You don’t have to attend many hearings to realize that the Maui County Liquor Commission doesn’t know a lot about the island’s bars. Some would say the appointed members of all Maui County Liquor Control boards should take extra effort to familiarize themselves with the establishments they permit to open and punish when violating the law.
They seem to be in no hurry, but on occasion they do succeed in turning their often-inexplicable ignorance into a bit of good humor. Their Sept. 7, 2005 hearing is a choice example.
The first public hearing of the day concerned Hawai’i Sea Spirits, a new Kahului company seeking a license to manufacture and sell bottled mixed drinks like Blue Hawaiian, White Russian, Harvey Wallbanger and so on. Anyway, owner Shay Smith had only been in the hot seat a couple minutes when Commissioner Manuel Moniz, Jr. looked up from the long list of proposed drinks.
“You’re selling Sex on the Beach?” he asked.
Smith looked at Moniz. “That’s one of our proposed drinks,” he said after some hesitation.
“Because I just wanted to let you know that’s another division,” Moniz said.
And his fellow commissioners chuckled. Oh, how they chuckled. They made a joke about sex on the beach! How delightfully naughty!
But they were just getting warmed up. The next case dealt with the liquor license transfer of Tiffany’s Bar & Grill in Wailuku. This time, Commissioner Curt Morimoto and Commission Vice Chair Joe Tanaka launched into a little routine.
“How often do you have live entertainment?” Morimoto asked owner Sun Orite, who was appearing with her attorney, famed LC legal eagle Lawrence Ing.
Orite said their establishment never had live entertainment.
“You don’t karaoke?” Tanaka asked with surprise.
“We do!” Orite said. “Oh, that’s what you meant by ‘live entertainment.’”
“As long as Mr. Ing doesn’t sing,” Tanaka responded to much laughter.
“It sounds like I’m dying,” Ing said, getting into the act.