Pau Hana Patrol: Cocktails shine at Bevy
BY STEFANIE NAKASONE / firstname.lastname@example.org
In my experience, most happy hours cater to the beer-drinking crowd, offering really good deals on drafts and pitchers but rarely offering good mixed-drink specials, if they have any good concoctions at all.
661 Auahi St., Kakaako
4-7 p.m. Tuesdays-Saturdays
But at Bevy, cocktails are king. And while that stands to reason, considering the Kakaako bar is co-owned by respected mixologist Christian Self, one pleasant surprise for me on my recent visit was the amazing food.
Bevy opened in late August and has been a hit with the young and hip working crowd ever since, particularly with its location smack-dab in the middle of the popular monthly “Honolulu Night Market.”
With all the buzz surrounding the bar, it can get very crowded — the bar itself seats about 12 people, and there are only a handful of tables fronting the kitchen. But I was lucky enough to visit Bevy on a relatively slow Tuesday, “our Monday,” Self said, so snagging a couple of seats was no problem.
The bar has a modern feel, a far cry from the timeless dive vibe of the space’s former tenant, Scores Bar and Grill. The decor is what I’d call “subdued steampunk,” with lots of wood mixed with splashes of metal for an industrialized feel.
The bar is fairly dark, lit mostly by old-fashioned light bulbs hanging from the ceiling. They don’t give off much light, mostly just a yellow tinge, but they sure look cool and fit in perfectly with the surroundings.
While I enjoyed the drinks, the reason I would go back to Bevy is to try out chef Jamal Lahiani’s latest offerings. Known for his inventive creations at Chinatown’s thirtyninehotel, Lahiani is like a culinary mad scientist, always experimenting with different specials and menu items.
A constant at Bevy’s happy hour is $1 oysters. Of course, they’re not just regular oysters — they come with a papaya and dragon fruit mignonette. While I passed because of personal tastes, my friend tried one and said it was delicious — a good blend of flavors without an ocean-taste.
During my visit, among the daily specials was a rosemary-Parmesan panna cotta served in a mason jar with rolled-up salami ($12). In a word, this dish was “OMG!” The panna cotta was wonderfully creamy and salty, with the rosemary adding another layer of flavor. Although it was served with crostini, my friend and I devoured about half the jar all by itself.
Feeling adventurous, we also tried the on-menu “liver and onions” ($8), a chicken mousse with crostini accompanied by glazed, pickled and fried onions. We enjoyed what we could of this incredibly rich dish before deciding we’d had enough.
For a taste of the familiar, we also ordered the schnitzel curry with mac ($12). The schnitzel was crispy and delicious with the mild curry sauce. The mac salad — made with sesame oil instead of mayonnaise — was nothing outstanding but tasted much fresher than the tired, usual preparation.
Bevy offers a “cocktail of the day” for $5. On this day, it was a Rattlesnake — a whiskey sour with an absinthe rinse and bitters. Despite my penchant for sugary-sweet drinks, I loved the Rattlesnake. It was the epitome of a good drink — all the flavors complemented each other perfectly. That trend continued with the other drinks my friend and I tried.
The regular-priced drinks are more pricey — most $8 to $10 — but are worth the splurge. The Moscow Mule, served in the traditional copper mug, is not only visually appealing but delicious, and a Sarsaparilla Julep is also a winner, although the mint was a bit on the strong side.