New pop-up: The Curb, a cafe and coffee lab at Ala Moana Center

The Curb pop-up coffee bar in Beyond Bare Waxing

In the bottom floor of Ala Moana Center, next to a loading dock on the mauka side of the mall, there's a pop-up cafe in what used to be a former waxing salon, and before that, Arby's. There are remnants of each previous tenant—the sign in the front says "Beyond Bare Waxing," salon supplies are in the back, and beyond that, the entire Arby's production kitchen. It's as if each tenant fled in the face of a zombie apocalypse, and left all their belongings, not so unthinkable in this dismal corner of Ala Moana.

Left: Sumner Ohye brews a Japanese iced coffee, right: a latte from The Curb

But with The Curb pop-up, Sumner Ohye brings a jolt of energy and a kick-ass cup of coffee and espresso to the wasteland. He took advantage of this in-flux space to build a two-and-a-half month cafe, with pour-over coffees, expertly-pulled espresso and new-to-Honolulu Japanese iced coffee. Everything is brewed to order, with Stumptown and local Hawaii beans such as Kau Typica from Rusty's Hawaiian. Coffee tasting and brewing workshops are held Saturday mornings.

Try the iced coffee, brewed by the Japanese method and using a Chemex, with half of the water replaced with ice cubes at the bottom of the brewing vessel. It's a touch lighter and the method extracts some more nuanced flavors than the toddy, though the latter, darker and stronger, lends itself beautifully to a bit of milk. 

The Curb's original and still-open location is at UH Manoa, but the mall pop-up offers a more personalized experience. Ohye works this temporary space as a lab, playing with different coffee techniques and beans. You can get your caffeine fix here, but if you like, you can also stop and linger (but alas, no waxing services and no more roast beef sandwiches) and learn more about coffee.

The Curb pop-up coffee bar at Ala Moana Center, open until August 1. See upcoming workshops and other updates on their Facebook page: