Honolulu’s rich coffee and food scene just got a little richer: 9Bar is a new destination for coffee and healthy food options in Honolulu’s Kaka’ako district, currently undergoing significant development and revitalization. Equipped with a capable Modbar espresso machine and Compak grinder combo, they’re also rocking gear by Fellow, Joe Tap, and Mahlkönig. The space has been carefully designed to maximize conversation and community; consider this a new must-visit on your list for Honolulu’s coffee scene.
As told to Sprudge by Ryan Plaza, Lead Barista at 9Bar HNL.
For those who aren’t familiar, will you tell us about your company?
We’re a brand new coffee, breakfast, and bake shop, opened by a group of people passionate about high-quality food service and community building. Self-described foodies and coffee nerds, Stephen and Tracey Seta brought together our team to create a concept cafe focused on specialty coffee paired with the best food and service possible.
The Setas are no strangers to coffee, having worked in the industry for several years marketing high-priced, premium coffees with sales geared mainly towards visitors. Yet despite working in an industry they were passionate about, the Setas felt unfulfilled. In Hawaii, we adopt an affinity to the culture here which is very community-centric and flooded with the spirit of “aloha”, and so it is our priority now to not only offer coffee that visitors would appreciate, but also create products that locals could love and enjoy, as well. The team’s vision is dedicated to sharing their love and appreciation for coffee culture and freshly prepared food with the community.
9Bar HNL knows that there is no better complement to a good cup of coffee than a selection of heart-warming food items—this is why the Setas and their team are just as passionate about providing fresh, homemade pastries and breakfast to complement their coffee. Food offerings are comprised of rustic-style dishes the Setas grew up enjoying, which is the inspiration behind 9Bar’s menu. Their recipes are traditional, comfort foods made to highlight seasonal ingredients. Choices will range from homemade pastries like cookies, bundt cakes, and scuffins to creative breakfast bowls filled with hearty vegetables and proteins. With an emphasis on balanced flavors, there will be many sweet and savory options available for everyone to enjoy, but because coffee is the perfect breakfast partner, breakfast options will be offered all day long.
Can you tell us a bit about the new space?
Our space is opening in a brand new shopping center in the heart of Honolulu, Hawaii. The district is called Kaka’ako, previously an industrial area that is currently being revitalized with urban shopping, restaurants, and apartments geared toward the local community in Oahu. We wanted to create an open atmosphere for the community to gather and share ideas while enjoying excellent coffee and food. 9Bar will have a modern design with an industrial flair. Long counters and bench seating will be available for guests to sit at while enjoying their coffee and baked goods, and the crisp white walls and geometric light fixtures will offer an ambiance of elegant simplicity. Its one of a kind coffee bar includes low counters to encourage open conversations between patrons and passionate baristas.
What’s your approach to coffee?
When it comes to coffee our approach is transparency. We want our guests to see everything we do to perfect our craft and share with them some of our knowledge. We strive to spark open conversations between our baristas and guests while cultivating the community atmosphere and our passion for food and drink service.
Any machines, coffees, special equipment lined up?
We’re going to be featuring a one of a kind custom built Modbar set up to allow either one or two baristas to work comfortably side by side. With two Compak grinders nestled between the two Modbar stations, we’ve allowed the guests to see all aspects of our drink creations. We’re also using the Joe Tap system for our nitro-infused cold-brew coffee. This ensures consistency while properly infusing the cold brew with the nitrogen. Joe Tap is the first coffee-focused system for cold-brew coffee and we are very excited with the results we are seeing. We will also be doing an assortment of pour-over coffees on different implements and to accomplish this we will be featuring the Stagg Pour-Over Kettle by Fellow, Acaia scales, and a Mahlkönig EK 43.
What’s your hopeful target opening date/month?
Monday, August 8, 2016.
Are you working with craftspeople, architects, and/or creatives that you’d like to mention?
INK Architects, PacCon Construction, ADI Design Group (interior design): These three firms have helped us with design and construction of our space.
Kona Coffee Purveyors (coffee roaster): They’ve helped us extensively with our Modbar layout and designing our espresso blend.
Photos courtesy of Nathan Hall.