“Oh, my God, this is the cutest thing ever!” Those words come from the table next to me in the Bow Room, the hidden back bar at the Hello Kitty Grand Cafe in Irvine. As a lumbering dadbod flying solo, I’m sort of surprised there’s not a no-solo-dudes policy at this chick-thick bar for the same reason solo dudes can’t go into the theater to watch The Joker: the creep factor.
But here I am, sitting in my usual spot at the far right of the bar, ready for the cafe’s first cocktail class. It’s a sold-out event that cost about $60 for three Hello Kitty signature cocktails made by you, a welcome spritz, a complete history of the booze you’re using, a small charcuterie plate, a swag bag, a spritz guidebook, mixing glassware, plus all the things you need to make kawaii drinks at home. I feel as if I’m walking out with $150 worth of stuff.
If you’ve never been, the Bow Room’s cocktails are just as cute as the décor. The fluffy kitty pillows match the frothy Hello Kitty-logoed drinks, and there’s a big pink bow behind the bar that casts an afterglow onto everyone’s cheeks. The place is undoubtedly selfie heaven for those inclined to hold up peace fingers with a pink drink. The drinks themselves are somewhat like the movie Mean Girls, in that they look cute on the outside but are filled with some mean spirits.
For the opening event, the Bow Room paired with St. Germain Elderflower Liqueur, a liquid you’ve maybe used to add floral notes to a concoction. We start with a St. Germain Spritz, complete with a custom glass featuring convenient lines to mix up to. Each table has all of the equipment required to make great cocktails happen: strainers, shakers, jiggers, fresh juices, boozes and ice.
Now, I’m no pro, but I have a bar cart at home, and I can mix up a proper martini, negroni and whiskey sour. But there were a few subtleties I did learn for using a Boston shaker; after a solid shake, the two halves tend to freeze together, but a solid smack from a 90-degree angle is all it takes to get them to come apart quite easily.
Next month’s event will feature a new booze; make a reservation at the website (sanrio.com/pages/hellokittycafe-bowroom-res-ca) to find out for yourself!
The Bow Room at Hello Kitty Grand Cafe, 860 Irvine Center Dr, Irvine, (949) 536-5357; www.sanrio.com/pages/hellokittycafe-grand.
Greg Nagel has been writing about beer since 2011, is an avid homebrewer of wine, cider, and beer, is a certified Cicerone Beer Server, level 1 WSET in Wine, a podcaster with the Four Brewers Show, and runs a yearly beer festival called Firkfest happening on June 29th in Anaheim!