Waikiki Brewing Company is something of a household name among Hawaiians. This small brewpub chain was born from what was an even more popular local restaurant chain called Cheeseburger in Paradise. While this chain has no relation to the mainland Jimmy Buffet-themed and franchised restaurant chain that operated between 2002 and 2020, the owners of Hawaii’s locations were prevented from opening any new locations under the name due to a 2004 lawsuit with the Buffet version. Hence, when the time was to outgrow their existing locations, owners Laren Gartner and Edna Bayliff rebranded some, and the Waikiki Brewing Company was born.
Today, there are a total of four Waikiki Brewing Company locations, but this article is about the Waikiki Brewing Company, South Side that exists in The Shops at Wailea Shopping Center. If you are staying at Grand Wailea or a nearby vacation rental, you can comfortably walk to this dynamic shopping center. Those staying further out will simply travel to the center of Wailea, where you will find The Shops at Wailea Shopping Center across Wailea Alanui Drive from the Wailea Blue Golf Course.
Waikiki Brewing Company, South Side is nestled in the northwestern corner of this gorgeous shopping center. This attractive location affords plenty of windows consistently left open to let in the warm air and cool ocean breezes. There is also a large patio area that is covered but offers nice views of the tropical landscaping the shopping center invested in, as well as general people walking. Most of the tables inside and outside are picnic tables, with a few chaired tables along one interior wall and a square bar with barstools at the center of the restaurant. Overall, the atmosphere is laid back and welcoming.
As you might have guessed from the opening, Waikiki Brewing Company, South Side, like its parent restaurant, specializes in massive cheeseburgers and sandwiches served alongside their freshly brewed craft beers. And their beers have become quite popular. Their very first big award for their beers came in 2017 at that year’s annual Great American Beer Festival where Waikiki Brewing Company won a prestigious first place for its Blackstrap Molasses Porter.
Popular menu items include:
This massive cheeseburger comes topped with peppered bacon, smoked cheddar, lettuce, tomato, and brewer’s onion and is served atop a brioche bun with A1 mayonnaise. The Brewhouse Burger, as with all bunned menu orders from The Waikki Brewing Company, South Side, comes served with your choice of sea salt fries, superfood slaw, or potato mac salad.
This is a fantastic appetizer that doubles as a solid menu choice when choosing to just grab a couple of beers at the bar. Enjoy this massive pretzel sprinkled with IPA beer salt and served with very savory jalapeno queso.
-Happy Hour is pretty incredible. Between 2 and 5 pm, their primary nine draft beers are $5.50 and all wells drinks $6. There are also discounts on wines, growler refills on those nine drafts, and select shared plates. They also have $3 Street Tacos which, while not their specialty, are still pretty tasty, especially if you’re on the hunt for fast, easy, and cheap lunch treats.
-Block out some time to meander around The Shops at Wailea. This is a really stunning three-tiered shopping center that features unique common area improvements that pay an homage to traditional Hawaiian canoe building, a culturally significant part of the islander culture. You will find over 70 boutiques, shops, and restaurants to explore and, in the evenings, live music and hula dancing to enjoy and relax.
-If you find yourself falling in love with any of their beers, know that you can get beers to go. This brewery has massive growlers that are refillable, or opt to purchase beers by the can to take on your next Hawaiian adventure.