These Waikiki residents are used to noise. But their newest neighbor is trying their patience

A new bar could be coming to a residential area of Waikiki, but some residents say “no thanks.”
Published: Jan. 23, 2023 at 7:35 PM HST|Updated: Jan. 24, 2023 at 10:20 AM HST
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HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - A new bar could be coming to a residential area of Waikiki, but some residents are saying “no thanks.”

The concern is around increased noise and disruptive activity in the area just mauka of Kuhio Avenue. Residents told HNN that the area is already noisy, and adding a bar will only make the situation worse.

“As Waikiki residents, we all know there is going to be an amount of city noise,” said Mariah White, who lives on Ka’iulani Avenue, where the bar is planned.

“Why expand that? Why make all of Waikiki an unrestful area. We live here.”

But not everyone in the community has a problem with the proposed bar.

“I’ve been here for 40 years. It’s part of living in Waikiki,” said Gwendolyn Poche, who also lives on Ka’iulani Avenue.

Earlier this month, more than 200 petitioners asked the Honolulu Liquor Commission to revoke the license of 888 Phoenix. Commissioners denied the request, saying they didn’t see a problem with the proposed plan.

“That is not the entire community. That is your neighborhood. This is a very small bar. So the impact will be proportionate,” said then-Interim Chair Malama Minn, who has since resigned from the commission.

Jacob Wiencek, with the Waikiki Neighborhood Board, says the decision is disappointing.

“We definitely really need noise to be addressed. Waikiki residents appreciate that we live in the state’s tourist hub, but there are residents here, and the balance has shifted way out of whack,” said Wiencek.

Opponents are hopeful about recent changes at the Liquor Commission, including the resignation of interim Chair Malama Minn. They say it may be the opportunity they need to restart the debate over the bar’s location.