Mahiko Lounge offers drinks and grinds in the comfort of a living room

LIHU‘E — Don’t feel like leaving the comfort of your living room to enjoy a cocktail? No problem.

The newly-opened Mahiko Lounge is in the Kilohana Plantation, but offers  the comforts of a historic mansion, including a roaring fire.

During a recent trip to the historic plantation, General Partner Fred Atkins and Marketing Manager Robin Velasquez met me at the Mahiko Lounge, which used to be the former bar at Gaylord’s restaurant.

“(The Mahiko Lounge) has been a living room since 1935. And we took over in 1985. Then we opened it to the public in 1986,” Atkins said. “The bar for (Gaylord’s) was located across from the living room, and it’s what we used up until three months ago. We took over the restaurant 14 to 15 months ago and people walked in the living room in the middle of the day and there wasn’t a lot of life to it, so we turned it into Mahiko Lounge and have received a lot of good feedback.”

Velasquez pointed out the lounge retains the integrity of the history of Kilohana, and the decor used was keeping that history in mind.

Mahiko, in Hawaiian, means sugar plantation. Because of Kilohana Plantation’s history with the sugar industry, Atkins thought it appropriate to name the lounge Mahiko.

“It really represented what this room is — a sugar plantation,” Atkins said. “This is where I’m sure they had plenty social gatherings when they had it as a home.”

The lounge is furnished with original furniture imported from Gaylord and Ethel Wilcox, plus other pieces that match the feel of the 1930s. Black and white photographs adorn the walls showcasing Hawaiian musicians as well as photographs of Kaua‘i’s famous and past landmarks.

The combination of sophisticated decor and beautiful scenery make the lounge a popular watering hole.

However, there’s another ingredient to mix in that marvelous combination — the grinds.

From Monday to Saturday, from 4 to 5:30 p.m., Mahiko Lounge serves five pupus for $5: Coconut Shrimp, Beef Satay, Kalua Pork Quesadilla, Mahiko Hot Wings and Edamame and Cashews.

During my visit, the folks of Mahiko Lounge served Beef Satay, Kalua Pork Quesadilla and Mahiko Hot Wings.

The Beef Satay was tender to say the least — brown on the outside, red on the inside and easy to chew. It was marinated with spicy teriyaki peanut sauce and it came with five pieces of skewered beef.  

The Kalua Pork Quesadilla was layered with tomatoes, green and regular onions, and topped off with avocado cream. Kalua pork was evenly spread inside of the tortilla, which made every bite more the merrier as I continued to sample it.

The Mahiko Hot Wings was a bit more mild than I expected. Regardless, the spicy sugar cane glaze that generously covered every inch of the three wings more than made up for the lack of spicy taste.

Mahiko Lounge, located on 3-2087 Kaumuali‘i Highway in Kilohana Plantation, is open Monday to Saturday. Happy Hour is from 4 to 5:30 p.m. Gaylord’s serves lunch from 11 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., dinner from 5:30 to 9:30 p.m. and Sunday brunch from 9 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. For more information call 245-9593.

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