The newly opened Kanpai Club in the Heights might just be the kind of cocktail bar “where everyone knows your name.”
Kanpai, which means “cheers” in Japanese, is the sister concept and next-door neighbor to Hando, which specializes in hand-rolled sushi.
Family Meal Group is the team behind both concepts at 518 W. 11th St. Kanpai was designed to be both its own bar and to be overflow space for guests at Hando.
"The idea for Kanpai Club as a companion bar to Hando came shortly after dining rooms were closed due to the pandemic,” Family Meal Group partner Jason Andaya said. “With the belief that dining rooms would reopen under new distancing guidelines, we felt like we would eventually need to have a space that could double as a waiting area and an after-dinner spot to continue an evening out."
The décor at Kanpai was chosen to create a unique space that was reminiscent of back-alley bars in Japan.
Another way they brought Japanese features to the space was by implementing the element of a brick-toned Japanese roof inside that runs along the length of the bar.
The space, which shares a door with Hando, is about 400 square feet and sits 10 people at the bar.
Kanpai serves an array of cocktails, such as the Lazy Suze made with Hornitos Plata, Suze, apricot, coconut cream, lime, walnut and a spice blend served in a kitschy coconut glass, along with sake, beer and wine. The bar also serves small plates and late-night snacks such as curry fries, spicy edamame and chicken karaage.
Kanpai, which is cashless, operates 4 p.m.–midnight Sunday through Thursday and 4 p.m.-2 a.m. Friday and Saturday. Happy hour is from 4-6 p.m. daily. The late-night menu is available from 10 p.m.–midnight Sunday through Thursday and 11 p.m.-2 a.m. Friday and Saturday.