The Hawaii Theatre was "The Pride of the Pacific" when it opened in 1922 , but it fell into disrepair and was threatened with demolition in 1986. A group of concerned citizens banded together to restore it.
It took $22 million to restore the theatre to its former glory. If you think the outside looks good, you should see the gilded interior. Tours every Tuesday and on First Friday. (808) 528-0506
The Hawaii Theatre is now the anchor of Honolulu's Chinatown Arts district.
1130 Bethel St., (808) 528-0506, hawaiitheatre.com
The courtyard of Du Vin Brasserie is really a Chinatown alley, but it looks like the street in a French village.
Every Friday, but especially on First Friday, the bar at Du Vin is a favorite place for pau hana (after work) drinks and pupu.
1115 Bethel St., (808) 545-1115, brasserieduvin.com
Mark's Garage is really that, a parking garage. But its ground floor is home to many Chinatown galleries and photo studios.
Every First Friday, the Kim Taylor Reece Gallery throws an art opening, complete with music.
1142 Bethel St., (808) 546-1144, kimtaylorreece.com
Kim Taylor Reece, in front of some of the hula images that have made him one of the Islands' best known photographers.
On the First Friday of every month, the streets of Chinatown fill with gallery-goers and fun seekers.
J.J. Niebuhr welcomes guests in the doorway of J.J. Dolan’s, whose slogan is “an Irish pub with New York pizza from two guys in Chinatown.”
1147 Bethel St., (808) 537-4992, jjdolans.com
The ARTS at Marks Garage is home to 10 arts organizations. It was ARTS at Mark’s which, in 2003, came up with the notion of First Friday.
1159 Nu‘uanu Ave.,(808) 521-2903, artsatmarks.com
Celebrated for her large, vibrant paintings of Polynesian women, artist Pegge Hopper was the first to turn a historic building into a Chinatown gallery. It’s now one of nearly 20 galleries in the neighborhood.
1164 Nu‘uanu Ave., (808) 524-1160, peggehopper.com
Chinatown Boardroom offers another kind of art—these hand-painted boards by owner and surfboard shaper Eric Walden. 1160 Nu‘uanu Ave., (808) 585-7200, chinatownboardroom.com
First Friday gallery goers fill the small Chinatown Boardroom gallery.
A group called Global Caravan turn Roy Venter’s Gallery into a Turkish bazaar, with rugs and other goods from Istanbul, Afghanistan, Uzbekistan and Kyrgyzstan. 1160 Nu‘uanu Ave., (808) 281-5171.
The ladies of Global Caravan amid their wares: Riky Weiss, Sonya Niess, Cynthia Ucarer and Kristin Horvack.
A former tenement courtyard, where poor Chinese families used to hang their laundry from the railings, comes alive on First Friday with food, music and art. Upstairs houses the small theatre of The Actors Group (TAG).
Mendonca Building Courtyard, 1126 Smith St., (808) 262-5930. The Actors Group, (808) 722-6941, taghawaii.net
Smith Union Bar is the oldest surviving bar in Honolulu. Sailors used to be shanghai'd in the basement here, and, fair warning, the clientele is still described as "colorful."
19 N Hotel St., (808) 538-9145
Dragon Upstairs, decorated with dragons and Chinese masks, is home to Chinatown's jazz buffs. 1038 Nu‘uanu Ave., (808) 526-1411, thedragonupstairs.com
The masks along the wall on Dragon Upstairs were saved from a Chinese exhibition by club owner Hank Taufaasau.
The new small Laughtrack Theatre is a home for improv in Chinatown, with performances on weekends and improv classes during the week from Second City alum Shannon Winpenny. 1123 Bethel St., (808) 384-3362, laughtracktheater.com
Cristian Ellauri, called See, presides over Ong King Art Center, where on First Fridays the young gather for performances that range from rock’n’roll bands to young ‘ukulele whiz Taimane Gardner.
184 N. King St., (808) 428-3233, onking.com
See presides over the chaos at Ong King as emcee, resident poet and hip-hop artist. Plus, he says, “I do Shakespeare on demand.”
Amid the hustle and bustle of First Friday, the clerk in a Chinatown produce stall reads a Chinese newspaper.
Honolulu’s Chinatown has many Vietnamese businesses and restaurants. Of these, perhaps the most prominent is Duc’s Bistro. Owner Duc Nguyen loves both classic French and his native Vietnamese cuisine, so you can get both here. 1188 Maunakea St., (808) 531-6325, ducsbistro.com
On a formerly derelict block, the young and hip gather outside three new clubs, whose names give away their street number or location. Bar 35, thirtyninehotel and Next Door can be found at 35, 39 and 43 N. Hotel St., respectively.
On the street outside Bar 35 at 35 N. Hotel St., where there are beers from around the world and pizzas designed by a gourmet Italian chef.