- Jonathan Stern
In recent years, Honolulu’s Chinatown has grown into one of the most vibrant neighborhoods in all of Hawaii. With so much going on here, there’s little surprise at the sheer number of great bars the area boasts. Here’s our list of the 10 best spots to grab a drink in Chinatown.
Beer fanatics in Honolulu should look no further than Bar 35, the Chinatown hotspot has been offering more than 200 brews from 20 different countries for some time. In addition to the huge beer selection on tap, there are plenty of classic and specialty cocktails to choose from. The bar’s black counter tops combine with the flourishes of bright red of the stools to give the space a sleek and modern look. Bar 35 is also known for its delicious fusion gourmet pizzas that combine flavors from all around the world.
Address and telephone number: 35 N Hotel Street, Honolulu, Hawaii, USA, +1 808 537 3535
Murphy’s Bar and Grill
Housed in a historic building originally known as the Royal Hotel, Murphy’s Bar and Grill provides Chinatown with a taste of the Irish homeland. Open since 1987, the bar serves up a bevy of unique beers, including a couple of Hawaiian brews but of course, no Irish pub is complete without Guinness on tap too. On St. Patrick’s Day, Murphy’s goes all-out: the celebration is billed as the grandest in the Pacific!
Address and telephone number: 2 Merchant Street, Honolulu, Hawaii, USA, +1 808 531 0422
There seems to always be something going on at The Manifest, whether its a live DJ spinning late night beats or the poetry reading every third Monday of the month (before heading out, just take a quick peak at the events calendar). Regardless of the goings-on, patrons can expect to be served delicious and inventive cocktails at this hip bar. Try the Movielife concoction: a refreshing combo of gin, maraschino, lemon, orange, kiawe and pineapple bitters.
Address & telephone number: 32 North Hotel Street, Honolulu, Hawaii, USA, +1 808 744 8238
O’Toole’s Irish Pub
Another Chinatown joint that shares a taste of Ireland, O’Toole’s Irish Pub has all the charm of a small neighborhood joint. Each weekend, patrons can enjoy live music played by the Doolin Rakes band. And for those with a witty side, there’s a Guinness toast and joke contest that runs throughout most of the year; share your most clever or profound toast with the crowd and you may end up winning trip to Las Vegas!
Address & telephone number: 902 Nuuanu Avenue, Honolulu, Hawaii, USA, +1 808 536 4138
The Dragon Upstairs
Yes, to get to The Dragon Upstairs, you will actually have to go up a flight of stairs because this excellent, relaxing jazz bar is located above Hank’s Cafe and is tastefully decorated in a vibrant Asian style. Customers can expect to hear some of the best tunes in Honolulu here, as this spot attracts the top jazz musicians in town. Also, the great selection of wines doesn’t hurt!
Address & telephone number: 1038 Nuuanu Ave., Honolulu, Hawaii, USA, +1 808 526 1410
Smith’s Union Bar
Dive bar lovers will feel right at home at this Chinatown hole-in-the-wall, where it still feels like the 1930s. There’s a good reason Smith’s Union Bar has that old school feel: it’s actually the oldest bar on the island, having been established in 1934. Visitors should not be surprised to make new friends within a few minutes of walking in and there is also a good chance you’ll be singing karaoke in no time at all.
Address & telephone number: 19 N Hotel St, Honolulu, Hawaii, USA, +1 808 538 9145
Proof Public House
Interesting pizza pies, craft cocktails and a pool table in a friendly no-frills atmosphere: these are the staples of Proof Public House, a great spot for some late-night eats or a chilled hangout. The specialty pizzas rotate on a weekly basis and include some unique creations, such as the mac and cheese pie or the “Hotel Street”, topped with chicken adobo, kalalau pig and cabbage. This certainly isn’t your typical pizza joint, that’s for sure.
.Address & telephone number: 1154 Fort St. Mall # 10, Honolulu, Hawaii, USA, +1 808 537 3080
Pizza reigns supreme at J.J. Dolan’s, a Chinatown bar with a witty sense of humor. Look no further than one of the bar’s slogans: “Pizza and beer. Cheaper than therapy and way more delicious.” Go for a signature New York-style pie or create your own with the long list of available ingredients, from anchovies to tomatoes.
Address & telephone number: 1147 Bethel Street, Honolulu, Hawaii, USA, +1 808 537 4992
A bar, lounge and nightclub all rolled into one, Eleven44 is a hip spot to see and be seen in Honolulu’s Chinatown. The best DJs in town spin here on the weekend evenings, when the atmosphere hits party mode. Order a signature cocktails and snack on some of the small bites, like the vegetable samosas or Swedish meatballs. During happy hour, the prices are some of the best in town!
Price: Mid-rangeOpening hours: Tues to Wed 5pm – 12am, Thurs 5pm – 1am, Fri 5pm – 2am, Sat 7pm – 2amWatch out for: The $5 happy hour bites.Address & telephone number: 1144 Bethel Street, Honolulu, Hawaii, USA, +1 808 528 1144
Downbeat Diner and Lounge
Downbeat Diner and Lounge is a full service bar and music venue. There is a wide selection of liquor to choose from, though the focus is on whiskeys, moonshines and locally sourced spirits. Many of the tasty drinks are made with Hawaiian ingredients, the “Mango + Ginger” cocktail is made with rye whiskey, fresh ginger, canton liqueur, mango syrup and lemon. Yum.
Address & telephone number: 42 N Hotel St, Honolulu, Hawaii, USA, +1 808 533 2328