It’s not that difficult to make a really good sports bar. There are, in the main, just three requirements.
First, that it offer patrons a chance to watch sports. That means it has to have televisions. Not a department store’s worth of televisions—just enough to allow a couple different game selections at a time. Slick plasma screens are nice, but not required.
Second, the really good sports bar must be a good bar. That means a solid selection of beer and a comfortable atmosphere. The operative word in the last sentence is “comfortable”—some owners interpret this to mean “hang a lot of sports-related junk on the walls,” which is really cool, but not really comfortable.
And lastly, the really good sports bar has great grinds. And in the U.S., that translates into one word: pizza. Nothing makes watching March Madness, NBA games or even baseball spring training better than the simultaneous gulping of topping-heavy pizza slices.
Which brings me to Pizza Madness, located in the Maui Dive Shop building in Kihei. Open for about two months on an island rapidly filling with sports bars, Pizza Madness is a really good sports bar.
The place is rather dark and makes for the great TV viewing (there are three plasma screens placed throughout the restaurant).
The walls hint at the heavy timbers of an old wooden ship, but the biggest surprise was the artworks that adorn the place. Giant sharks, octopi and fish hang above patrons’ heads, all carved from Styrofoam but looking more like bronze. It’s a nice touch that these apocryphal creatures are all hungrily consuming pizza slices.
The Pizza Madness menu contains all the usual items for a place like this: hot and cold subs, spaghetti, Antipasto salads, garlic bread, chicken wings (a plate of about 10 wings, served with Buffalo sauce and ranch dressing, costs a mere $5) and pizza.
There are four diameters, ranging from “Mini” to 16-inch. No surprises in the toppings (they have meatballs!) or the sauce (it’s handmade, as are all their sauces and dressings). The crust is thin, except at the edges where it thickens into a nice, soft handle.
The other day my buddy Ron and I went after work. We ordered a plate of wings, a 16-inch pie (pepperoni and green peppers) and a couple beers (which come in 12-oz glasses or “tall” 22-oz steins).
We watched a little basketball, drank a little beer (okay, we ordered the tall glasses) and consumed a great deal of pizza. Except for the fact that there were no Laker Girls sitting with us, it was a perfect evening. MTW