To help revitalize Downtown Honolulu, Central Pacific Bank in early 2020 began a complete transformation of its main branch on King Street with an indoor/outdoor community lanai, coworking spaces and retail. Despite pandemic hardships, the project is nearing completion — with a new bar and snack counter from Aloha Beer Co. that soft-opened Jan. 4. “It’s going to be a quick-service counter space with draft beer and grab-and-go food,” says Candice Ishikawa, co-owner of Aloha Beer Downtown with husband Yusuke Ishikawa.
The six draft taps will exclusively feature Aloha Beer Co.’s most popular beer, plus limited and new selections made by operations director Dave Campbell just a few blocks away at the brewery and tap room in Kaka‘ako. Growler fills and cans will be available to-go. By the grand opening on Jan. 26, the Ishikawas expect to transition two of the taps to imported Japanese beer such as Suntory The Premium Malt’s.
The food menu will feature quickly prepared items unique to the location such as personal-sized pizzas, sandwiches and salads; the selection will expand in the future to include breakfast. Aloha Beer Co. merchandise will be available, including stickers with the Downtown logo.
For now, the counter (which has room for four stools) will share space for up to 200 people with the new Starbucks. Its liquor license covers the entire lobby, so people can grab a cold pint and sit spaced out. PowWow artist Matthew Tapia (@matthewtapia) is completing a mural he describes as featuring “a big-mouthed fish guzzling an overflowing mug of beer with tako tentacles, waves, and other island elements…in order to bring the lively and dynamic energy of Kaka’ako to Downtown.”
The Ishikawas will run Aloha Beer Downtown separately from the brewery on Queen Street. The daughter and son-in-law of Steve Sombrero, partner/owner of Aloha Beer Co., had planned to break ground on a 250-seat outdoor beer garden in Waikiki. That did not move forward, so when Central Pacific Bank reached out about a bar space in its remodeled lobby, the couple jumped on it.
That’s not all. Look for another new location in Waikiki coming soon.