Something new: Cafe Maru

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People familiar with the old Geisha House on Kapiolani Boulevard have been wondering what took its place. (It’s turned over a few times over the years, so some of you may remember it as Emerald City.) Well, after looking at some of the interesting instagram photos that Cafe Maru — the bar’s new persona — has been posting, I thought I should check it out.

Is it a hostess bar? The photos seem to hint at it, but since opening quietly a month ago, they have been promoting their fresh fruit cocktail soju and fusion-y food. They have regular Korean food, as well, so there seems to be something for everyone.

I’ll be honest: There are some winners on the menu, but not everything is great — maybe because they’re still new and figuring things out. But the prices are comparable to other Korean karaoke bars in town, and it’s still a nice, mellow spot to meet up with friends for a drink and some food. In fact, we’d go back just to eat fried chicken and drink fruity soju.

Cafe Maru

Overall assessment from the first pass? We all agreed we would go back to drink soju and eat fried chicken, for sure. I'd eat the dukbokki, too. We like that it's not as crowded as the other Korean karaoke bars yet, so it's kind of chill. Let's see how they do...

Picture 10 of 10

Cafe Maru
1035 Kapiolani Blvd.
808-589-1400

18 comments
ParkRat
ParkRat

So is it a hostess bar?

jlieu
jlieu

OMG OMG OMG. You had me at cheese dukbokki!!! @isabellashkim WE SHOULD GO HERE!!! :D WOWIE! 
I thought this place would be ghetto but I am glad you reviewed it, survived and now I must try! LOL! :D 

Annoddah_Dave
Annoddah_Dave

Delicate Blossom:  I went to the previous iteration of this place...nothing to write home about.  Overpriced as you indicated.  I think they wait for the late night hostess crowd to support them.  I do not see them going past this decade.

PMZ808
PMZ808

Interesting place.  My first perception of this place "scary".  Maybe it's the entrance that's got me spooked.  But great honest review.  I think I'll go just to try the mandoo looks yummy.

RKHewEsq
RKHewEsq

Nice write-up and overall assessment! Thanks for inviting me!

Poiplanet
Poiplanet

Ooh you had me at fried chicken! That looks ono. How many karaoke rooms do they have?

EricBaranda
EricBaranda

So what's the deal with Screw Kiss soju?

pmaile
pmaile

Uhhh so it wasn't just Will that walked in through the kitchen… THey might want to think about locking that.

Myong
Myong

Ahem! I know you just didn't go to a new Korean place and not invite me, right? What in the world?

Melissa808
Melissa808 moderator

@ParkRat according to Ryan Hew @AnotherPlate808, it's not. And he would know, right?

Melissa808
Melissa808 moderator

@jlieu @isabellashkim it looks a little ghetto from the outside, but nice inside! Don't forget to invite your real friends! LOL

Melissa808
Melissa808 moderator

@Annoddah_Dave yayyyy welcome back, Dave! And yeah, it's possible it's one of those spots that undergoes a new name every so often?? And, um, what were you doing at Geisha House??

Melissa808
Melissa808 moderator

@Myong I thought you didn't want to be around people who took pictures of their food so I didn't want to offend you! LOL. Actually now that they've done their grand opening (whatever that was) maybe they'll be able to tweak the cooking methods.