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Kaka’ako Quickie: REAL a Gastropub

FYI, a Gastropub or gastrolounge refers to a bar and restaurant that serves high-end beer and food. To which this place is certainly the REAL deal in that definition, hence their name.

The reason this is coined a “quickie”, is because we were um…. Nah, just kidding, we were here killing about an hour’s time before our movie next door at Ward Theaters. With that, the crowd on this Saturday evening at ‘REAL’ was full, yet not overbearing as from what I understand at times it gets.

One thing for sure, is it’s a quite a change from former tenant Tropics Bar & Cafe, both in demographic, as well as look ‘n feel. Speaking of which, you may remember next door used to be Tropic Fish & Vegetable Center market, which was one of my FAVES! I so miss that market. Actually, Tropic Fish is still alive and well as a fish wholesaler, operating in a warehouse behind Ward Farmers Market. Anyways, I’m being Podagee now. lol

Let’s take a look inside Real Gastropub…

This is a view from the second floor loft and dining area…

REAL a Gastropub also features live music, plus beer tasting and beer pairing dinner events. Check website for schedule.

Obviously there’s a Godzillian variety of bottled (non-tap) beers in them ‘reefers, which we’ll reserve review for another time and blog post.

To note, there’s no bar up on the second floor (at least not a permanent one); strictly extra seating.

Without further ado, let’s see what’s on tap…

So if you haven’t been to a gastropub before, know that half of what it’s all about is finely crafted beer from all over the world. With that, your server will ask a few basic questions about what you seek in a beer: do you like it  hoppy? Fruity? Crisp? Creamy? Heavy? Light? Stout? Lager? IPA?

To which I told our server I prefer IPAs that are “hoppy” and aromatic, to which he immediately pointed me to his personal favorite, the Sierra Nevada Hoptimum IPA, and I said, shoots, let’s do that….

REAL a Gastropub – Sierra Nevada Hoptimum Imperial IPA draft chalice. $8

According to Sierra Nevada’s website, this Hoptimum Imperial IPA is described as such, “Hoptimum is a hurricane of whole-cone hop flavor. Hopped, dry hopped and torpedoed for incredible hop flavor and complexity, Hoptimum is the pinnacle of whole-cone hoppiness and the biggest Imperial IPA we have ever produced. It features resinous hop varieties: Magnum, Chinook, Simcoe and a new experimental hop variety exclusive to Sierra Nevada. With intense hop flavors and aromas of grapefruit rind, pine, herbs and tropical fruit, Hoptimum is an aggressive drinking experience. Originally created as part of our Beer Camp program, Hoptimum throws down the gauntlet to all other IPAs.

REAL a Gastropub – Sierra Nevada Hoptimum Imperial IPA draft chalice. $8

This 12 oz. glass of liquid goodness is served in an ice cold metal-trimmed, heavy chalice to capture all its essence.

And? EXCELLENT! It better be at $8 a serving, yet I think worth it, all things considered. “Hoptimum” is the word for sure. VERY hoppy. Aromatic, no doubt, while also having fruity undertones, with just the right amount of earthiness. It’s somewhat bitter, yet countered by just enough sweetness, finishing off very smooth and velvety. It arrived with a decent head that had a rather short life to it in a good way. I don’t like my beer too foamy, and this was just right. All I know is if I see Sierra Nevada Hoptimum IPA in six-pack bottles at the store, I’m definitely gettin’ some more of it!

As for my date, she was the designated driver, so she just drank water. How fun, yet thanks, I appreciate it!

While that was the short of the pub, moving along to the gastro side of the equation, here’s the menu…

REAL a Gastropub menu

Buffalo Fried Deviled Eggs
blue cheese, ranch, buffalo sauce, celery 7.00
Pretzel Bites
house made soft pretzels with beer cheese fondue 5.00
Garlic Candied Bacon
apple smoked bacon, brown sugar, roasted garlic 4.00
Ahi Shoyu Poke
Ewa sweet onion,scallion, inamona, soy, sesame oil, ogo 9.00
Pipikaula Poke
salsa verde, jalapeno, pickled onion, cotija cheese, chicharrons 7.00
Fried Brussels Sprouts
with bacon 5.00
Bacon Fat Fries
french fries fried in bacon fat with house made ketchup 6.00
Spinach /Artichoke/ Jalapeno Hummus
with pita bites 6.00
Fire Pickles
locally made pickles with ghost chili peppers SPICY! 3.00
Shishito Peppers
with Blue Cheese and Macadamia nuts & Hawaiian Sea Salt 6.00
pretzel croutons, greens, tomatoes, cucumbers, red onions, red wine vinaigrette 6.00
Bacon Baby Kale Caesar
bacon infused dressing, Chicharrons, bacon, parmigiano reggiano 6.00
Roasted Beet Salad
pickled onions, goat cheese, grape tomatoes, mac nut, sherry vinaigrette 7.00
Thai inspired Roasted Eggplant /Quinoa Salad
bell pepper, chilies, mint, lime, onion 6.00
REAL a GASTROPUB Beer Braised Brisket Poutine
french fries, cheese curds, demi gravy, fried egg 8.00
Duck Confit “Corn Dog”
cranberry compote, house made Guinness mustard 7.00
Chicken Wings
beer brined wings, smoked and fried, tossed in a white BBQ sauce 7.00
Charcuterie/Cheese Platter
salami, prosciutto, peppercorn pate, aged gouda, brie, nuts 12.00
Chicken and Waffles
crispy fried chicken, apple fennel slaw, maple bacon drizzle, fries 7.00
5 piece Mongolian BBQ Chicken Satay
pickled veggies 7.00
3 each Caribbean BBQ braised Pulled Pork Sliders
slaw, piccapepper aioli 7.00
3 each Meatball Sliders
beef, pork and pepperoni mix, house made marinara, mozzarella 7.00
3 each Miso marinated Island Fish Sliders
slaw, fire pickle tartar sauce 8.00
3 each Portobeero Cheese“Steak” Sliders
beer/herb portobello, peppers, onions, beer cheese 7.00
Fish and Chips
beer batter, malt vinegar tartar sauce, fries 8.00
Mac and Cheese
nine cheese, parmesan crust 7.00
REAL Guinness Float
guinness gelato floating in guinness stout 7.00
Root Beer Float
made with IBC rootbeer & tahitian vanilla gelato 6.00
Irish Car Bomb stout/hop cookie
guinness gelato, jameson’s caramel, bailey’s anglaise 6.00
REAL’s Bacon Cheesecake
maple glaze, chocolate bacon, whipped cream 5.00
Maple Bacon Waffle a ’la Mode
jameson caramel, tahitian vanilla gelato 6.00

Dang, everything sounds so good! So much to choose, we both had “counter freeze”, letting our server choose for us instead, which he recommended their special of the day, which was Herb Roasted Chicken Au Jus…

Herb Roasted Chicken Au Jus $10

Angle B…

He also recommended the Meatball Sliders, which of course go hand-in-hand with a good brew…

Meatball Sliders – beef, pork and pepperoni mix, house made marinara, mozzarella 7.00

Angle B…

Let’s try it…

And? Well, that was a SPICY MEAT-A-BALL-AH. Seriously, wow, that sucker sure put the PEPPER in Pepperoni. Yet still, it was delicioso! My only gripe is the Mozzarella should have been melted a bit more, but we were in a rush at that point and didn’t want to send it back. The marinara generously coating the meatballs had lots of depth where if this were turned into Spaghetti and meatballs, it’d be great.

Finally, let’s try the Herb Roasted Chicken Au Jus..

And? As you know I’m normally not a big chicken fan, yet this was absolutely SCRUMPTIOUS. Fall-off-the-bones moist ‘n tender, laced with what tasted like thyme, oregano and perhaps sage (didn’t ask), and that au jus sauce was too die for. OMG, so savory, thick, rich, and ONO!

What would I want to try on a return visit? Most definitely gotta’ sample their Fish ‘n Chips, Panzanella, and the Beer Braised Brisket Poutine.

Summing it up, I give the Sierra Nevada Hoptimum IPA 5 Musubi, the Meatball Sliders 3 musubi and the Herb Roast Chicken Au Jus 5 musubi. Also, 5 musubi on service, as our server was very friendly and attentive, and our order arrived quickly. In fact, snappy, considering how busy it got by the time we were halfway through our stay there. 5 musubi on ambiance, as this pub has a really fun, yet laid back, cool and comfortable vibe. Best of all, it’s right next to Ward Theaters, so if you wanna’ make a meal out of some fantastic appetizers, along with perhaps a brew or two either before or after the flick, and you’re not into all the noise and commotion at Dave ‘n Busters, next door at REAL a Gastropub is where you should go!

REAL a Gastropub
Ward Farmer’s Market
1020 Auahi Street, Bldg. 1
Honolulu, HI 96814

Tel. (808) 596-2526

Monday – Saturday:
2 pm to 2 am
Happy Hour:
2 pm to 6 pm
Free Ample Parking

The Tasty Island rating

(5) Superb. Worthy of repeat visits or purchases. (Broke Da’ Mout’!)

Related links:
REAL a Gastropub – Yelp user reviews
REAL a Gastropub – Tripadvisor user reviews
REAL a Gastropub starts a buzz at Ward Center – UrbanHonolulu/HawaiiNewsNow.com


8 thoughts on “Kaka’ako Quickie: REAL a Gastropub

  • May 21, 2014 at 11:48 am

    Pomai, great place too bad no fried chicken skin. It great side dish.

  • May 21, 2014 at 12:56 pm

    Btw tropics wholesale is behind marukais now.

  • May 21, 2014 at 7:23 pm

    @ Anon – That was mentioned, however it was said behind Ward Farmers Market vs. Marukai. Which I think Howard Hughes (the new owner) should seriously consider respectfully moving Marukai (whom I love) to a different location nearby, and bring back the old school Ward Farmers Market concept to the original location here, of being well, an open style Hawaiian plantation style FARMERS MARKET! I’ll never forget Ward Farmers Market in its old school glory, when the likes of Ha’ili’s Hawaiian Food, Lyn’s Snacks and Bob’s Peanuts were staple tenants there (and that’s more on the recent side). It was like the ultimate Kaka’ako Hawaiian cultural festival, every day! How novel is that, right?

    @ Kelike – Ah, as in “Chicka-rones”….

    • May 22, 2014 at 5:51 am

      FYI…the current NEW location of Tropics IS behind of Marukais . The main store.

  • May 22, 2014 at 10:03 am

    9 different cheeses in the mac-n-cheese? I wonder if the waiter can name all 9…..I’ll guess cheddar, mozzarella, parmesan and oh..I give up.

  • May 22, 2014 at 11:18 am

    @ Anon – Ah, I see. Last I checked, Tropics was a fish wholesaler behind Ward Farmers Market (Marukai Ward). Since when did Tropics move to Dillingham Blvd.? Or is that a second location that’s a store now?

    @ L – I couldn’t find any Yelpers who line listed the 9 cheeses, however the common sentiment on their Mac ‘n Cheese, as one Yelper said “It’s just not made right. This was (elbow macaroni) pasta in melted cheese rather than a home-made cheese sauce. Not bad, per se, just not anywhere near really good mac n cheese.” Other yelpers also say it’s topped with crushed chex mix and candied bacon bits.

  • May 22, 2014 at 1:49 pm

    Not a store but in the warehouse area .

  • May 22, 2014 at 1:56 pm

    Google is a wonderful tool !!!! ;) tropics fish and veg is located in the bamboo complex.


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