The bar nestled in the heights of the Japanese restaurant is a worthy destination

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Kanpai Club is now open inside Heights Sushi Bar Hando at 518 West 11th in the heights. The new bar presents a wide selection of creations cocktails, top of the line spirits and Sake, quality Beer and eclectic bar bites. Houston Food Finder was invited to a media preview to explore the space and the offerings.

Designed as an overflow space for guests waiting to sit at the main bar, the Kanpai Club easily stands out as a destination for drinks and snacks. The entrance is an unassuming red door adjacent to Hando’s welcome stand near the entrance. Once inside, guests can expect a unique Japanese cocktail bar with hints of tiki paradise. The relaxed environment means that there is nothing wrong with stopping for something simple, like a beer with a bit of Curry smothered waffle fries next to.

Kanpai club bar
The Kanpai Club bar. Photo by Ryan Kasey Baker.

The drinks

The Kanpai Club menu revolves around the Cocktail Program, which features several drinks previously available alongside Hando, while significantly expanding the selection. The intention is to combine sophisticated drinks with the creativity and sense of fun of the bar staff. All house cocktails are in a reasonable price range of $ 9 to $ 12, which matches other restaurants in the Heights area.

cocktails at Kanpai Club
Signature drinks from the Kanpai Club opening menu. Courtesy photo.

Bartenders are very good at putting Japanese touches on classic cocktails. An example is Plum is the word, a seasonal mule combining rum, Madeira, cordial umeboshi (pickled plum) and ginger beer. All the elements are in place for a crunchy, energizing drink that you enjoy any time of the day.

The Rye Slamma Jamma complements the old-fashioned cocktail bar feeling. Despite the complex combination of rye whiskey, amaro, homemade sesame syrup, apple and bitter, every aspect of the drink stands out: the comforting spices, aroma and silky texture.

Let’s take a closer look at Rye Slamma Jamma at Kanpai Club. Photo by Ryan Baker

For those who prefer to sip on quality spirits, the back bar offers an extensive selection of rum and whiskey for enthusiasts of all skill levels. Also on the drinks menu are new different sakes ranging from $ 6 to $ 16 a glass, a small selection of wines by the glass ranging from $ 7 to $ 8 and nearly 20 japanese beers which costs $ 5 to $ 12.

The food

While Kanpai Club patrons can’t order Hando’s buns inside, dining options are still plentiful, diverse, and affordable, with the most expensive item costing just $ 8.

Wasabi shumai from the Relaxing Times menu at Kanpai Club. Photo by Ryan Baker

Diners who arrive at the Japanese bar early in the day can take advantage of the Relaxing Times menu featuring snacks such as spice wasabi shumai Where Potato Croquettes. The wasabi shumai filled with pork and veg might sound aggressive, but the heat level in each wasabi-based wrap is balanced to add a hint of heat to each bite-sized dumpling. Potato croquettes, on the other hand, sport a crispy exterior protecting a chewy center and are served with a caramelized onion curry on the side for dipping. A small plate menu is also available and offers dishes such as Brussels sprouts, Wagyu gyoza and shishito peppers.

One of the favorites of the consensus was the pancake, garnished with fresh salmon, yuzu kosho (a citrus condiment), pickled red onions and cilantro. It was like a Japanese touch on the lox. The late night menu also includes spicy edamame mixed with homemade chili oil infused with citrus fruits, Wagyu skewers and chicken karaage.

The late night menu is available from 10 p.m. Sunday through Thursday and 11 p.m. Friday and Saturday.

The Kanpai Club flatbread was an instant hit. Photo by Ryan Baker.

Along with the new bar, the Japanese restaurant launched its new Moments of relaxation at Hando, Happy Hour available from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. with bar bites at $ 5 and half price on all house cocktails.

Kanpai Club hours of operation are Sunday through Thursday 4 p.m. to midnight and Saturday 4 p.m. to 2 a.m. daiquiris. Please also note that the bar is cashless which means it only accepts credit or debit cards for payment, so be prepared accordingly.


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