5 To Try: Oahu Coffee Shops

When it comes to Java in the US, coffee connoisseurs tend to rave about Seattle, San Francisco, and New York City as being home to elite coffee shops. I think Hawaii needs to be added to the list. With more people gravitating to the cultural jaugenaut that is Starbucks, I’ve tried to, in the last few years, sample coffees from a variety of locally owned shops. There are many more to add to this list, but, let’s start with the first five. Like with my other Five To Try posts: this is by no means a Top 5 list of any kind, just a selection of five interesting spots that I think are worth checking out.

Brue Bar, Downtown. I make it a point to always stop by this coffee shop before getting my hair cut at Mojo Barbershop. Located in the middle of Downtown Honolulu’s Financial District, Brue Bar is tiny, yet cozy and true to its motto: “Cognizance, Coffee, and Creativity. I’m a fan of their Cold Brew. Note: the photo below was taken at their Ward Warehouse location which recently closed because the shopping center will be demolished.


Brue Bar
1164 Bishop Street
Honolulu, HI 96813

Surfers Coffee Bar, Wahaiwa. If you need to get away from the hustle and bustle of Honolulu, then make the drive out to Surfers Coffee Bar, “a neighborhood collective of unpaid volunteers.” Unpaid? Yup, but the common thread amongst all of the volunteers is their passion for…you guessed it…surfing. Surfers brews Stumptown coffee and that’s what I order.


Surfers Coffee Bar
63 S Kamehameha Hwy
Wahiawa, HI 96786

ARS Cafe, Diamond Head. Part coffee shop, part art gallery. If you fancy yourself a sophisticated intellectual, then head over to ARS Cafe near Diamond Head. Here, there is no Wi-Fi, so bring a book, or bring a friend. The Cold Brew is worth trying.


ARS Cafe, Diamond Head
3116 Monsarrat Ave
Honolulu, HI 96815

Morning Glass Coffee + Cafe, Manoa. Located in a small wooden shack next to a Thai restaurant in the sleepy town of Manoa. Get here early if you want breakfast to go with your cup of coffee, because they fill up fast. They usually have both Stumptown and Four Barrel in stock…whatever the case…I go black at Morning Glass.


Morning Glass Coffee + Cafe
2955 E Manoa Rd
Honolulu, HI 96822

Island Vintage Coffee, Waikiki. Those with a sweat tooth will want to try the Island Latte, you’ll taste hints of macadamia nut and coconut. They’ve also got a wonderful breakfast menu, so I highly recommend that you order some food (I suggest the taro bagel breakfast sandwich) while waiting for your coffee.


Island Vintage Coffee
2301 Kalakaua Ave
Honolulu, HI 96815