Neighborhood Guide: Kaka'ako

By: Hannah Grgich As anyone who has visited Paiko in person knows, we are a part of a very special neighborhood: Kaka’ako.  This week we’re focusing on our block, and taking a walking tour to illustrate what’s happening in our hood. 

Kaka'ako

Kaka'ako

Kaka'ako

Kaka'ako

Kaka'ako

Kaka'ako

Historically composed of fishing villages and salt ponds, Kaka’ako has under gone many transformations over the years, and is currently evolving yet again. From a commercial center filled with warehouses and industrial businesses, this neighborhood is now known as a gathering place, where you can see artists in action, collaborate on a project, shop for one of a kind treasures, have a gastronomic experience like none other, and get to know your neighbors through events like workshops and the Honolulu Night Market.

As you meander through the streets, even in the heat of the afternoon, the sense of exhilaration and possibility is nearly palpable. Restaurants are busy serving up lunch to a diverse crowd, where you can get everything from a lobster sausage-wrapped-in-bacon hot dog to fried pa’i’ai and a salad made with local greens. Restaurants such as the Whole Ox, serve up locally sourced and cured meats to a hungry downtown lunch crowd, and our immediate neighbors Taste offer diners the experience of an ever changing roster of up and coming chefs.  The ladies of Paiko can often be seen on many a Friday night sharing a bottle of wine and hanging with neighbors on the sidewalk tables at Taste.

In addition to great food, you can’t help but stumble over the often breathtaking murals created during PowWow over the past two Februaries.  PowWow, a yearly meeting of respected artists from around the world, gives each artist a wall in Kaka’ako to turn into a masterpiece, breathing new life into old industrial facades.

Another artistic outlet in the hood, 808 Urban works with high school kids creating large scale murals throughout the island.  They have a new storefront “The Refuge” here in Kaka’ako, which hosts free workshops, lectures, and other events. Another  gallery on the block, Limb, specializes in amazing woodworking and features a changing roster of exhibits in all media.  Check them out at the Honolulu Night Markets.

After soaking up the vibrant colors of the murals, bring your laptop to do work, or just relax with a cup of Morning Glass coffee, at our good friends, bookshop/coffee shop/gallery hybrid, R/D. Also, make sure to check out the adjoining Interisland Terminal gallery for the most current exhibits from key members of Honolulu’s art scene.  On a side note, prior to our store opening at 675 Auahi St, R/D was where Tamara would hangout to get work done, initiating her into the Kaka’ako community and eventually evolving into her opening our storefront down the street. We love R/D!

Whatever you do in Kaka’ako, you will experience a microcosm of Hawaii’s urban island culture; a unique community that like the island as a whole, celebrates traditions and is embracing innovation.  At Paiko we are so happy to have found our place in this community, and hope you come visit us to experience it all yourself.

More Kaka'ako: Kaka'ako Night Market

Written by: Hannah Grgich