Manifesting a Bar
When Manifest opened in 2009, in the former space of a risqué bookstore, the bar carried just one bourbon, Jameson, two gins, and at least 15 vodkas, many of them flavored. You could have confused it with the well of any club bar in town. But in the past year, it’s built up one of Honolulu’s best selections of whiskey and gin, enough to fill a back bar 16 feet wide. (It is also one of the prettiest displays of booze around, for Manifest has become a bar that values style as much as substance.) Bar manager Justin Park’s star is rising along with Manifest’s: Last year, he won his first bartending competition with a Hotel Street Sour, and he’s been racking up wins ever since, including $10,000 in the World’s Best Mai Tai showdown.
From left to right: Pisco sour, old fashioned, and JP Collins.
Cocktail newbies and aficionados alike will find something to savor, whether it’s a drink on the rotating specials board, which features an Old Fashioned of the week (a recently spotted version: Bulleit bourbon, maple syrup, Bittercube Jamaican #1 bitters) or on the menu that includes a JP Collins, Park’s take on the classic Collins, subbing in Japanese Hakushu whiskey for gin, giving the drink a smooth, subtle smokiness with a long finish.
Park recalls a guest whose first visit was for a beer, but ordered a friend’s favorite cocktail repeatedly on subsequent visits. “We gauge our success by seeing what people order when they return,” Park says. “If they come back and order something suggested by a friend, we know we’ve done our job.”
Most early nights, Manifest is relaxed, but you may want to avoid Trivia Tuesdays if you want to be able to grab a seat along the bar and linger over a drink.
Manifest | 32 N. Hotel St., 523-7575 | manifesthawaii.com