5 To Try: Best Nitro Cold Brew Spots In Honolulu, Hawaii

I first tasted Nitro Cold Brew (NCB) on a coffee crawl through New York’s East Village with a friend of mine as my guide. That friend also happened to be a lead barista at Third Rail Coffee, a popular indie coffee shop in New York City’s Greenwich Village. I had my first taste of NCB at one of ours stops and I was utterly confused and captivated. I immediately explained to my friend that this was like no coffee I’d ever had. Instead, with its thick mouthfeel and foamy (yet creamy) head, it tasted similar to Guinness…yes, the beer. It took a few years, but NCB has really started to become a trend in indie coffee shops throughout the main island of Oahu. Let’s sample some of the options, but do keep in mind that they were all ordered black (as coffee should be).

Brue Bar, DOWNTOWN. I described the Nitro Cold Brew from Brue Bar on Instagram as being ultra smooth…and oh how ultra smooth it was. Also, my goodness does the NCB come in a beautiful glass. Brue Bar’s take on nitro is likely my favorite from the list. In fact, I am sipping on some as I write this’s that good.

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Brue Bar – Bishop St.
1164 Bishop St.
Honolulu, HI 96813

9Bar HNL, KAKAAKO. I love 9Bar not just for the coffee, but because this little shop in the hyper cool SALT at Our Kakaako reminds me of the coffee shops that I love to visit whenever in Japan. The coffee is served as a set, with a cup of sparkling water on the side, with both resting on a small wooden plate.

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9Bar HNL
685 Auahi St #118
Honolulu, HI 96813

Lion Coffee, KALIHI. At one point, a visit to Lion Coffee was part of my daily routine. The short distance of the cafe from my work made this coffee shop a very convenient one. Also, if you’re trying to cut back on spending (and who isn’t) I should note that Lion Coffee’s NCB is the most affordable on this list, despite packing quite the punch in the flavor department. Also, the mouthfeel is thick and the foamy head is on point.

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Lion Coffee Cafe
1555 Kalani St.
Honolulu, HI 96817

The Curb, KAIMUKI. The Curb, which started off as a coffee truck that sold made to order coffee at the University of Hawaii at Manoa campus, is now a major part of the Keep It Kaimuki movement. The NCB at The Curb did not have the thick mouthfeel or foamy head like the above mentioned NCBs. Instead, it tasted a bit closer to the NCB at Morning Brew (see below), but richer in flavor. That said, the ambience was killer and they definitely use high quality beans.

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The Curb
3408 Waialae Ave #102
Honolulu, HI 96816

Morning Brew, KAKAAKO. I originally ordered a plain Cold Brew, but then I said to myself out loud, “aww shucks, they have nitro here,” at that point the barista asked if I’d like the NCB instead. Of course I said yes! The NSB had nice taste, but, like my experience at The Curb, it wasn’t as creamy or as rich as the NCB at the first three coffee shops on this list.


Morning Brew – Kakaako Location
685 Auahi St #113
Honolulu, HI 96813

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