Named after the Hawaiian term for ‘Lady of the Sea’, Kona Kai has a capacity of 350 and aims to give customers the feeling of being on a summer holiday, with exotic cocktails, regular live performances and DJs, an oasis-style interior and staff attired in Hawaiian shirts and dresses.
“Because of the success of The Sugar Cane, the owners stuck with this idea of a tiki bar in south west London,” explained Ben Meerman – Kona Kai’s PR marketing manager. “After a few months of research and being influenced by the nearby Mahiki bar – seeing how professional it was, with the quality of standards and staff and service – they were inspired to launch Kona Kai.”
Overseen by bar manager Vinny Musea, Kona Kai offers a range of rum-based, South Pacific themed cocktails including The Missionary’s Downfall, Pele, Mai-Tai and Pinã Colada as well as the bar’s own twists such as the Muu Muu – a combination of white rum, lychees and rose syrup.
There is also a simple food menu offering starters such as Hawaiian grilled pineapple, honey and smoked bacon skewers. Larger dishes include New Zealand green shell mussels in lime red curry and coconut milk; and The Kona Kai sharing platters.
Kona Kai had originally opened last August but after a slow start to business and difficulties attracting the right customer base, the venue re-launched last month as a destination bar, evolving into a nightclub on Friday and Saturday nights - and Meerman revealed that business is now beginning to pick up.
“People are responding to it, but we just need to get more people in the door,” he said. “As word of mouth starts to spread we are getting busier, it’s just getting everybody to know we’re here.
“The tiki theme makes it a destination bar, which makes it a bit difficult on Fridays when people just want to go for a drink after work at the local pub. On Saturday nights we book up at least a week in advance. But for Friday’s, it’s about trying to get people to make an effort to come here, rather than just treating it as a local pub, so that’s the battle we have at the moment.”
For more information on Kona Kai visit http://www.konakai.co.uk.