Sheltered inside the old garage on Merchant Road, a small cafe – with only 15 people at maximum capacity – offers Yangonites five signature cocktails. There’s only one bartender behind the bar and he might ask you to pay as much as you want but perhaps he’d explain to you the cost of a glass which is 3,500 Ks.
The concept is simple. You tell the bartender what you want. He will take your order. You then put your cash in the box at the edge of the table. A few minutes later you get your drink.
At HAPA, which means mix-blood in Hawaiian, there is only one big table: maximum five/six people. And two more tables with two chairs each, plus a bar space with long chairs outside. It is on the cozier side.
Inside, you might see creatures (monkeys, peacocks, cats and spirits with swords) on the wall, painted in colors by a famous local artist, along with Burmse words and alphabets as charms to protect evil forces from the unknown world (Well, we never know that, right?).
Let’s get back to our drinks. We selected Rum with Passion fruit and Tamarind Whisky Sour. A few moments after we ordered—we took time to shoot some pictures of the bar—our drinks arrived. We put some cash into the box at the edge of the bar. My partner and I had decided to put 10,000 Ks for two. We felt generous.
While we were sipping our drinks, the bartender came over and asked as if we wanted some chips and we replied instantly, “Yes, please!”
Here comes our compliments. Both drinks were amazing and we’d observed the ingredients were carefully mixed; the sweet and sour tastes found our taste buds perfectly!
We went for another round, ordered the same!
Overall, we didn’t have a chance to try the bar snacks. More people came in while we were enjoying our second round and we had to make a move. Even so, HAPA really impressed me with its concept of pay-as-you-want. They ask 3,500 Ks for an at-cost price and yes, their signature cocktails are worth more than that.
HAPA has opened another outlet in collaboration with Draper Startup House Yangon on No.58, Hledan Street, Latha.
Address: 494 Merchant Road, Between 39th & 40th Streets, Yangon
Tel: 09 952 041094
Hours: 8 am – 10 pm (Closed on Mondays)