/lounge scene, with potential for more boisterous entertainment as the night progresses and drinks flow. It’s owned by Michael Chong and Annie Nguyen, who decided to open up a place in town where they can mix work and play.

Karaoke available for $1 per song.

Karaoke available for $1 per song.

As far as drinks, the bar is well stocked with daily specials, but there are no signature drinks yet. The food was a pleasant surprise, with lamb, oysters, fried chicken, jumbo shrimp and more on the menu. There’s also public karaoke in the lounge for $1 per song. A private karaoke room is also available free of charge with seating for roughly six people, possibly more if everyone gets friendly. Current pop hits and Japanese songs are available, along with classic karaoke staples.

Michael Chong and Annie Nguyen.

Michael Chong and Annie Nguyen.

Overall, what I liked about Surrender is that it blends swanky with casual. While the decor is contemporary and hip — with hardwood floors, red walls and colorful lighting that’s reminiscent of a trendy Asian bar — it has a relaxed, welcoming local vibe. It’s the kind of place sports fans in t-shirts and shorts would come to catch the games, and settle comfortably next to someone decked in cocktail attire. They might event sing karaoke together.

Some things to note, however: Although there is air conditioning, the lounge was on the warm side. I would imagine it could get pretty hot and humid in there when crowded. Parking is also issue, with only seven parking stalls available, although there are plans for another parking lot. Street parking is also available on Young Street.

Here’s a look at some of the food available and the scene at Wednesday’s media night:

Surrender Bar and Grill

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Cutta Fire, Oysters Rockefeller garnished with masago and green onion, $10. The dish comes out on fire, literally. The oysters have a delicate taste, complemented by the texture of the masago. Bits of what tasted like shredded crab added a flavorful kick.

Surrender Bar and Grill
1108 Keeaumoku St.
Hours: 5 p.m.-2 a.m. daily
During football season, they are open on Mondays at 2 p.m. for Monday Night Football.

Party pics: Fresh Hawaiian Nights @ Fresh Café Downtown

Yelp elites and their plus twos partied for pau hana at Fresh Cafe Downtown on Monday for Yelp’s Fresh Hawaiian Nights. The party featured samples of Fresh Cafe dishes such as bacon wrapped mushrooms and fried avocados, along with both a DJ and live music. The theme for the evening was aloha attire.

Yelp's Fresh Hawaiian Nights @ Fresh Café Downtown

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