Our Top 5: Brunches at bars

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Brunches at bars and night spots is a definite thing. After all, what's more satisfying than comfort food at your favorite watering hole on a Sunday morning? These five brunches may not be totally traditional, but they're worth getting out of bed for.

The Croque madame has hearty strips of bacon, béchamel, sunny side-up egg and fried rosemary atop a buttermilk biscuit, plus hand-cut fries or market greens.

No. 5: Smith & Kings

Eat: Smith & Kings certainly pulls out all the stops at brunch. If you’re stuck, some of the most popular items are the brunch burger ($18) and Bloody Mary biscuit ($17).

The croque madame's ($14) crispy bacon, oozing béchamel, yolky egg and moist, tender biscuit are the definition of brunch. It’s loaded with savory flavors, and the peppery, addictive fries on the side are to die for.

Drink: The Mimosa Pitcher ($13) mixes champagne and your choice of two juices. Guava and lilikoi are the most popular, but you can pick from flavors like lemonade, cranberry, Pog, pineapple and more. Oh — did I mention the juices are bottomless? Yep.

Smith & Kings • 69 N. King St. • Downtown • 537-2222 • Brunch Saturday and Sunday 10 a.m.-3 p.m.

 

The Mediterranean eggs benedict ($13.95) comes with nuts, avocado, garlic and basil-roasted hummus. Who knew that veggies could be this tasty?

No. 4: Uncle Bo's Haleiwa

Eat: Uncle Bo’s Haleiwa location takes brunch to the next level. I’m talking items like PB & Yay! Pizza (yes, that’s a peanut butter and jelly pizza drizzled with chocolate sauce) and a cookies and cream-themed waffle. If you want something savory, choose the Mediterranean eggs benedict.

I’m by no means a vegetarian, but this flavorful plate makes me forget about meat. The garlic and basil-roasted hummus is a game changer. Days later, I’m still craving it. The mixed greens leave me feeling guilt-free, and the side of potatoes is great for mopping up the last drips of egg yolk and hummus.

Drink: The easy-to-drink Hokulani ($10) is a go-to cocktail with fresh citrus. Mango Mui ($10) is a classic martini with house-made hibiscus syrup, and the Whiskey Smash ($2 add-on) is not for the faint of heart. It’s basically your preferred whiskey enhanced with flavors like fresh lemon, mint and homemade herbal tea syrup smashed together.

No matter what, save room for Uncle Bo’s signature Hobos ($7.95). One bite and these beignets will make you wish you skipped your entrée and went straight to dessert. The piping hot fritters and luscious ice cream create a juxtaposition that works amazingly well.

Hobos come with warm, fluffy taro beignets, house-made vanilla ice cream and thick, creamy haupia sauce that's perfect for dipping.

It’s too bad Uncle Bo’s Kapahulu doesn’t serve brunch. If they did, I would so be there.

Uncle Bo's Haleiwa • 66-111 Kam. Hwy. • Haleiwa • 797-9649 • Brunch daily 10 a.m.-3 p.m.

 

This ain’t your traditional chicken and waffles. This Chicken n waffle sammie ($12) is waffle-battered chicken tenders tossed in buffalo syrup and topped with shredded lettuce in a grilled brioche bun.

No. 3: Pint + Jigger

Eat: This Moiliili gastropub has burgers on their brunch menu, but other favorites include a sinfully sweet French toast bread pudding ($10), a croissant breakfast sandwich ($10) and double-cut frittata ($12). As soon as I see chicken and waffles, I’m sold.

Fried chicken is glorious by itself, but P+J’s version is coated in waffle batter for extra crispiness. The buffalo syrup (there’s lots of it) adds a good kick, and the brioche bun is toasted just right.

Drink: Bloody Mary’s ($10-11) are popular during brunch; there’s even one with kim chee and sriracha. The Lilikoi Collins ($9) uses house-made lilikoi soda.

If you don’t have time for brunch during the weekend, you can hit up P+J for $4 Mimosa Mondays. There's also a burger and beer combo for $14.

Pint + Jigger • 1936 S. King St. • Moiliili • 744-9593 • Brunch Saturday and Sunday 8 a.m.-3 p.m.

 

Housemade biscuits & gravy ($12) comes with country gravy, sausage and scallions.

No. 2: Wang Chung's

Eat: This Waikiki karaoke bar serves brunch every Sunday starting at 10 a.m. The menu changes periodically but you can find things like the Eggs in the Basket Manwich — made with avocado, bacon and tomato — and Huevos banditos with a homemade flour tortilla.

Talk about comfort food. The biscuits are covered completely by a sea of hearty gravy full of tasty sausage chunks, which is a good thing — there’s enough bread to mop up all that liquid. The biscuits are warm, flaky, buttery — what I would expect to find in any southern kitchen.

Drink: If you want something sweet to complement your savory food, choose the hibiscus flavor (if it’s available). For something more refreshing, go with lilikoi.

Wang Chung’s mimosa pitchers ($20) use frozen juice cubes; flavors like calamansi and apricot rosemary change every week. For the first hour of brunch, they're half-price, so being the early bird definitely has its perks.

Wang Chung's • 2424 Koa Ave. • Waikiki • 201-6369 • Brunch Sunday 10 a.m.-1 p.m.

 

The BrunCHonga ($13) is a large, deep-fried burrito stuffed with sausage, bacon, scrambled eggs, hash browns and cheese. It’s served with fresh guac, sour cream and roasted tomato salsa.

No. 1: Taps & Apps

Eat: To say Taps & Apps’ brunch menu is loaded is an understatement. This Mililani spot features items like a loco moco brunch burger (made with hash browns, bacon, cheese, sriracha mayo, brown gravy, a fried egg and a half-pound burger patty) and a sweet-and-savory sandwich made with Hawaiian sweet bread French toast. That’s just scratching the surface.

But the winner here is the BrunCHonga, a glorious burrito-chimichanga hybrid.

Holy mole guacamole. Ever since I moved back to Hawaii from San Diego, I’m always on the hunt for satisfying breakfast burritos. This one’s my new fav.

Each bite is an explosion of savory flavors. I love the sausage chunks, interspersed with crispy bacon. The melted cheese melds the hash browns together, and the scrambled eggs are fluffy. The best part is the homemade guac. The secret? Lots of garlic. And the roasted tomato salsa is delicious. Let’s just say I ate myself into a food coma with this one. Just. Couldn’t. Stop.

Half of the burrito, in proportion to my face. $13 well spent.

Drink: Check out the $5 drink specials, including T&A’s house Bloody Mary, wine and mimosas (I recommend strawberry-pineapple). If you’re into craft beer, beer flights ($16) make decision-making easy.

Taps & Apps • 95-1830 Meheula Pkwy. • Mililani • 626-8277 • Brunch Saturday 11 a.m.-3 p.m. and Sunday 10 a.m.-3 p.m.