If you're driving down 11th Street in the Heights past hand roll restaurant Hando, you may have to squint to see the activity in a dim, narrow room right next door. That's Hando's new bar, Kanpai Club, and it's open now at 518 W 11th St.
Walk into Hando, and go through the door immediately to the left to enter Kanpai Club. You'll find a 400-square-foot bar that looks a little like an urban alleyway, which was the intention of owners Jason Andaya and Ray Chan. Kanpai Club seats 10 and aims to be both a pre-Hando drinking and overflow spot and an anytime neighborhood haunt that will be open until 2 a.m. on the weekends.
It's also a place where Andaya and Chan, of hospitality group Family Meal Group, hope to test out some food items before they make their way over to Hando, an easy feat as the two concepts share a kitchen. For now the Kanpai Club menu features some Hando small plates, such as brussels sprouts, with Japanese mayo and katsu sauce, and wagyu gyoza, with mushrooms, shallots, and scallions. But there are also a few items exclusive to Kanpai Club, such as waffle fries topped with Japanese brown curry, crunchy chicken karaage, and flatbread topped with salmon, yuzu kosho, and micro-cilantro.
Look for some just-for-Kanpai-Club cocktails as well, including the punchy rye-based and winter-spiced Rye Slamma Jamma. There are also plenty of Japanese whiskeys and even Japanese rums on offer. Plus, the bar has a deep selection of Japanese beer (matcha IPA, anyone?), along with sake and wine.
Kanpai Club is open from 4 p.m. to midnight Sunday–Thursday and from 4 p.m. to 2 a.m. Friday–Saturday. Happy hour is offered from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. daily and includes special bites, such as wasabi shumai and curry croquette.