2021 Hale ‘Aina Awards: 4 Great Drink Crawls on O‘ahu

Our award-winning spots for Best Beer Program, Best Wine Program and Best Brew Pub offer a wealth of options for your drinking pleasure.

 

09 21 Drink Crawl Web

Illustration: Kayla Rivera

 

 

Sure, you can rosé all day, but why should you when there’s a wealth of drink options across the city? Just remember, the most important rules for a great bar crawl are to pace yourself, stay hydrated and keep your designated driver happy. Here’s how to hit some of our Hale ‘Aina winners for the perfect Saturday booze cruise.

 


 

Route 1: In Town

 

Aloha Beer Co.’s outdoor area.

 

 

1. Start the party at Aloha Beer Co.’s beer garden in Kaka‘ako with an easy-to-drink Aloha Blonde (and some house-made kombucha for your DD). The light, crisp golden ale won’t knock you off your feet.

Best Brew PubSilver

Aloha Beer Co., 700 Queen St., (808) 544-1605, alohabeer.com, @alohabeerco

 

2. Walk three blocks to Bevy for a Modicano: a highball that owner Christian Self says “helps open up your taste buds” with its Amaro Averna, Punt e Mes vermouth, orange bitters and chilled soda. Happy hour starts at 5 p.m., so take $2 off some small plates to share.

Best Cocktail Program–Bronze

Bevy, 675 Auahi St., Suite 130, (808) 594-7445, bevyhawaii.com, @bevybar

 

 

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3. Now that you’re warmed up, head into Waikīkī for a change of scenery and a whiskey ginger from Maui Brewing Co. The white whiskey comes from MBC’s Kupu Spirits brand, and its ginger beer (which you can also get on its own) is brewed with organic cane sugar, Hawaiian honey and other local ingredients.

Best Brew Pub–Gold

Maui Brewing Co., 2300 Kalākaua Ave., (808) 843-2739, mauibrewingco.com, @mauibrewingco

 

4. Next, walk to Royal Hawaiian Center’s Island Vintage Wine Bar, where wine director Mark Cartland suggests the Obsidian Ridge Estate Cabernet Sauvignon. If you need a gap course, try the Navarro Vineyards grape juices, made from unfermented gewürztraminer and pinot noir grapes, the former floral and delicate, the latter sweet and jammy.

Best Wine Program–Finalist

Island Vintage Wine Bar, 2301 Kalākaua Ave., (808) 799-9463, islandvintagewinebar.com, @islandvintagewinebar

 

5. As the end of the night nears, return downtown for what Bar Leather Apron co-founder Tom Park calls “the perfect last cocktail”—the Royal Kunia. BLA’s Maker’s Mark Private Selection and Kō Hana’s Kokoleka chocolate and honey rum are mixed with Cynar and finished with sea salt, then served with a piece of Maui Specialty Chocolates Himalayan salt chocolate.

Best Cocktail Program–Gold

Bar Leather Apron, 745 Fort St., Suite 127A, (808) 524-0808, barleatherapron.com, @barleatherapron

 


 

Route 2: Town to Hawai‘i Kai

 

Flowers In The Park Amuse Wine Bar Photo Amuse Wine Bar

Photo: Courtesy of Amuse Wine Bar

 

 

1. Start at Amuse Wine Bar with Flowers in the Park. “It’s a low ABV cocktail, refreshing and easy drinking, the perfect way to ease into your night with hints of aloe, cucumber and violette,” says Alice, a manager there. Get there for happy hour, 5-6 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday, for special prices on select wine, beer and cocktails.

Best Wine Program–Bronze

1250 Kapi‘olani Blvd., second floor, (808) 237-5429, stagerestauranthawaii.com, @amusewinebar

 

 

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2. Next, go to Bar Leather Apron for Park’s mid-crawl pick, the BLA Big Boss Highball. “A refreshing start to the night with a whiskey highball featuring our Maker’s Mark Private Select, calamansi, Hawaiian chile pepper water, and soda. It’s still hot outside so a crisp highball will cool you down and the tart calamansi and slightly spicy chile pepper will get your appetite and palate ready for the night ahead.”

 

Island Vintage Wine Bar Kojilada Photo Island Vintage Wine Bar

The Kojilada. Photo: Courtesy of Island Vintage Wine Bar

 

 

3. The night gets even better with a wine-based cocktail, the Kojilada, at Island Vintage Wine Bar. “Made from house-made Japanese koji and blended juices, this drink is a dead-ringer for a piña colada sans rum,” says Cartland. “Low in alcohol and perfectly sweet, this is liquid dessert!”

 

4. Finish at Kona Brewing Co. with a Koko Crush. “This Hendrick’s Gin cocktail with an amaretto component makes for a delightful after-dinner digestif,” says bartender Sam Allen. “It will settle the stomach and cap your night off, making that Uber ride home a bit more enjoyable!” Or try an alcohol-free pineapple ginger punch cocktail, a blend of fresh juice and ginger beer that won’t make you miss the alcohol.

Best Beer Program–Bronze

7192 Kalaniana‘ole Highway, (808) 396-5662, konabrewingco.com, @konabrewinghawaiikai

 


 

Route 3: Town to Kailua

 

 

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1. Start at Moku Kitchen with a Paloma. “Grapefruit and lime keep the drink refreshing, the agave balances it out, and Maestro Dobel aged its tequila in French oak for us to give it a little extra flavor and smoothness,” says bar manager Mo Sanford. “I could drink this all night long.”

Best Cocktail Program–Silver

660 Ala Moana Blvd., (808) 591-6658, mokukitchen.com, @mokukitchen

 

2. Walk a few steps over to Bevy for a Col. Mustard with mustard-infused Buffalo Trace, Yellow Chartreuse, bitters, lemon and ginger liqueur. Self calls it “a boozy cocktail with layers of flavors, to have while your taste buds are still intact.”

 

 

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3. Work your way over to Bar Leather Apron for the tequila-based El Umami. Featuring Single Barrel El Tesoro Reposado Tequila, clarified strawberry and tomato water, Parks says it’s “not so heavy it puts you down for the night and the umami flavors will entice your palate and get your senses uplifted for the final stop.”

 

4. Walk over to Aloha Beer Downtown and take a break with a house-made kombucha or, if you’re feeling up to it, the Foot Lupes Hazy IPA. “A 7.8% ABV, it’s a big juicy IPA with restrained bitterness and a pronounced tropical fruitiness in the flavor and aromas,” says general manager Keno Leighty.

Best Brew PubSilver

220 S. King St., alohabeer.com, @alohabeerdowntown

 

 

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5. Then, catch a ride to the Windward Side to Maui Brewing Co. in Kailua and top off your night with an MBC Mai Tai, a “tasty cocktail with a little sweetness from the dark rum that is complimented by a fluffy house-made pineapple whip,” says Maui Brewing Co. Kailua general manager Scott Lilly.

Best Brew Pub–Gold

573 Kailua Road, Suite 105, Kailua, (808) 518-BREW, mbcrestaurants.com/kailua, @mauibrewingco

 


 

Route 4: East O‘ahu to Town

Kona Brewing Beers

Photo: Aaron K. Yoshino

 

 

1. Before you head into town, get a seat marina-side at Kona Brewing Co. and sip a Kona Light Blonde Ale on tap, a Best of HONOLULU winner.

 

The Honolulu Tourist Amuse Photo Amuse Wine Bar

The Honolulu Tourist. Photo: Courtesy of Amuse Wine Bar

 

 

2. Second stop is Amuse Wine Bar for The Honolulu Tourist, “a coconut tiki drink for those who want to play tourist in Honolulu instead of Waikīkī.”

 

3. Moku Kitchen’s Sanford has a tip for winding down: “I tend to prefer whiskey toward the end of a night out, whether it be a nice aged scotch to sip on or a whiskey cocktail without much mixed in.” He suggests The New Style, “a more modern take on an Old-Fashioned. As opposed to the traditional orange and sugar muddle, we use a house-made orange shrub to bring a brighter orange flavor and balance out the harshness of the whiskey.”

 

4. Walk over to Bevy to close out the night with a Cup of Philz. Made by bar manager Jordan Edwards with High West Double Rye, vermouth, amaro, house-made coffee bitters and fresh mint, it’s “a perfect nightcap, with the mint and coffee bitters giving you just enough of a pick-me-up to get you home safe in your Uber,” says Self.