Located in Chinatown’s historic Central Plaza, Realm is a haven for unique and thoughtfully designed housewares, books and gifts. Housing a combination of modern design objects and Asian influences, the store features bright and fanciful details refurbished from its origins as a bar and restaurant.
Chinatown’s Central Plaza was developed in the early 1930’s as part of the relocation of the Chinese community from the area where Union Station now stands. The new neighborhood was conceived as a place that would draw tourists throughout from the country with traditional Chinese architecture and an outdoor market atmosphere.
The building Realm calls home was developed as a Chinese restaurant and bar in 1939 by The Hong Family. In it’s 50-year-plus existence, the restaurant went through a few name changes but most remember it as Hong Kong Low. In the ‘70s it was a venue for punk bands called the Hong Kong Café.
The place was then shuttered for 10 years before its renovation in 2004 as part of Chinatown’s neighborhood revitalization. Many of the original architectural features of Realm were restored, such as the hand painted ceiling tiles, statues and the original bar. Historical photographs and original renderings line the walls, serving as a backdrop for the wares for sale. To this end, Realm not only seeks to provide a source for lovely objects for the home, but to also fortify and preserve Chinatown’s rich history and culture.
chinatown central plaza
© Realm 2015