Hot on the heels of their review from Bauer this morning, we've learned that as of two weeks ago, Daniel Hyatt is no longer the bar manager of Roka Akor. "We probably weren't the best match," the longtime Alembic bar star said of the split. "They were trying something new for their company, compared to the other locations, by having a craft cocktail bar. Once we got open, the general assessment a month into it was that they needed to integrate it more with the restaurant, instead of having it be its own thing."
After years on Haight Street, Hyatt found that the Jackson Square crowd wasn't quite as adventurous as he'd hoped. "I kind of thought that with the separate lounge area, that we could do something a little different?it really was a different kind of place for me to be working. They wanted more lounge-y music, and drinks that were a little more fruit-driven and accessible. It's entirely possible that I overshot, but the crowd wasn't as adventurous. I had people asking me for Cosmopolitans, which hadn't happened to me on Haight in years." Ultimately, says Hyatt, a mutual decision was reached to part ways, especially since some of the staff he brought with him ended up not enjoying the change of venue. As a result, Hyatt's cocktail menu is now completely gone, replaced by a new menu quite similar to that of the Japanese chain's Chicago location. "They brought some bartenders in from other locations to get it going," says Hyatt. "But the split was amicable, a pleasant parting. I liked the people I was working with and I hope they do well."
For now, Hyatt says he's taking a break. "After 6-7 months of hardly having a minute to myself, it's nice to have a little downtime." He's in talks with a few different potential projects, but in the meantime, he's doing a little cocktail pop-up for friends Molly Bradshaw and Sommer Peterson of Mission Bowling Club, concocting drinks for their bimonthly Soul 'n' Bowl nights. Some of the drinks he's working on include a Zucca and iced tea cocktail with cream and honey, and a fresh grapefruit drink with black barrel rum and cherry Heering, as well as a handful of punches. The Soul 'n' Bowl events are held on the first and third Mondays of the month, when the club offers free shoe rentals and spins classic soul records; the next event will be Labor Day, September 2nd, from 7-11 pm.
· Inside Roka Akor and Roka Bar, with Daniel Hyatt's Cocktail Menu [~ ESF ~]
· Roka Akor Adds Daniel Hyatt as Bar Manager [~ ESF ~]
· Bar Manager Daniel Hyatt Leaving the Alembic [~ ESF ~]