The Honolulu Gastropub Movement

Front of Real A Gastropub in Kaaakako
Hawaii Aloha Travel > Blog > The Honolulu Gastropub Movement

The gastropub movement has taken hold in Hawaii, and in Honolulu particularly.
Begun in London, England back in the early nineties, it is a response to a demand for decent dining in a pub environment. It has since grown and spread around the world. The movement is so new that the word itself is not recognized by a word processing spell check.

[no_feature]Located at Ward Centers, between Waikiki and Downtown Honolulu, Real A Gastropub is one of the several Oahu establishments to have embraced the concept of pairing the beer culture with an imaginative and even whimsical approach to bar food. Take Real’s Buffalo Fried Deviled Egg, for example. Or the Garlic Candied Bacon. Real has won two prestigious Hale Aina Awards in 2014, one for Best Beer Program and the other for Best Bar Food.

[pull_quote_left]We’re trying to bring in beers that people never new about[/pull_quote_left] says Troy Terarotua, chef and Real A Gastropub owner of the beer menu. “We’re seeking them out.” Real brings in craft beers, made in smaller batches than domestic and imported beers typical of most pubs.

Dishes at Real, as at most gastropubs, are served tapa-style, which means you can try a variety of menu selections in appetizer proportions without breaking the bank. The savvy business model at Real A Gastropub is proving to be successful, as the owners plan will soon open a new restaurant, in the Kaimuki area, which is becoming a bastion for restaurateurs and diners with a mind toward imaginative cuisine.

There are several other fairly new gastropub establishments in Honolulu.

Dash Gastropub, located in McCully just outside of Waikiki, takes an Asia-Pacific approach to its dining menu, featuring items like Furukake Garlic Chicken and Beef Sashimi. Dash also offers a variety of craft wines, brews, and sakes that complement the deep menu.

Salt Bar & Kitchen in Kaimuki features dishes with many locally-sourced ingredients. The Chicken Fried Local Rabbit is certainly a bold attempt at creating something new to diners in Hawaii. The salted, dried and cured (and locally sourced, of course) pork menu and cheese board are very reasonably priced and subtly sophisticated. The beer menu is extensive for a small establishment, and features fine Belgian brews, some Maui Brewing selections, and even a big can of Pabst Blue Ribbon, if you like. And doesn’t a cocktail called the Broken Shoe Shiner, with Benedictine, aperol, absinthe, pine, and eggwhite sound intriguing?

Gastropub dining and drinking has become so popular in Honolulu and around the world, perhaps, because their menus are reflections of their owners sensibilities rather than a bottom line approach to sales. At a true gastropub, the menus have a personality. There are about a dozen exceptional places on Oahu that weren’t here five years ago, and more will no doubt take root in the future.