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Downbeat Diner and Lounge

  • Veg-friendly Veg-friendly
    ( 22 reviews )
Contact 808-533-2328

42 N Hotel St (at Smith), Honolulu, Hawaii, USA, 96817

Serves meat, vegan options available. American diner and lounge run by indie musicians. Offers a vegan choice for every menu item; breakfast all day. Mon 10:00am-12:00am, Tue-Thu 10:00am-3:00am, Fri-Sat 10:00am-4:00am, Sun 10:00am-11:00pm

Category: Vegan-friendly, Lacto, Ovo, American, Beer/Wine, Non-veg

Reviews (22)

First Review by scarletp5


Come here if you're vegan, you won't regret it! This is the real deal. Nice atmosphere & the bus takes you right to it! Amazing, amazing food and decent prices for Hawaii! The entire menu can be veganized! From cheese to bacon! You got it! :)

Pros: entire menu can be made vegan

Cons: nothing!

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just awesome. - Edit

I was blown away by this place. Everything on the menu could be made vegan and I mean proper not just take out the cheese and mayo. I mean vegan cheese and vegan mayo. The service was great. The food was so tasty.

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Downbeat Diner - Chinatown - Edit

Downbeat Diner specializes in classic American and diner-esque cuisine. With a vegan and vegetarian option for almost everything on the menu as well as homemade cocktails, and specialty drinks. Parking is a bit challenging. Street parking/metered parking is usually the route to go. Option: pay parking lots for $5-$10, but if you're eating sometime after 6pm, look for metered parking as it is free after 6pm. We ordered the Vegan Hot Wings (5pcs/$7), Vegan BBQ Wings (5pcs/$7), The Carnivore (vegan) Burger ($10), Volcano Fries ($7), and Vegan Shakes ($5). Everything was really tasty and had nice portions. This will definitely be a spot we come back to. Looking forward to trying other dishes.

Pros: Vegan Comfort Food, Good Value, Friendly Staff

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Excellent options and Knowledgeable staff - Edit

Came here with friends after spending a long day on the beaches. We were looking for a suitable spot that would be open after 9pm and this was the available option-they are open very late, past midnight (website says 3 or 4 am, but in practice, a bit earlier if there are no customers). Turns out, we were pleasantly welcomed as vegans (the wait staff asked 'vegan or regular' for each item we ordered) and they offer a vegan option for most every single dish on their menu. Very tasty, very welcome feel, great service! Their bbq 'wings' are amazing (Layonna, I think). Curly fries and sandwiches are great too. I liked everything that I ordered!

Pros: Wide variety of options, knowledgeable staff, open

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Delicious vegan diner food - Edit

I'll just underscore what everyone else said. Lots of vegan options, mostly items on the menu are not vegan by default but can be veganized. I got the California burger upon the recommendation of our server- yum, avocado! Definitely worth a stop and worth making the trip to.

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yum! - Edit

This place has a ton of vegan options and faux meats. I got a vegan burger and it was delicious! They even have shakes for us weirdos! It was attached to a bar. It's very hipster but even my parents enjoyed the vibe. They play music like New World and other punk bands. I recommend!

Pros: tons of vegan options, nice waiters

Cons: not completely vegan

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Variety of good options! - Edit

Almost every dish could be made vegan and not just by taking stuff off. They offer vegan meats and cheeses and serve breakfast all day including French toast and vegan shakes! I had the pesto tofu scramble with avocado homefries and toast, it was great and not too greasy! The scramble had onions and mushrooms too which was a plus. They also had happy hour from 4-7 in the diner and lounge area and a decent beer selection! Some beers for $3 on happy hour

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Decent Diner Food - Edit

This menu is confusing at first because everything can be made vegan but nothing is by default vegan. I am generally nervous about vegan substitutions because I've seen mixups many times at various restaurants (& reported in some reviews here), so I got a burger which I figured would be the least like real meat. My sister was unsure of her vegan chicken dish, but our omnivore friend verified it as not-meat. That said, my vegan cheeseburger was obviously vegan & it hit the spot. Salad & garlic fries (with side of vegan gravy) were also good. Service was good & everyone enjoyed their meal. I would give it 3.5 stars because I'd like to see some exclusively vegan menu options (with no chance of mixups) & since it has so many 4-star ratings, I'm going with 3.
Punk rock, casual atmosphere. Full bar.

Pros: Anything can be vegan, Tasty diner food, Reasonable prices

Cons: Everything non-vegan by default

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5 stars really! - Edit

Amazing fatty foods! I wanted to order the whole vegan menu! So delicious and reminded me of home, Seattle.
Great ska music playing too.

Pros: great vegan selection, yummy greasy real food, awesome music

Cons: parking

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Great veg options - Edit

Great vegan and vegetarian substitutions for everything on the menu! When is the last time you had buffalo wings?!?! They have a vegan version of them. The veggie burger was so good I'm still thinking about it! Double check you food and order and be a little vigilant about vegan stuff- they don't totally catch things like the fact that the buffalo wings come with ranch dressing so if you are vegan you want to ask about EVERYTHING before you eat it.

Pros: Black bean burger!!!, Cool vibe, live music some nights, ginger brew

Cons: Staff isn't vegan trained so ask questio, parking is not that easy

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fun, friendly! - Edit

ordered a burger called carnivore in all vegan (veg burger, veg ham, veg bacon). it was good. the lychee sour mixed drink is a must get. this is best for late night dining and comfort food. go for the atmosphere and many veg options.

Pros: atmosphere, friendly waiter, vegan friendly

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so so good!! - Edit

I had the BBQ "chicken" sandwich and can't say enough about how outrageously good it was! I am not a huge fan of fake meat, but this sandwich was so good, the sauce so so good, fries delicious and organic beers to go with it - mmmm! The atmosphere was funky and chill. Better yet - my friend, a Honolulu resident, had eaten there a tonne of times and didn't know you could eat vegan and veg and NoW she can get all her favs from there even healthier for the planet! Loved it!!

Pros: great sauce, delicious healthy down home food, nice atmosphere and music

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The first place you should go to when in Honolulu - Edit

Seriously amazing.

I was able to eat here twice, first time I got the vegan Monte Cristo and the second time I got the vegan buffalo chicken(so spicy! Which I absolutely love!). I also tried the some of the food my family got. Amazing! Pretty much anything can be made vegan, even the desserts! The fritters are divine.

Super cute diner, with friendly staff and amazing comfort food. Complete with juke box and movies projected on the wall at night.

Pros: great food, almost everything can be vegan, atmosphere

Cons: that's it's not 100% vegan

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I want this at home! - Edit

Note: This funked up diner is fantastic for vegans. It's unfortunate that this place appears under "veg-friendly" and might be missed by some because it really does rank with the best vegan offerings I've seen. The 4 star rating is happy-cows's limit for non-veg places but I'd give this place 6 stars if I could.

Our family came here a couple of times on our Hawaiian holiday and we had a superb fill of "junk food" that tasted just like junk food should taste - great! It was as greasy/salty/sweet/decadent as the real, ugly, deal. And being able to order almost everything off the menu and know it was vegan was a real treat.

(I think there may have been "healthier" options on the menu too but we skipped those; it was a holiday, right?)

When we were there - at a time appropriate for our young kids - it wasn't very busy but it looks like the sort of place that really lights up late. And Josh the host was most welcoming too.(He is an ex-vegan with a solid rights understanding and I reckon just waiting for the right nudge to get him back on track - give him one!)

I wish it was exclusively vegan but...

All-in-all: loved it; our best vegan find on our entire Hawaiian trip. Salivating right now thinking about it. I wish we had something like this locally because I'd be there all the time!


Pros: Tasty!, The choice!, Cool setting

Cons: Wish it was exclusively vegan

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totally rad hip vegan friendly diner/bar - Edit

Downbeat diner is a must stop for vegans in honolulu. Its in china town and has a tattoo friendly crowd. Every menu item can be veganized, but after reading about some mix ups we stuck with avo sandwiches sub avo for cucumber. The rootbeer float was good, too. Its a neat experience and not your average veg friendly place with a lot of personality

Pros: cucumber sandwich, cool alt diner vibe

Cons: parking lots are 5$

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Correction - Edit

I don't often write reviews of restaurants on places like this or Yelp or whatever. In fact, I never have. But I am compelled to weigh in here on the Downbeat Diner's defense. Not that they really need it, the quality of the food there can easily speak for itself if you go there with a lick of common sense.

YES!! It is all actually vegan. You've got to be kidding me. A place CAN'T legally serve meat to someone when it's been advertised as vegan, to suggest anyplace would do that is ludicrous. They'd be shut down.

It is also really that good. Anyone who has been to a place that is really expert with mock meats can tell you that there are some places that do make you wonder.

Except for a few dishes everything on the menu has a vegan option and while I can't speak for the quality of any of the meat dishes, I can say, now having been back to the place a whole heap of times, that just about everything on the vegan menu is bang-up. Their house veggie burger is absolutely savory and makes for a perfect breakfast loco moko (one weird thing about the loco moko... instead of a brown-style gravy they use their house tahini gravy. I know, it sounds weird, but it's awesome, turns out much like a southern-style white gravy that is great with a dash of tobasco).

Yeah, it's a punk-rock diner, so the service is a bit, "so what the hell do you want?" But they're actually really nice people and besides, the jukebox is more than entertaining enough to occupy your mind if you're the sort of person who can't wait an extra five minutes before you start cramming food down your maw.

In short: I love this place. I've been in Hawaii for only a few years, bitching about how hard it is to find vegan food here the entire time. I'll be moving off island soon and I will miss Downbeat terribly, as I found it only all too late and it is one of the only truly awesome places on this rock to eat.

Oh: and they do movie nights. Dope!

Pros: The food, The options, The juke

Cons: The overwhelming options, Sometimes they open when they feel like

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Good veggie burger selection - Edit

If I could give this 0 cows, I would. A steakhouse and McDonalds is more vegetarian-friendly then this place. At least there, you know what to avoid, and you can get a salad if nothing else. This place on the other hand is deceiving. I found this place on Groupon about a month ago, and was exited to read the vegan options, thinking this would be a good place to take on an outing with carnivore friends, so I bought 3. Yesterday, I was looking for a vegetarian restaurant near a movie theater my friend and I were going to. That's when I visited HappyCow and found Downbeat Diner and was reminded of the coupons I bought. I read the warning from the other reviewer, and I was hoping that was just a one time mistake that they learned from. I went there this evening with my friend and ran into the exact same problem as the other reviewer. Long wait, and real meat despite the vegan order. We ordered the meal to go so we could make the movie on time. When the meal arrived (by that time, we were already late for the movie), I asked if the boxes were labeled which ones were vegan. I had ordered 2 vegetarian sandwiches (1 for lunch tomorrow). They said no, but they could if I wanted to. We already had to wait an additional 5+min for them to put them in take-out boxes when they had forgotten it was for take-out, so I told them forget it, we'll just figure it out. They said definitely, because it'll be obvious just by the look. In the car while my friend was driving, I took a look at the "vegan" beef sandwhich, which looked and smelled very real. I looked at the 2 chicken sandwhiches (1 was supposed to be vegan) and they both looked exactly the same. Later, my friend tried both to see if he could tell the difference in taste. He said they both tasted exactly the same and very real. I know mock meats can taste/look very real, but I highly doubt that the cut/texture/size/taste would be exactly the same, especially after being told it'll be obvious just by the look alone. I've also had a variety of mock beef patties and have never seen one with such realistic texture and smell as the one I got here, so I'm very sure it was real. If you're vegan for animal purposes, don't bother coming here because it defeats the purpose. I'm sure if I went back, they would have taken it back and given me the correct order, but that defeats the purpose. I'm sure they'll throw away the meat you give back, meaning that your money just went to them to support the killing of animals

Pros: Good vegetarian selection, Friendly waitresses, quiet

Cons: Careless cooks (overlooks vegan orders), Long wait, Parking

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great expectations + mix-up = sadface - Edit

I was really excited to come here. Vegan option for every menu item! Spent several minutes talking to the waitress about the vegan options, especially the veggie burger patty. Ordered a veg chicken sandwich and the veg Western burger (BBQ, onion, 'bacon', subtract cheese). Or so I thought. After a very long wait what arrived (via a different waitress) was the non-veg Western burger (beef patty, real bacon). Good thing I remember the distinct smell of beef. Sent it back and soon received a veg burger, but with no trimmings whatsoever! Also ordered the vegan apple fritters with ice cream. The ice cream was definitely vegan but after what happened with the burger, I couldn't help but have doubts about the fritters (which at least were delicious). The food was good (would have been better if I hadn't received a plain Jane veggie burger) but between the wait (they weren't very busy yet) and the mix-up somewhere between my spoken order and the cooks hands, I was pretty let-down and cranky. Oh, one minor saving grace was that I loved the music they were playing. It's like they secretly knew the content of my music collection.

Pros: vegan option for everything, tasty, good music

Cons: received obviously non-vegan food, multiple waitstaff per table = mix-ups, far from Waikiki

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