You could possibly be forgiven if you mistook the low-profile building in the off-harbor area of Port Allen for a warehouse of some sort, but at most times of the day, the number of autos parked along Waialo Rd. tell a different story.
Approaching a doorway near the nearly half-story high “Kaua’i Island Brewery & Grill” sign it is easy to see the neon sign in the window brightly proclaiming ‘Game Room’.
But wait- entering the bar/dining area, there is no sign of a ‘game room’ either visual or auditory, so we took the sensible route and asked for a menu and ordered a brew to better assess the situation. Choosing your drink might be the most difficult, but at the same time easiest, decision you make during your visit to Kauai Island Brewery and Grill.
The far wall above the grill shows the beverages of the day – selections the day we visited included Lilikoi Ale, Leiani Light, South Pacific Brown, Captain Cook’s IPA and Cane Fire Red, to name but a few.
The printed beer menus on each table list their Kauai Island Brewery’s house made beers with a full description. Can’t decide? 5.5 Oz “sampler sizes” are available for any and all beers.
Kauai Island Brewing Company’s slogan is ‘Last Beer Before Tomorrow’ which is a reference to the Hawai’ian Islands proximity to the international date line.
The luncheon menu has a lot of great choices; Terri ordered the Kalua Pork sandwich topped with provolone cheese and BBQ sauce, while I had the house made veggie burger, which I must comment was unlike any that I have ever had anywhere.
Our sandwiches came with french fried potatoes which appeared to be ‘double fried’. Waffle fries are apparently available also but we did not see them on the menu. Sandwiches also come with ‘Java Slaw’ which had a unique flavor and texture.
After our lunch we asked the server “Where are the games?” to which he pointed up into a darkened loft area. Intrepid investigation found a change machine and the pinball tables – all turned off. We learned that they are normally ‘off’ and customers are asked to turn them on and off as needed. I wondered if the average person ‘off-the-street’ would know where the power switches was on a pinball?
The upstairs loft area overlooks Waialo Road and had a scenic view of the harbor if you were standing in just the right location. I could imagine the locals using this as their Saturday night command centre while enjoying a brew or five.
Now on to the games. There were six on site when we visited, one of which was being repaired, which left more pins available to play than any other site that we found during our Hawai’i travels.
The games at Kauai Island Brewery and Grill were:
- Creature from the Black Lagoon (1992, Bally/Midway) which was designed by John Trudeau and has a 1950s drive-in movie theme. I have never seen this game before in-the-wild and it was a pleasure to be able to play it for 50 cents per game.
- Monopoly (2001, Stern) which was designed by Pat Lawlor and as you might expect, is based on the board game of the same name. It was 50 cents per game also.
- X-Men (2012, Stern) was designed by John Borg and has visual as well as play aspects from the Marvel comic books and the movies that were based on the comic characters. It is 75 cents per play or 3 games for $2.
- Indiana Jones (1993, Williams) was a Mark Ritchie design with themes from the first three theatrical movies. This machine has an optional shaker. It is set at $1 per game.
- The Wizard of Oz (2013, Jersey Jack) was being serviced so we were not able to play or examine it for condition. We were told it is the newest game in the house so I would expect it would play like a new game.
- Star Trek (2013, Stern) was designed by Steve Ritchie and is based on characters and themes from the recent movie ‘reboot’ of the Star Trek television series franchise. It is set at $1 per game.
As briefly mentioned above, there is a dollar bill change machine near the games for those that only accept quarters.
There is little to say about these games other than they are in immaculate condition and play like brand new. It is obvious that they have been cared for very well and are maintained to be in tip-top shape.
Due to many factors – not the least of which is lack of trained pinball mechanics – the pinball machine is a rare sight indeed in the 50th of the United States. We were told that an arcade chain on O’ahu removed all of the pinball games that they had within the last year due to difficulty with service and obtaining parts. The high humidity and proximity to the ocean probably plays havoc with mechanical parts of games also.
Our visit to Kauai Island Brewery and Grill was a glimpse at one of the last of a handful of sites in the Hawai’ian islands still offering pinball.
If you are in the area I would encourage you to visit Kauai Island Brewery and Grill; if not for the games, then for the refreshments.