A SQUARE AFFAIR
There’s nothing I don’t love about discovering a new place to grab a burger and a drink. I really thought I had tapped them all (sorry, bar writer jokes…), but then I discovered Square Barrels a few weeks ago.
Tucked into the mall level of Bishop Square (1001 Bishop Street) between Umeke Market and Cookie Corner sits this haven for both foodies and craft cocktail enthusiasts. I saddled up to the bar, immediately drawn to the eye-catching, color-changing tap wall. I took a glance at the menu, but asked the bartender, Marty, what his recommendation was. He told me to go with the Ginger Mojito or Old Fashioned.
I settled on the Ginger Mojito (pictured), a blend of Deep Island Hawaiian Rum, fresh lime juice, simple syrup and mint. The first sip was so refreshing, and I loved the added taste of ginger. But my favorite part was how crisp the mint tasted — it was fresh and accented the drink neatly. It wasn’t as strong as I had hoped, but it paired nicely with the poutine — fries swimming in a demiglace sauce and cheddar cheese — that I ordered.
After chatting with Marty, it’s no surprise it was love at first sight for me at this watering hole: Square Barrels is a product of Pint + Jigger’s co-owner Hideo Simon.
In addition to its cocktails, Square Barrels is also stocked with more than 20 beers on tap from a number of local, national and international craft breweries. That was, in fact, part of the impetus behind Simon starting the joint. As he explains on the bar’s website, he wanted “to create a culinary experience that’s an ode to that simple yet awesome meal combination.”
“It’s like my college days of getting a burger at the drive-thru and picking up a six-pack of craft beer at the convenience store and going home to have my ultimate dinner.”
(Protip: Don’t let parking stress you out. Square Barrels will validate at the Downtown Honolulu Bishop Square Garage for $2.)