Do You Remember… Pau Hana Time

Remember back in da day when pau hana meant buying beer and other beverages – along with some ono pupus – and hanging out in the work parking lot partying until the sun went down?  That’s some you don’t see much of anymore.  Actually, you don’t see it at all anymore.

I remember when we used to cruise down Kewalo’s and had the rubbish truck yard there by Fisherman’s Wharf.  By noon time, the rubbish men were pau work and they’d be sitting on the side sucking ’em up.  And if was Friday, had one hibachi going and all the meats cooking on ‘um.

This one place that I worked at – during the evening shift – had a lot of warehouse workers.  There was a day shift and an evening shift – but on Fridays, both shifts worked during the day.  Pau hana Friday meant partying by the back draw gates with the full crew.  A couple of guys would make the beer run while the other guys made the pupu run.  And the office party girl would go on the beer run to pick up her bottle of white wine.

By the time I was heading out for my dinner break, the voices were louder and the laughing was much more.  Some eyes were bloodshot – IYKWIM.

Around 7:30, only the hardcore partiers were there (read; single guys).  The other guys had to get their paychecks home to the wives – to make up for coming home drunk.  lol

Once in awhile I’d sneak back there to talk story with the guys.  I was on the clock so I didn’t partake in any of the beverages.  And I remember this one time they were betting “He’s not coming back”.  I asked what’s going on and they said they gave money to this one guy who volunteered to go make a second beer run.  The guy took the money and never came back with the beer.  What!?!  I mean, he’s going to be facing these guys again come Monday morning!  But desperate times call for desperate measures, I guess.

I also recall this other place I worked.  We had a big Saturday celebration with hot dogs, balloons, soda, and free beer.  Can you imagine that – free beer?  By the end of the celebration there was an extra keg full of beer.  The workers did their darnedest to keep that keg cold for Monday pau hana.  Then Tuesday pau hana.  By Wednesday, the keg had to go back but the guys were so pickled already – I think they were happy to see it go.

Nowadays, what do the workers do for pau hana?  I guess there’s too much liability so employers don’t allow drinking on their property.  So what – the neighborhood bar it is.  But not quite the same.  No more bar-b-que smoking on the side, guys telling dirty jokes and talking all kine, the guy with the potent car stereo system providing the tunes, and the sun slowly setting as darkness begins to set in.

We had it good, didn’t we?

What pau hana stories or memories do you have?

18 Responses to “Do You Remember… Pau Hana Time”

  1. Kirk says:

    Now you have me homesick. I guess I was rather late to the Pau Hana thing. Our place; sometimes maybe four or five days of the weeks in the mid-80’s to the mid-90’s was 8 Fat Fat 8 or maybe Anyplace/Hibiscus Club. A few years back when I returned home I went back to “8 Fat” with some friends; Sy, the former owner passed away some years ago, but his daughter runs the place now. Things change and yet they remain the same…..

    • Rodney says:

      @Kirk – Thanks for sharing your pau hana memories. Bruno Mars’ mom used to work at 8 Fat, so I heard. Yup, that place is still kickin’ – as is Anyplace and Hibiscus Club.

      • Seawalker says:

        Sy told us he was named that because his Chinese name was a direction as in N, S, W, and E. Forget which direction he was named after. But could have been the East due to his heritage. Cool guy. Bought us beers on the house on more than 1 occasion. RIP, brother. And get that bar behind the pearly white gates ready for us!

  2. KC fan says:

    I used to work at a business at the airport. Workers drank a lot, sometimes no wait for Fridays. The office ladies too. Drinking age was 18 at that time. Got exposed to a beer called “Elephant beer” by a company named Carlsberg. If you can drink six, you are a man, was malt liquor if I remember. Also drank something called Zurich Lowenbrau. Pretty potent. Cannot drink like that now but was kinda hard driving home. Also was more affordable then.

  3. jaydee11 says:

    Back in ’72 I worked at this small furniture company in Pearl City, Wil’s. I was 17 at the time but “pau hana” Friday was every day, lol

    After work a group of guys would meet in the parking lot and kill a case of beer, Primo of course. I couldn’t hang with those guys… I was just a “young’n”.

  4. adobo says:

    Pau hana Fridays, and sometimes more than just Fridays. Be working until 5:00 to catch up on workload but at 5:00 go make the beer run and pupus. Back then could smoke in the office too. After that, off to the local bars for a few more. Steak, chicken yakitori served sizzling on those heated grills they bring to your table. Ward Center, Ward Warehouse, oyster shooters. Always had someplace with live music.

    • sameguydifferentchannel says:

      @adobo: Ward Center brought back a not so good memory…Compadres had a six pack sampler. Six assorted Mexican beers in a small galvanized bucket filled with ice. MISTAKE! At some point going through the six pack, there came a deeeep gurgle from within, followed by a sprint to the toilet! Oh boy, they say when in Mexico, don’t drink the water. I think that’s what they used to brew their beer!

  5. sameguydifferentchannel says:

    I currently work with guys who retired like me from the department. When we travel, we talk about drinking and partying all night if we were here in our twenties…then we return to our hotel rooms and the lights are out by 8:30 (zzzzzz) LOL!

  6. Mark Shelby says:

    I made a deal with a Lunch Wagon guy. He wanted to park his truck and sell plate lunch in back of my Marsh Company furniture outlet store on Kalani Street and Waiakamilo Road. I told him he can park and sell there for free if he gives all of my Employees a 1/2 Price plate lunch when they order! He said no problem.

    Then I asked him to go every Friday afternoon to my massive 50,000 square foot warehouse on Iwilie Road and sell half price Plate Lunch to all of my warehouse employees for Pau Hana! And he did that every Friday for me! Great guy!

    This was all in lieu of paying rent for parking and selling on my loading dock driveway. I love to Barter! It always works out good for both parties!

  7. sameguydifferentchannel says:

    Remember Beer Busts?
    Various fund raisers in the community, frat houses, fun runs, etc. sponsored them. Can remember going to a bunch of them.

    For several years I ran with a team in the Primo Relays, a relay race around Hawaii Kai. The real prize? Cold beer on tap!

  8. sameguydifferentchannel says:

    I was around 21 – 22 years old and still very early in my career when I’d go drinking with co-workers after work. It didn’t matter what shift we were working, all it took was for someone to go, “Psst,” and it was on. It was usually with the old timers who taught me how to drink Olys. (Pour the beer in a glass and cut the bitterness with a dash of salt)

    On the shift change, from midnight to the swing shift, our whole shift would be off that Saturday night. We had huge parties at that time…and I’ll leave it at that. Those parties ended sometime in the mid ’80s.

    At some point, I thought there has to be something more to life than drinking after work. That’s when I rediscovered my childhood hobby of building model cars. I think it saved my young life.

  9. 4G says:

    No real pau hana stories from me, but I have been watching a construction crew building a house near where I live. They party little bit after work. 😉

  10. GARETH says:

    Often stop by Ala Moana Mai Tai Bar for couple of pau hana drinks, before heading home. Nice open-air atmosphere, with live music. And beautiful waitresses in Polynesian wear.

  11. sally says:

    My pau hana was always going to the bowling alley.

    Gosh I sure hope everyone has a better story than that LOL!

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