Lewers Street of yesteryear gets contemporary make-over
The aging Lewers Street, as old Waikikians knew it, has been transformed.
Gone are the Edgewater Waikiki, the Ohana Reef, the House of Hong, the Lewers Street Fish Co., and Islander Coffee House.
There are no more jazz tunes wafting from the Lewers Street Loft & Lanai, nor old-timers hanging out at the Waikiki Broiler & Longboard Bar.
In their place are new eateries, including Ruth's Chris Steakhouse, and Roy's. Also, the Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf, and jewelry shops and art galleries.
Some retailers from the old Lewers street did make it back -- among them the ubiquitous ABC Store and Blue Ginger.
In all, the redevelopment effort involved the demolition of five existing hotels, and two smaller hotels to make way for the new Beach Walk retail plaza.
Some time during the second quarter of this year, the Ohana Islander Waikiki also will be shut down to be renovated into an upscale boutique hotel.
The concrete jumble of shops, eateries and bars that belonged to yesteryear are gone, and in its place a slate of new shops in a sophisticated, more contemporary and open-style shopping plaza.
A shopping plaza that is decidedly more upscale.
It's a vision Outrigger Enterprises Group had envisioned for more than 10 years, but finally it has come to fruition.
Visitors to Beach Walk will walk along flagstone pavers similar to the ones lining Kalakaua Avenue, an open plaza with a grass lawn, a fountain stage and palms, and, up above, glass canopies.
And music -- plenty of music, which will be Beach Walk's primary feature.
"We absolutely love being there," said Maile Meyer, owner of Native Books Na Mea Hawaii and one of five partners of Mana Hawaii -- Spirit of Hawaii Nei. "It's like a little nest, and a place that captures sound well, if you love music and laughter."
Mana Hawaii, the first store of its kind, sponsors free classes throughout the week -- from lei making to ukulele and Hawaiian language lessons.
On Saturday evenings, Beach Walk will feature Na Mele No Na Pua -- award-winning local entertainers ranging from slack-key master Ledward Kaapana to Willie K.
On Tuesday afternoons, Beach Walk will offer the Ku Ha'aheo series at the plaza, featuring a blend of contemporary and traditional music and hula under the direction of kumu hula Blaine Kamalani Kia.
Outrigger will dedicate two Embassy Suites wings to music exhibits -- one a tribute to the history of Hawaiian music and the other a Hawaiian Music Hall of Fame.