Bar/fly: Honolulu

By Heather McCracken

Honolulu's Bevy pours drinks like it means business, writes Heather McCracken.
Cocktails are the focus at Honolulu's Bevy bar - there are only about 10 beers available by the bottle or can and one on tap. Illustration / Rod Emmerson
Cocktails are the focus at Honolulu's Bevy bar - there are only about 10 beers available by the bottle or can and one on tap. Illustration / Rod Emmerson

In a population of hybrid accents, Christian Self's is hard to place. There's a touch of American, sure, but that other accent bubbling underneath is puzzling at first - maybe because you don't hear many Scousers in Hawaii.

The accent is left over from Self's upbringing in Liverpool, masked by his 18 years in the islands. He's the owner and "mixologist" at Honolulu cocktail bar Bevy, a new, sophisticated drinking hole in the up-and-coming neighbourhood of Kaka'ako.

Partner Timo Lee spins the tunes, and Self works the bar. Cocktails are taken very seriously here. The extensive list - about 30 drinks, including four variations of mai tai - changes regularly, and includes Bevy originals and Self's twists on classics.

They're also made with his own range of home-made syrups, which means he really is making flavours you won't find anywhere else.

I can recommend ordering a round of Ciderhouse Mules (Self says he loved the movie they're kinda named for), made from apple cider, Domaine de Canton (ginger liqueur), brandy, lemon and chocolate bitters. Delicious.

Cocktails are the focus here - there are only about 10 beers available by the bottle or can, and just one on tap (Ironfist IPA).

If you do fancy an ale, there's a local brew on offer - the Maui Bikini Blonde.

Other than the beer, there's not much else about Bevy to remind punters they're enjoying a tipple on a tropical island.

Bevy opened in the site of a grimy sports bar - and from the outside still looks about as appealing - and has been classily refurbished with a vintage industrial feel.

That's fitting for Kaka'ako, a former industrial area undergoing major rejuvenation, with huge residential and retail development planned.

The area has an edgy, artsy vibe, and plays host to yearly street art festival Pow! Wow! Hawaii and a monthly street market - held right outside Bevy but soon to be shifting a block or two away.

Self says it's mostly a neighbourhood bar for locals, and he hopes to take advantage of the wave of new locals about to move in.

A few tourists are wandering in, too, especially on market night. That's every third Saturday from 6pm to 11pm, when you can step outside for delicious street food and live music, before retreating back to Bevy's cool interior for another cocktail.

But, on other nights, the nibbles here are pretty tempting. Oysters and papaya salad, ahi (yellowfin tuna) with olives, cocktail crab claws, and a pina colada tart were on the menu when I visited.

With tasty drinks and a warm, welcoming vibe, Bevy is a perfect stop-off on the tourist trail - and a glimpse of the vibrant, urban Honolulu it's hard to find at Waikiki beach.

CHECKLIST

Getting there: Air New Zealand flies non-stop to Honolulu up to five times a week from Auckland. Fares start from $570 a seat one-way, with Seat + Bag, The Works and Works Deluxe options across Economy, Premium Economy (where available) and Business Class cabins.

Grab a drink: Bevy is easy to find at 661 Auahi St, Honolulu.

Further information: See DiscoverAmerica.com for more on visiting Honolulu.

Heather travelled to Hawaii courtesy of Air New Zealand and the O'ahu Visitors Bureau.

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