Bar report: Pint and Jigger
Left: Genever Southside, right: Cynar Polygamy
Pint + Jigger
1936 S. King St.
Although a relative newcomer to Honolulu's bar scene, the recently-turned one year old Pint + Jigger feels like an old friend. Its communal, laidback vibe gives this gastropub-meets-neighborhood-bar a homey atmosphere that sometimes belies the sophistication that can be found behind the bar.
Picnic tables, shuffleboard, large TVs so you don't miss a game: touches that make P+J homey. It's also the watering hole for many chefs and post-shift industry folk (Mavro and Alan Wong's are just down the street).
Cocktail-wise, P+J's list focuses mostly on new creations from bar manager and partner Dave Newman, but with a few resurrected classics like the Aviation. Made with gin, lemon, and sugar, it's the dash of creme de violette that gives the drink its trademark hue and floral notes. Newman does a great job at choosing classics that are both accessible to new imbibers and have great stories to go along with them. (Read more about the Aviation and the related saga of creme de violette here and here.
There is a hearty beer list as well, with a categories of premium "Ridiculously Good Beers," moderately-priced "Brews That Don't Suck," canned "Aluminum Suds," and the "Lucky 21" on tap. I enjoy the Belgian style beers, like Chimay Blue Cap and Ommegang Three Philosophers (both at $12), though there is practically something for everyone.
Newman—who is president of the Hawaii Chapter of the U.S. Bartenders Guild—leads an all-star team of bartenders whose credits include Town, Apartment3, Uncle Bo's, and the Hideaway, to name a few. Unlike other bars, where consistency can be dicey depending on who's working, the Pint crew never fails to please. Newman impresses upon his bar staff the importance of spirit knowledge, cocktail history, and hospitality; sit at the bar for a few rounds and you'll no doubt learn a thing or three.
Newman's known for his application of kitchen techniques behind the bar. The Brown Trout, in which Newman uses the sous vide cooking technique to infuse whiskey barrel wood chips with Hendrick's gin, Aperol, blended Scotch, and Bonal (a French aperitif), has been a crowd favorite since it was featured at last December's Star Chefs Rising Stars dinner.
His mesquite smoked Manhattan is as it sounds: a Manhattan with a smoky underpinning. To achieve the smokiness, he takes a pastry torch to his mesquite wood chips, trapping the smoke inside a coupe glass before he pours the drink inside.
A recent menu refresh added a buffalo chicken sandwich ($13), Manila clams with creamy Dijon broth ($11), and pan-seared salmon ($14). Favorites like the Scotch egg ($7), beer-battered ono and fries ($12), and stout burger ($13) remain. Every Sunday the kitchen does a Sunday roast, with specials like meatloaf or pot roast. The food portions are large enough to be shared, but manageable enough for one hungry person to finish.