IJfke Ridgely, author of The Best Digital Nomad Neighborhoods in Honolulu, shares her picks for the top spots for digital nomads in the tropical Hawaii capital.
The Best Restaurants in Honolulu for Digital Nomads
The Pig and the Lady: This award-winning Chinatown restaurant serves an inspired twist on Vietnamese fare, from green papaya salad and crispy spring rolls to various kinds of pho, in a cozy, industrial space.
Senia: Regional American cuisine meets Hawaiian ingredients in Chef Anthony Rush’s swanky dinner-only eatery in Chinatown.
Deck at Queen Kapiolani Hotel: The renovation of the midcentury classic Queen Kapiolani Hotel brought the opening of Deck, its outdoor rooftop restaurant. Serving a generous food menu and signature cocktails from breakfast through dinner with the best views of Diamond Head, it’s a reliable crowd-pleaser.
Roy’s: One of the original pioneers of Hawaiian-fusion cuisine in the 1990s, Roy’s is still a popular Hawaii institution serving seafood and steak classics from its Hawaii Kai and Waikiki locations.
Sushi Sho: For some of the best sushi in Hawaii, look no further than Sushi Sho. Located in the Ritz Carlton Hotel, this 16-seater eatery serves omakase-style meals prepared by a world-renowned sushi master.
Merriman’s: The latest outpost of Peter Merriman’s Hawaii restaurant empire serves his signature upscale farm-to-table menu in a clean and modern Ward Village location.
Mud Hen Water: Inventive Hawaiian-style small plates and artisanal cocktails in a bright, airy setting have made this Kaimuki mainstay a neighborhood classic.
Koko Head Café: Open for brunch only, this popular neighborhood spot frequently has a line of people waiting for Chef Lee Anne Wong’s creative take on Hawaii favorites like Loco Moco and Breakfast Bibimbap.
Buho: This upscale Mexican restaurant offers arguably one of the best outdoor dining experiences in all of Waikiki. The large, swanky space located on an elevated roof deck serves city views and Mexican classics with great drinks, along with events like Taco Tuesday and Salsa Night.
Mahina & Suns: Located next to the Instagram-famous pool of the Surfjack Hotel & Swim Club, this popular restaurant offers eye-catching midcentury modern interiors and an elevated take on Hawaii’s seafood-centric home cooking.
The Best Bars in Honolulu for Digital Nomads
Hideout at Laylow Waikiki: The midcentury modern-inspired Laylow Waikiki has remained a hot spot since its opening on Kuhio Ave, with its outdoor deck and trendy restaurant, The Hideout, holding center court. Great artisanal cocktails and Sunday brunch with live music are standouts.
Workplay: The newest bar to hit the Kaka’ako area draws quite a crowd to its large, varied space. Live music, karaoke nights, and monthly events keep it lively with both after-work and late-night crowds.
Wang Chungs: Located in the lobby of the Stay Hotel in the middle of Waikiki, this gay karaoke bar is a hidden gem. Go for the spicy margaritas and bar snacks and stay for the fun crowd.
House Without a Key at Halekulani Hotel: This iconic restaurant in Waikiki’s fanciest hotel is the best spot to be for sunset cocktails and live local music in a stunning, upscale outdoor setting.
Duke’s Restaurant: Despite what you may think, Hawaii has very few restaurants that are right on the sand. Dukes has remained a favorite precisely because of its dream location right on the shore of Waikiki Beach. Order a tropical libation and take in the sights and surf right from its lively bar.
Skull & Crown Trading Co.: Tucked in the middle of Chinatown, this gem is everything you want from a tiki bar, from its kitschy interiors of Hawaiian print and rattan to its classic tiki cocktails.
Aloha Beer Co: This lively brewery is one of the newer additions to the Kaka’ako beer scene. With a variety of beers on tap brewed on the premises and a large menu, it’s a great after-work hangout. Those in-the-know head upstairs to the HI Brau Room, its moody hidden speakeasy, for whisky on the rocks.
Hey Day at White Sands Hotel: The White Sands Hotel really embraces its groovy 1970s roots and has upped the ante with the opening of Hey Day, its poolside bamboo bar. Order a tiki cocktail from the swinging bar seats before taking a dip in the grotto hot tub.
Bevy: With moody lighting, good music, Mexican-inspired fare, and reliable drinks, this Kaka’ako mainstay is a great place to meet friends or a date.
Tchin Tchin: Housed in a renovated historic building on Hotel Street in the heart of Chinatown, this bar has patina and ambiance to spare. Swanky interiors and a cozy outdoor area make you feel like you’re in a major metropolis and not in the tropics.
The Best Cafes for Digital Nomads in Honolulu
ARS Café: This European-inspired café on Monserrat Ave is a great place to pop in between a beach session and a morning walk. Good coffee and quiet interiors make for a reliable work spot on this corner of Diamond Head.
Morning Glass Coffee: With locations in Chinatown and Manoa Valley, Morning Glass is a local favorite for breakfast, lunch, and a large coffee and pastry selection.
Island Brew Coffee House: This island favorite offers cozy interiors and 100% Hawaiian coffee locally grown and roasted from its locations in Ala Moana Center, Hawaii Kai, and Ward Village.
Coffee Talk: This spacious coffee shop on the corner of Waialae Ave in Kaimuki has been a mainstay for coworking for years, with good WiFi, tasty pastries, and plenty of tables.
Honolulu Coffee Experience Center: Located within walking distance of Ala Moana Center and Waikiki, this spacious coffee spot in the heart of Honolulu boasts airy, quiet interiors, and ample seating.
The Best Coworking Spaces for Digital Nomads in Honolulu
Impact Hub: Membership at this Kaka’ako favorite gives you ample seating areas, hosted reception, showers, a kitchen, free coffee and beer, bike-sharing, and even surfboard storage.
Box Jelly/ Sandbox: This hip coworking location in Ward Village offers a pet-friendly, airy indoor-outdoor space, ample parking, a coffee bar, and mail service.
Treehouse Kahala: Kailua’s most popular coworking space has just opened a location in Kahala featuring private executive offices, indoor and outdoor working areas, and event space rental.
WaiWai Collective: With two locations in Moili’ili and Nu’uanu, WaiWai Collective offers coworking space with creative interiors for students, on-the-go professionals, and corporate teams.
Hawaii Office Centers: With indoor-outdoor work areas, phone booths, and 24-hour access, Hawaii Office Centers is perfect for those in the Downtown/ Chinatown area.
A half-Dutch writer and photographer who grew up on Oahu, Hawaii. She has spent years exploring and enjoying the Hawaiian Islands for travel and lifestyle publications and assignments.
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