Real Gastropub in Kakaako had been open barely a year when the coronavirus forced the shutdown of Oahu restaurants.
The owners of the restaurant, bar and brewery said their losses have been too great, and they’ve turned off the taps.
All Oahu bars will be able to reopen Friday, but Troy Terorotua and Lisa Kim said they decided a few days ago not to go forward. Real had been open for takeout, but ended that service June 6.
“We were going to lose money if we opened, and we can’t go into a hole,” Kim said. “It was such a hard decision. I was like a yo-yo going back and forth.”
The couple had a successful five-year run with their first gastropub, also called Real, in the Ward Farmers Market, but had to move in 2017 when the area was redeveloped. They opened in the Keauhou Lane complex last March, in a 3,000-square-foot space that included their Bent Tail Brewery.
Kim said they’d started 2020 strong, with some large parties on the books and plans for a big one-year anniversary celebration. Instead they spent much of March shuttered.
Terorotua and Kim also own Brew’d Craftpub in Kaimuki, and plan to reopen that site in July. Terorotua said the smaller space seats about 50, but with social distancing restrictions will be revamped to serve 20 to 25, including use of an outdoor seating area.
The brewing equipment will go into storage, he said, although he hopes to someday be able to make beer again. “For me it was a welcome change to get out of the kitchen and brew my own beer, and then get to see people enjoying what we made with our own hands and our own energy.”
Kim said they were granted federal Paycheck Protection Program aid for Real in April, but returned it because they were unable to reopen at the time. They were reapplying for a new grant, but withdrew the application once they made their fateful decision.
The losses were just too great to continue, Terorotua said. “At some point you have to rip off the Band-Aid and lick your wounds and see what’s next.”
Countless other businesses are in the same precarious position, he noted. “We aren’t the first and we won’t be the last.”