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The King of Chinatown

How Dave Stewart revived an ailing neighborhood with booze and six simple rules.


(page 5 of 5)

Bar 35 is as close to heaven as it gets for Honolulu beer lovers, with more than 150 bottled varieties on chill, and thin-crust pizza with which to wash down the suds.

I end up helping Al Sieverts and Stewart with the bratwurst, putting on squiggles of mustard and catsup, and handing them out to the crowd, which seems to have a stunning percentage of attractive young women.

It’s a good gig, because Al has sent to the bar for a bottle of Taittinger champagne.

“Al, don’t forget you’ve got a job to do with those baguettes,” grumbles Stewart. “Try not to get f—ked up too early in the evening. I know that will be a challenge for you.”

“A challenge for me?!” says Sieverts. “That’s harsh.”

The two are obviously best friends.

“You have to abuse Al just to get his attention,” says Stewart. “I always say what I think. Not everyone appreciates that.”

Grilling and giving away 250 bratwurst takes time. At one point, I take over the grill. “Don’t touch those tongs,” says Stewart. “If you were in New Zealand right now, you’d be f—king thrown out of the country. Never touch another man’s barbecue.”

He’s been diverted because he’s just delegated the difficult problem of a young lady locked in the restroom to Francisco Valentini, who’s resplendent tonight in a black patterned blazer.

“See, I got Francesco to handle it. That’s why it’s important for me to have this job.” Steward points to the grill. “Something comes up, I’m busy. So don’t touch my tongs ever again.”

After a couple of hours, we give all the bratwurst away.

“What do we do now?” I ask Stewart.

“We get drunk,” he says. “Then we go to Du Vin and eat.”

There’s a rule for this as well.

 Stewart rule No. 6: “There’s absolutely no point in working if you’re not enjoying yourself.”


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Honolulu Magazine April 2019
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