Located in the heart of Honolulu’s Chinatown, the Skull & Crown Trading Co. offers its guests a unique tiki bar experience. This is an experience that isn’t quite authentic Hawaii, but it is certainly a tiki bar experience that is authentic in its own right. This is a place for those who love the kitsch and the cool; a place to sip on some rum cocktails and relax in an imaginative environment.
You will find Skull & Crown Trading Co. conveniently located in the center of the Chinatown district. This is a pretty new bar, having first opened its doors in June of 2019, taking the place of Grondin French-Latin Kitchen.
The owners of the hip Skull & Crown Trading Co. (and it certainly is a hip and still-new spot) are Noa Laporga and Angelina Khan, a duo that is well known in the area for creating unique, mysterious, and enchanting ventures. They are probably best known for their Haunted Plantation, a special Halloween event that happens at Waipahu’s Hawaii Plantation Village. They also have a special effects company called Black Box FX and have operated other spooky events and occasions — including some pop-up bar experiences. It is a history that undoubtedly played a big role in creating the drinking experience that is Skull & Crown Trading Co.
Stepping inside the Skull & Crown Trading Co. feels like stepping into an entirely new world and even atmosphere. Yes, even the atmosphere as the bar keeps the humidity high without air conditioning and keeps a thunderstorm soundtrack in the background. The interior is decked with shipwreck and horror-themed island in an aesthetic that has been described as “Indiana Jones meets Gilligan homage” — and we’d add to that a very grown-up Goonies-esque vibe of wonder and enchantment with all things pirates. You will find hanging fishing nets filled with skulls and shrunken heads, a massive mermaid sculpture protecting the bar, and large tiki idols adorning the walls. The back patio beasts its own unique picnic area equipped with a fire pit amidst a bamboo garden.
Once you have acclimated (if you can) to the one-of-a-kind environment that is Skull & Crown Trading Co., step up to the bar and take a stool. This bar, of course, boasts an exciting cocktail menu, expertly crafted to show off the bar’s extensive rum collection.
The signature drink here is The Skull & Crown which comes served in a ceramic skull set on fire.
Yes, on fire. This $25 drink serves two and comes with a blend of three fantastic top-tier rums, including one distilled in Hawaii, Velvet falernum, lime juice, grenadine, grapefruit juice, and cinnamon.
On the back of the specialty drinks menu, you will find a list of a menu with a great pick of finger food. The food here is prepared is made by the neighboring Olay’s Thai Lao Cuisine.
–Skull & Crown Trading Co. truly is in the center of Honlolulu’s Chinatown. Meander these nearby blocks and take in its unique locations, like the colorful neon marquee that advertises the century-old Hawaii Theater. Make sure to grab a floral necklace at one of the lei stands and freshly baked pork buns at Sing Cheong Yuan Bakery or one of the other dozen fantastic restaurants.
-Finding free on-street parking by Skull & Crown Trading Co. will be a struggle most days and it isn’t really recommended don’t the narrow streets and alleys of this district. Instead, consider using either the public parking lot around the block on Maunakea St. or the larger lot that is a bit further away at S. Beretania and Nuuanu Ave.