While many think of beer (or sake) as the beverage of choice in Hawaii, you may be surprised to hear just how many spots there are for wine lovers in Honolulu.
Wine Bars Restaurants
Amuse Wine Bar – Self-service wine tastings (sold by the ounce) are accessed by a wine card purchased from the bar – Mon & Wed you can purchase a $50 value card for only $30. Happy Hour prices on cocktails and appetizers from 5-7pm Monday through Friday. Tuesday is Wine Lovers Night at Stage Restaurant next door, giving you 50% off bottles.
Formaggio & Formaggio Grill – I’ve never been to the Kailua Formaggio Grill, but Market City’s Formaggio Wine Bar has always had my heart. I love the fonduta appetizer and the crispy-thin shrimp and pancetta pizza. The menu is designed to be wine-friendly and the servers are there to help you pick what goes with what. All this bar needs is a pool table and some viper pool sticks.
Brasserie Du Vin – Currently running a special of half-priced bottles on Tuesdays and Happy Hour on food and wine from 4-6 Monday through Saturdays. The food has occasionally been hit or miss for me but the selection of charcuterie and cheeses are always fun.
Vino Italian Tapas & Wine Bar – Master Sommelier Chuck Furuya and Chef DK Kodama paired up to create this wine bar in Restaurant Row. Tastings and specials are frequently announced via their website and social media channels. 50% off food if you sit at the bar from 5:30 to 6:30pm.
It’s always nice when a restaurant allows you to bring in your own wine, whether its a special occasion bottle or something to save a few $ on the expensive markups other restaurants charge. The restaurants below charge little or no corkage fee to BYO!
JJ French Pastry – I love JJ’s for their $25 four course prix-fixe menu, but I love it even more that there is no corkage fee! Also great for big groups – they’ve got a private dining room in back for parties.
Olive Tree – Nominal charge of 50 cents per glass, and the wine shop next door is a perfect spot for picking up wine or beer to go with your meal. Fantastic ambience and delicious Greek food.
Himalayan Kitchen – Another spot with great ambience – a nice patio outside is popular for groups to linger over a meal with some BYOB wine! No corkage fee and great Nepalese/Himalayan & Indian food.
>> The Wine Stop also has an extensive list here – call ahead though, some of the places on this list have closed.
Tamura’s – Kaimuki, Aiea, Kailua – wine tastings in stores (see website for details) and a great poke counter.
Wine Stop – King Street – Wine tastings on Saturdays (first week of the month is beer tasting), plus a wine club and special events.
HASR Wine Co – Downtown/Chinatown – Wine Tastings on Tues & Fridays. Specializing in California wines.
Oliver – Kahala – This cute little shop next to the popular Olive Tree Cafe stocks wine, beer, and greek pantry items. You can even purchase the feta and delicious pita bread they use next door.
Fujioka’s – Market City & Mililani – The Market City location is conveniently right next to Formaggio Wine Bar, so you can always take notes on what you like, then head next door to purchase!
Whole Foods – Kahala – I wouldn’t normally list a supermarket because all of them have wine in stock, however Whole Foods is unique in that it does tastings and has a good selection of organic wines too. Plus, great cheese selection to go with your wine.
>> Here’s an article I did for WhyGo Hawaii on Drinking and Dining in Honolulu.
These were just a few of my favorites. Feel free to share yours in the comments below!