Berkeley: Kinda Izakaya opens with Japanese bar bites, shochu cocktails

The late-night spot has grilled skewers, ramen and, uhm, a “Japanese Hogwarts” cocktail.

Have you ever tried a Japanese Hogwarts cocktail? You can now do so at Kinda Izakaya, a new Berkeley restaurant specializing in Japanese bar food and unusual shochu drinks.

Kinda is still in its early stages and is experimenting with late-night hours that should appeal to the UC Berkeley crowd (open until 11 p.m. Tuesday through Thursday and midnight Friday through Saturday, according to Instagram). The University Avenue location is warm and inviting, with wood accents, classic Japanese posters, and a large bar. “Drink Sake / Stay Kinda” commands a sign, and yes, a variety of sake bottles line the rafters, including Born Gold muroka (unrefined sake), Michinoku Onikoroshi “Demon Slayer” (dry sake), and many more.

According to an Instagram post, the restaurant is still trying out new things, such as a Tomato Refreshing Welcome Shot, which looks like a juicy, peeled tomato with herbs in a shot glass. Is it a drink, a snack, or something else? Who can say?

The Japanese Hogwarts tipple, which combines Onigoroshi sake and sour yuzu, is among the “Signature Cocktails” made with shochu or sake. An Old Town Berkeley with bitters and shiso syrup, a Tokyo Highball with matcha and yuzu liqueur, and a Hotto Sho with hot sake, ginger, and honey are also available. Beer, wine by the glass or bottle, non-alcoholic sodas, and iced green tea are also available at the restaurant.

Kinda Izakaya, 1941A University Ave., Berkeley, opens at 5:30 p.m. Tuesday-Saturday;

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