Flights of Fancy: The Best Way To Find Out What Kind of Alcohol You Prefer Is To Try Everything

At these Hale ‘Aina winning restaurants and bars, you can choose your own drinking adventure or go with the pros. Here are three flights recommended by experts who won for their beer, wine and cocktails.


Flights Of Fancy: A Drinking Adventure

Flights Of Fancy: A Drinking Adventure in Honolulu



Bar Leather Apron

Best Cocktail: Gold

Hn1908 Ay Drink Flights Bar Leather Apron 2146

Photo: Aaron K. Yoshino


One of the most extensive whiskey (and Japanese whisky) selections on the island hides on the mezzanine level of Topa Tower. These three were all aged in new charred American white oak casks for Bar Leather Apron’s Single-Barrel Projects flight. The bar offers a few preset flights on the menu ranging from $25 to $85, though you can also build your own.


$25 for three 1-ounce pours, 745 Fort St., Suite 127A, (808) 524-0808,


Bar Leather Apron Pouring Whiskey Video

Video: Aaron K. Yoshino


2018 Maker’s Mark Private Select

The first bourbon in the flight smells of tobacco, eucalyptus, banana and hay, with a citrusy taste and warm finish.

ABV: 55.55%


2018 Knob Creek Single Barrel Bourbon

Vanilla notes carry through this nine-year-aged whiskey from first sniff to final swallow.

ABV: 60%


2018 Knob Creek Single Barrel Rye

Dried herbs, rye and oak greet you, followed by the taste of wood, cherry and tobacco with an herbal finish.

ABV: 57.5%



SEE ALSO: These Two Bars Deliver Some of Honolulu’s Most Luxurious and Creative Experiences



Square Barrels

Best Beer Program: Gold


Flights Of Fancy: A Drinking Adventure at Square Barrels

Photo: Aaron K. Yoshino


Square Barrels, one of our winningest restaurants this year with four awards (see gatefold after page 64), prides itself on craft beers paired with burgers, pasta, charcuterie and more. Partner Thomas Ray chose these four from more than a dozen rotating local brews on tap, but you can create your own mini beer fest from whatever’s available. 


$22 for any four 8-ounce pours, 1001 Bishop St., Suite 108, (808) 524-2747,


Square Barrels Happy Hour

Video: Aaron K. Yoshino


Kolohe, Lanikai Brewing Co.

Local tangelo zest makes this hazy IPA a touch sour. Of what he chooses to put on the menu, Ray says, “it depends what I’m in love with.”

ABV: 6.9%


Guava Lava, Paradise Ciders

Even without any bitterness, this cider isn’t overly sweet, showcasing pink guava and strawberry flavors.

ABV: 5.2%


Jalapeño Mouth, Waikīkī Brewing Co.

This amber ale comes with a kick, spicy up front with a smooth finish. Spiciness varies by batch.

ABV: 5.36%


Imperial Coconut Porter Variant Series: Coco Bean, Maui Brewing Co.

With Mānoa Chocolate cocoa nibs and Maui vanilla beans, this tastes like chocolate ice cream.

ABV: 9.4%



SEE ALSO: 2021 Hale ‘Aina Awards: 4 Great Drinking Crawls on O‘ahu




Best Wine Program: Finalist

Flights Of Fancy: A Drinking Adventure at Appetito

Photo: Aaron K. Yoshino


At Appetito Craft Pizza and Wine Bar, flights of any three 3-ounce wines come with a cheese board for $15 from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Here, beverage program director Jill Shiroma walks us through her picks. Appetito also hosts Vino Sociale every second Friday, where flights are paired with off-menu specials on the communal outdoor patio ($55).


150 Ka‘iulani Ave., (808) 922-1150,


The Beachhouse Sauvignon Blanc 2018

This easy-drinking, hard-to-find South African wine by Douglas Green goes great with seafood and is one of Appetito’s most popular finds.

ABV: 13%


Milbrandt Vineyards Rosé 2018

From Columbia Valley in Washington, this isn’t your typical dry rosé. Hints of apple add a light sweetness.

ABV: 12.5%


Contrade Negroamaro 2017

Though it’s a red, this Italian wine from Puglia isn’t heavy and finishes on a surprising peppery note.

ABV: 13.5%



SEE ALSO: Local Experts Share the Best Wine, Beer and Liquor For Drinking With Popular Cuisines