I recently spent a few days in Honolulu. Though the rain kept me and a few friends off the beach we still managed to find the Aloha spirit (if Mai Tais and karaoke count). I couldn’t visit all the great stores and restaurants Honolulu has to offer, but here are a few finds to fill your time when you’re not on the beach or hiking through the island’s majestic scenery.
Where to Shop
In4mation serves fresh streetwear, limited edition Nikes, collectibles and t-shirts and makes clothing under their own label.
Kicks Hawaii, creators of the celebrated Aloha Dunk, have got the sneaker scene in a buzz with their newly opened second store near the Ala Moana center. Yuki and Keala (holding up a pair of hyperstrike Aloha Dunks) posed for a photo in front of the store.
Taylor has two stores. Taylor International features a large variety of Adidas sneakers and clothing. The other Taylor store was in the process of opening. The new space is a combination of two formerly separate shops, one featuring Honolulu’s best vintage clothing, the other a haven for sample sneakers and gear (pictured, right). These don’t come cheap, but it’s pretty satisfying to wear a pair that are yours exclusively for several months before they come out (if they are made at all).
Taylor International Adidas Store
2113 Kalakaua Avenue, Honolulu, HI
Taylor Vintage and Sneakers
2146 Kalakaua Avenue, 2nd floor, Honolulu, HI
If you’re in Hawaii to surf, check out the boards, clothing and gear at Local Motion, the largest surf shop in town. Want the surf report delivered to your mobile? Check out Waves R Calling to get up-to-the-minute conditions.
Up and Riding has two stores that cater exclusively to surfer kids.
Wear a bit of Aloha spirit with Bucket Clothing, which is designed and made in Hawaii.
If you’re in Oahu passing through to the Big island where you’re going to do a little boarding, or if you just want a souvenir for back home, check out Island Snow, Oahu’s snowboard, gear and clothing shop with three locations.
What to Eat and Drink
Locals recommend the coffee at Koko Crater Coffee Roasters
669 Auahi Street, Honolulu, HI 96813
Dozens of Japanese teas and soft drinks are available in every convenience store. They go well with the ubiquitous Macadamia nuts and Maui-style potato chips.
Looking for something a bit stronger? Try any of the several varieties of local beer from Kona Brewing Company.
A great place to start your evening is the sophisticated Lewers Lounge at the Halekulani Hotel. This first-rate lounge has the best cocktails in town. Have a drink here before or after dinner, or before hitting one of Honolulu’s many karaoke bars.
When in Honolulu you can’t pass up ramen or sushi. Purists will love Sushi Sasabune, sister restaurant of Sushi Sasabune in Los Angeles. When you eat here you eat what the chef wants you to eat; no ordering allowed. Another local favorite is Yanagi Sushi. For ramen that fuels locals and Japanese tourists alike, try Ramen Ezogiku, the original ramen restaurant of Honolulu, now with several locations.
For some of the best contemporary Hawaiian cuisine head to Chef Mavro where you’ll enjoy fresh local ingredients prepared with style and focus on flavor. Our table loved the chef’s menu with wine pairings and the view of several Lost cast members at the table behind us.
Another dining style growing in popularity is the Japanese-style tapas restaurant. I had hoped to make it to the much-recommended Momomo but they were closed the night we tried to go. Hiroshi was open and won me over with its kona kampachi sashimi, arare crusted soft shell crab and delicately prepared Butter fish. This concept is certain to catch on stateside.
Where to Stay
There are dozens hotels in Honolulu, but only one place to stay: The Halekulani is first class across the board. You won’t find better food or service in town. True, it will break the bank to stay there, but it’s worth every penny. A view from the terrace is pictured below.