I’ve found a new favorite hangout in Kihei and I wasn’t even looking for one. The bar formerly known as Tip-Ups has reinvented itself magnificently as Diamonds Ice Bar and Grill, creating a super chill zone in the corner of Azeka Mauka on South Kihei Road. The new furniture hints at cozy lodge décor; dark woods and leather abound, with rustic brick floors and open-beam wood ceilings. An upstairs lounge—replete with cushy couches, soft seats and a private bar—overlooks the dance floor. The bar retains its beautiful bass guitar-inspired shape, but feels more at home with its new surroundings, especially the frost bar that freezes over, creating ideally cold conditions for beer—much needed in the heat of Kihei.
A Sunday afternoon at the bar is spent chatting with friends, making some new ones and eating excellent food. The Bloody Mary, expertly prepared by bartender Erica (pictured), started my lunch off on the right note. I offered the guys sitting at the bar next to me some sneak preview tastes of my pupus. The first gentleman, who claimed to not like spinach, devoured the spinach artichoke dip—baked artichoke hearts and cheeses served with toasted and seasoned French bread—and offered a concise verdict: “really good.” The other guy powered down the wings that come in two flavors: fried crispy for dipping into the spicy hot sauce and creamy ranch dressing, or smothered in teriyaki glaze and garnished with sesame seeds. My spinach salad was spectacular, filled with crumbled blue cheese and topped with walnuts; the dressing added the right depth.
The juicy Maui cattle burger passed the husband test, and disappeared in less than a minute. The ribs fell off the bone as they should and the barbecue sauce complemented the meat without overwhelming.
I soaked up the Sunday company of new friends while embracing the classy atmosphere of Diamonds. Notable accoutrements include a dartboard, shuffleboard, pool tables and other games, plus plenty of flat screen TVs for the sports enthusiasts.
The latest incarnation of 1279 South Kihei Road is a good one—so good it’s easy to forget what was here before. Maui Time Weekly, Jen Russo