Name of Bartender: Brandon Kim
Name of Bar: Zanzabar Nightclub
Location: Honolulu, Hawaii
Ownership/Parent Company: Mysticworks
Square Footage: 11,000
Inspiration. Performance. Leadership.
It has been said that a generous heart, kind speech, and a life of service and patience are the things which renew humanity. It has also been said that too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around. If we treat people as if they were ought to be, we will help them to become what they are capable of being.
This is compassion.
This is hospitality – the measure of character.
What is a bartender? An Ambassador of Hospitality.
Nightclub & Bar’s 2012 Bartender of the Year nominee Brandon Kim is the Founder and Executive Director of, Drink Responsible Hawaii, a non-profit organization which calls for a statewide effort to fulfill the aim to educate and promote safety of alcohol within the state of Hawaii.
Drink Responsible Hawaii’s approach is through a three-pronged goal of:
1. Stopping drunk driving and underage drinking
2. Educating the community on the dangers of alcohol and how to recognize and
prevent them before it is too late
3. Giving support to victims as well as their families and friends
Drink Responsible Hawaii provides several of programs to the community to achieve its goal of successful alcohol awareness in Hawaii.
The non-profit organization provides the Hawaii community with a free-of-charge volunteer designated driving service on busy drinking days of the year to help eliminate drunk driving and the consequences that come with it.
The organization has also provided seminars where Kim taught inspiring bartenders as well as bartending and hospitality professionals from all over the world not only secrets of the bartending craft, but most importantly, understanding and recognizing the dangers of alcohol and how to prevent them from escalating.
Along with organizing the volunteer designated driving service and alcohol safety bartending classes, Drink Responsible Hawaii holds support sessions for victims as well as their families and friends entitled, Message in a Bottle - Where Every Bottle has a Message.
Regarded as the fastest bartender in Hawaii, Kim’s name has been published in Honolulu Weekly’s “Best of Honolulu” in the Best Mixologist and Best Bartender award categories as well as other publications such as, The Honolulu Advertiser, The Honolulu Star Bulletin, and The Honolulu Star Advertiser. He has also been shown on local news programs KHON2 and KITV4.
In addition to the non-profit organization being under his command, Kim also serves as the operations manager and mixologist for Zanzabar Nightclub located in Waikiki, Hawaii, where his creativity and understanding of the art and science of spirits and mixology are displayed with his well-anticipated annual signature cocktails such as the simple and beautiful, Summer Love, to the more exotic calendula-infused variation of the Blue Hawaii, L’acqua di Vita (The Water of Life).
Zanzabar Nightclub has remained a leading establishment in Hawaii’s nightlife scene for the past twelve years, asserting itself as the largest and busiest club in the state and has garnered numerous awards, recognition, and publicity from both local and national publications including USA Today and The Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous.
Brandon Kim is a most deserving recipient of Nightclub & Bar’s 2012 Bartender of the Year Award by continuously being an inspiration, top-performer, and leader to not only the hospitality industry, but to humanity.
“Besides knowing how to control your alcohol and being efficient behind the bar, the greatest quality of a bartender, I believe, is being able to connect with each guest in a positive, individualized manner. It is from those positive individualized connections, which keep your guests coming back to your establishment, that also help spread the word about your place. Word of mouth is the best and most ideal way to market, but most importantly, making those connections with each guest goes beyond the industry in which we are in – hospitality... it’s a way of life. So, whatever it is that you decide to do, do it right, for it’s not what you do, but how you do it that matters.”
– Brandon Kim, Ambassador of Hospitality