Luibuenos: “The Best Beer List On This Side Of The Island”

UPDATE: Luibuenos’ Kapolei location closed in 2018.

I overheard a Luibuenos bartender say this to a friend while I was there just after Christmas. I hadn’t thought about it–but the bartender is right.

Like every Mexican restaurant, Luibuenos has Corona and Negro Modelo in bottles. Like every Hawai’i restaurant, it has Heineken, too. But the star of the show is an impressive tap roster, 20 beers deep, with a mix of small Island and West Coast breweries.

I had two beers from Honolulu Beerworks in Kaka’ako—the Makakilo Brown and the Hop Island IPA. Both tasted to me like lighter, more drinkable versions of similar beers made on the mainland.

makakilo brown beer honolulu beerworks Makakilo Brown (recommended!), Photo via Honolulu Beerworks

Luibuenos also carries beer from Elysian Brewing in Seattle and Midnight Sun Brewing in Anchorage. If you’re a beer fan, this is a must-do.

Luibueno’s started as a catering company owned by California transplant Luis Silva. The first location, on the North Shore, opened in 2010. Ka Makana Ali’i is the second Luibueno’s, it opened just after Christmas 2016. Seemed to me like everyone wasn’t quite running at full steam—our bartender divulged that they hadn’t yet finished decorating, and that their bar glassware order wasn’t yet complete.

Still, the service was attentive, the pupus came out quick, and the TVs were properly tuned to college football. I look forward to going back.