Pair your pint with house made savory pot pies at Village Bottle Shop and Tasting Room in Kaka‘ako.
: Kaka‘ako
Text & Images By
IJfke Ridgley

Emerging Kaka‘ako

Stretching from Ala Moana Center to downtown Honolulu, the historically industrial area of Kaka‘ako was largely overlooked by locals and travelers until a handful of years ago, when boutiques and restaurants began cropping up. Young creatives have transformed the neighborhood into a destination for art festivals, night markets, and food-truck gatherings, while new condominiums and shopping complexes offer added draws. Here are some of our favorite spots in the neighborhood:

Assorted arrangement of plants in Paiko at Kaka‘ako
Assorted flowers in Paiko at Kaka‘ako
When Tamara Rigney and Courtney Monahan were looking to open a floral design and plant store in 2012, they were charmed by Kaka‘ako. Five years later, their botanical boutique on Auahi Street draws visitors to the area and bustles with customers looking for that special green gift. A quick venture indoors reveals a curated selection of local flowers and foliage to pick from, supplied by farmers throughout the Islands. If you want to get your hands dirty, the shop also has a bar where you can assemble your own terrarium, and a variety of workshops for making succulent gardens and Instagram-worthy flower crowns.
Plated toasted made in Arvo at Kaka‘ako
Since Mason and Dixie Rose opened their café last years, its has been the go-to place for the young and trendy crowd. Nestled inside flower shop Paiko, Arvo is known for its Australian-inspired menu, including flat whites and avocado toast with Vegemite. Order a lavender latte from the takeout window and sit outside under a beach umbrella. Mornings are best, as the café closes at 3 p.m.
Fishcake, a co-working studio found in Kaka‘ako
Fishcake was one of the first businesses to take advantage of Kaka‘ako’s central location and warehouse space. This design mecca encompasses a furniture store, a co-working space, a studio for clothing designers, and an exhibit gallery. Locals and tourists flock to the store for special, one-of-a-kind pieces by Hawai‘i designers.
A guest of The HI Brau Room enjoying a pint of beer.
Aloha Beer / The Hi Brau Room
Aloha Beer has an indoor taproom and outdoor carport where 12 beers brewed on the premises are served. It also serves specialty cocktails made with a flavor profile that reflects the brewery setting, including fat-washed bourbon and housemade syrups. The menu—which features hearty dishes like bratwurst and smoked pork loin—was designed by chef and pork connoisseur Robert McGee specifically to be paired with Aloha Beer brews. Come for a lively happy hour with the after-work and after-surf crowd, and stay for something more sophisticated at the upstairs lounge, The Hi Brau Room. Hidden in the factory space of the brewery, the speakeasy serves beer, but has a cocktail focus. With only 45 seats, no reservations, and no standing room, the venue favors those who arrive early.
Head over to Uproll Café for healthy lunch options.
UpRoll Café
Looking for a healthy lunch option? Head to UpRoll Café. Popular with the downtown work crowd craving poke bowls, this corner spot is known for its “sushi burritos,” jumbo servings of rice, greens, and meats—including ‘ahi, pork, miso, and teriyaki chicken—wrapped in nori. If you’re an early riser, its breakfast sandwiches made with butter popovers are not to be missed.
Enjoy a variety of meals served at Moku Kitchen
Moku Kitchen
The latest outpost of chef Peter Merriman’s successful restaurant empire—and the only one not set in a resort—Moku Kitchen aims to bring the taste and quality of upcountry living to an urban setting. The menu is seasonal and changes often, featuring everything from burgers to dim sum to roasted squash ravioli, which is a current bestseller. The daily happy hour from 3 to 5:30 p.m. is a popular occasion, followed by live music.
Pair your pint with house made savory pot pies at Village Bottle Shop and Tasting Room in Kaka‘ako.
Village Bottle Shop and Tasting Room
Village Bottle Shop is the place for beer aficionados. It serves an ever-changing selection of 16 beers on tap, and stocks bottles and cans of many Hawai‘i beers, including favorites like Maui Brewing Co., Beer Lab, and Waikiki Beer. Further selection can be found in its bottle shop, which carries 500 types of beers and ciders to go. Pair your pint with the house-made savory pot pies, or bring your own food from any Salt complex vendor to enjoy with one of its eight wines on draft. The modern, airy space is also a popular destination for Monday night trivia.
Paiko's and Arvo's newest neighbor Milo, and discover new clothing pieces and accessories.
This surf boutique is the new roommate of Paiko and Arvo. Peruse its well-curated selection of local Hawai‘i brands mixed with favorites from California and Australia, including the new clothing line of surf icon Kelly Slater, Outerknown. Opened by Hawai‘i Island-raised Jake Mizuno, Milo focuses on the full travel and adventure lifestyle, offerings go beyond mere boardshorts and bikinis to include printed wetsuits from Seea and backpacks from Patagonia.
The district's art murals beautify the streets with splashes of color and creativity
Pow! Wow! Hawaii art murals
It is impossible to walk the streets of Kaka‘ako without noticing the towering murals of Pow! Wow! Hawai‘i. This weeklong street art festival continues to change the landscape of the district. Artists gather here from near and far every February to leave their marks on warehouses and storefronts, bolstering the reputation of Kaka‘ako as being the creative center of Honolulu. Founded by Hawai‘i locals Jasper Wong and Kamea Hadar, Pow! Wow! has now expanded to various cities around the world, including Long Beach, Taiwan, and Hong Kong.
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