Grind Time: Eight50 joins Leeward Bowl ohana
BY JASON GENEGABUS / firstname.lastname@example.org
Leeward Oahu residents now have a much more convenient option for craft beer, fine wine and great whiskey.
Nearly 50 years after opening Leeward Bowl at the Pearl City Shopping Center, owner Richard Akimoto has renovated two retail spaces next to the bowling alley to create eight50, a new concept that general manager Kelly Jeffers said will encourage customers to “expect the unexpected.”
850 Kamehameha Highway
Open 4 p.m. to 1 a.m. Mondays through Saturdays; 4 p.m. to midnight Sundays
“This was all Aki’s idea,” said Jeffers, who originally hails from Philadelphia and moved to Oahu about two months ago to pursue a graduate degree at the University of Hawaii. “He wanted a craft beer bar on this side of the island that people could come to and enjoy.”
A former bar manager in Boston, he applied for a bartender job on Craigslist and ended up with the general manager gig at eight50. His background in craft beer and premium whiskey was a natural fit, since the new bar will offer nearly 100 different beers, including 12 taps that will constantly rotate in new brews.
During Friday’s official grand opening celebration, the following draught beers will be available:
» Knee Deep Simtra (Triple IPA; San Diego)
» Sierra Nevada Hop Hunter (American IPA; Chico, Calif.)
» Ciamontane The Citizen (California Common; San Diego)
» La Trappe Bock (Trappiste Bock; Netherlands)
» Breakside Wanderlust (American IPA; Portland)
» Clown Shoes Clementine (Witbier; Ipswitch, Mass.)
» Belching Beaver Rabid Beaver (Rye IPA; Vista, Calif.)
» Gigantic Peace Loving Decoy (Vienna/Amber Lager; Portland)
» Reinsert Wild Ale (Belgian Pale Ale; Belgium)
» Pelican Kiwanda (Cream Ale; Pacific City, Ore.)
» Clown Shoes Space Cake (Double IPA; Ipswitch, Mass.)
» Goose Island Bourbon Country Brand Stout (Imperial Stout; Chicago)
While the interior at eight50 isn’t complete, a variety of seating options are already available — 20 barstools, low and high bar tables and a handful of couches offer plenty of places to sit.
Jeffers said the bar will have a cinematic theme, with movie posters adorning the walls and embellished quotes from popular films helping to break down the drinks menu into different sections. A new, 151-inch digital projection system will allow for a weekly movie night, with other entertainment options in the works during the week.
A full menu will also be available, with dishes like Tofu Ahi Patties with Garlic Aioli ($12), a Bleu Cheese Bacon Burger ($13), Candy Bacon-Wrapped Asparagus ($10), Parmesean Truffle Fries ($10), Ahi Carpaccio ($13) and Beef Tenderloin ($16).
“We’ve got a lot of different flavors going on in this venue,” said Jeffers. “We’re an industry bar. We’re a local bar. We can be upscale or clubby.
“With the addition of eight50, this is now the Leeward Bowl complex. You can come in here, buy a beer and take it into the bowling alley.”
While the extensive selection of craft brews will undoubtedly warm the hearts of many beer fans, it was the liquor bottles on the back bar at eight50 that got this self-admitted whiskey geek really excited. There are very few watering holes on Oahu with bottles like E.H.Taylor Barrel Proof, Stagg Jr., Angel’s Envy and Beam Suntory’s latest Parker’s Heritage Collection release just sitting out on the bar. And while it wasn’t Pappy Van Winkle, the presence of a bottle of Old Rip Van Winkle 10-year old bourbon was like spotting a unicorn in the wild. We normally don’t see these highly-allocated whiskeys making their way to Hawaii.
Jeffers said he was incredibly grateful for the warm welcome he’s received from local distributors, mentioning that Young’s Market Co. of Hawaii, in particular, was instrumental in getting eight50 set up for success during the grand opening phase. During the bar’s soft opening on Feb. 20, nearly 100 customers packed the 2,000-square-foot space with zero advance publicity.
“The people from Pearl City have been really supportive,” he said. “Everyone in the community loves (Akimoto). He genuinely cares about people. I think given the support we’ve been getting, it’s gonna be pretty cool watching this take off.”
“Grind Time” is always looking for the latest places to get your grub on. Email Jason Genegabus with restaurant, bar or any other food/drink-related item at email@example.com and follow him on Twitter and Google+.