Finding Beretania

The people, businesses, landmarks, history and food that make this street such an integral part of Honolulu’s cityscape.


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photo by Michael Keany

Hawaii State Capitol

Every state has its own way of working things out,” says guide Queenie Kuheana, as she leads a group of visitors around the Hawaii State Capitol (415 S. Beretania St.). Hawaii chooses to work out its laws in a remarkably open building, built between 1965 and 1969. The state seal, which hangs facing Beretania, is made of copper, Kuheana says, and weighs 7,500 pounds; the mosaic in the main hall is made of 600,000 tiles.

Cathedral Church of St. Andrew

You see a lot of brides at the Cathedral Church of St. Andrew (fronting Beretania, its official address is Queen Emma Square). “It’s very popular for Japanese couples to do a photo op here,” says Linda Verdugo, executive assistant to the canon administrator. “They do what the law requires in Japan, and then come and do a ceremony.” The church is notable among the local music community for its large Evensong on the first Sunday of each month, at 7 p.m., from September to May. There are also two full choirs, and bell ringing by the St. Andrew’s Ringing Society. “They are all rung in a mathematical formula,” explains Verdugo. “It’s not a tune, it’s a sequence. And you either really take to it, or wonder what the heck they are doing.”

photo by Kathryn Drury Wagner

Mix Cafe Honolulu

Chef Bruno Iezzi and his wife, Kim, searched for months before deciding to stake a claim for their new restaurant near HPU on Beretania. Their Mix Cafe Honolulu offers simple, cooked-from-scratch food ($5 to $10) in a chic little spot. Shortly before the restaurant opened, we feasted with the couple and sampled the watermelon juice, waffles, banana-nut pancakes, penne with house-made pork sausage, and spaghetti with spicy shrimp sauce. Espressos and cakes are on offer too, as are salads and panini. It’s home cooking—if you were lucky enough to have an Italian chef in your kitchen. Monday to Friday, 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. 35 S. Beretania St.; 537-1191.

Two statues mirror each other on opposite sides of Nuuanu Stream. Near Legend Seafood (at the Chinese Cultural Plaza, 100 N. Beretania St.), there’s a bronze of Dr. Sun Yat-Sen, leader of China’s Republican movement. The circa-1976 statue was moved to this location in 1984. On the other bank of the stream, there’s a statue of Filipino novelist, poet and national political hero Dr. Jose Rizal, donated by the Filipina Society in 1983.



photo courtesy Honolulu Academy of Arts

Honolulu Academy of Arts

Honolulu Academy of Arts founder Anna Rice Cooke once lived on this property with her husband, Charles Montague Cooke, directly across from Thomas Square. When she chartered the museum in 1922, however, the Cookes donated the land, and their residence was torn down to make way for a building designed by New York architect Bertram Goodhue. Today, the museum boasts more than 40,000 items from all over the globe, including Asia, Africa, Europe, the Americas and the Pacific. It’s also become a reliably hip night spot, thanks to Art after Dark, held on the last Friday of every month, and the Doris Duke Theatre, one of the city’s last venues for art-house movies. 900 S. Beretania St., 532-8700.

Honolulu Police Department’s Law Enforcement Museum

“I’ve got 1,001 stories,” says Eddie Croom, the curator of the Honolulu Police Department’s Law Enforcement Museum. Walking through the museum, it’s not hard to see why—Oahu’s entire law enforcement history is on display, from the admirable to the lurid: confiscated Saturday-night-specials, cock-fighting equipment, drug paraphernalia, vintage surveillance equipment and forensic kits, even a retired Harley-Davidson service motorcycle. Croom says the museum, which welcomes 10,000 to 12,000 visitors a year, including many local school children, helps demystify the Honolulu Police Department. “We like to encourage people to ask questions, find out how things work behind the scenes, so they won’t be afraid to talk with a police officer,” he says. Open Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.; guided tours are available on Tuesdays and Thursdays. 801 S. Beretania St., 529-3351.

photos BY (left) David Croxford, (right) Michael Keany

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