Off the Wall Hawaii opened in Kakaako last week with local beers, a small selection of wines and a self-pour feature that lets you sip as much or as little as you want. Located in Ward Village’s South Shore Market, its focus on craft beers fills a niche for beer nerds that the area hasn’t seen since Real a Gastropub closed up shop. It's owned by the same folks as next-door Nalu Health Bar and Cafe, with a menu inspired by the owners' Argentinian/Latin heritage.
There’s a different flow to this place than your typical bar, so here’s a guide. Those who have been to Grace in Growlers in Kailua may be familiar with this format, except Off the Wall isn't BYOFood.
Step 1: Open a tab at the host stand
The hosts will take your credit card, open up a tab for you and give you a beer card that will record your beer and wine pours. If you want food, this might be a good time to order, since they don’t have servers coming around to take food orders.
After you order food, you'll pick a card from a standard deck of cards. This will become your table number so servers can deliver your order. If you luck out like we did and happen to pull one of the two jokers in the deck, your food order is free!
Step 2: Select a glass from the shelf and rinse it
Choose a glass depending on whether you're drinking beer or wine and how much you want to drink. Rinse it by holding it upside down over the spring-loaded glass rinser on the left side of the beer taps. Rinsing reduces friction on the side of the glass and helps with head retention and getting a clean, even pour. Put your empty glasses in the bus tubs near the kitchen door.
Step 3: Select beer or wine and place your card in the scanner
You have a choice of 18 beers and 6 wines; two taps serve water. The card sits in a slot in the scanner just below the screen, and your name will pop up on the screen, showing your tab balance. The scanner gets a little finicky, so you may have to rotate the card a bit before your name pops up.
Step 4: Pull the tap and pour away
Photo by Michael Choy
Step 5: Drink up
Have a seat and enjoy! The selection of 100 percent local beers is a nice nod to Hawaiʻis growing local craft beer scene. Newer and smaller breweries like Waikiki Brewing, Honolulu Beerworks, Kohola and Inu Island Ales are represented, along with Paradise Ciders and Sky Kombucha. For the craft beer enthusiast, it’s a great way to try great local brews, some with very limited distribution, in one place.
Step 6: Cash out
Stop back at the host stand to return your beer card and pay the tab.
A Latin-inspired menu
The food comes out pretty quickly. Two standouts are the empanadas and the ceviche. Other offerings include a breadfruit hummus, chimichurri wings, Kualoa beef sliders and ahi tacos. They offer a few salads at lunch as well. The wings and tacos that the next table ordered looked amazing, and I'll definitely try them out next time.
The empanadas ($11) are crispy, flaky and really well seasoned.
Ceviche on tostones (fried plantains, $15) is bright, tart and very fresh; tostones have a soft crisp and are tender and light.
As a beer nerd, this place has me excited. I'll be back soon to see what else is on tap!
Off the Wall Hawaii
1170 Auahi St.
South Shore Market
Mon-Thu 11 a.m.-11 p.m.
Fri-Sat 11 a.m.-12 p.m.
Sun 11 a.m.-6 p.m.