by Roland Gilmore
photo by Kyle Rothenborg
Asked how he came to be co-owner of one of Honolulu’s hippest watering holes, Andrew Bugreyev lets out a laugh: "No one ever plans on being in the bar business." Andrew first came to the Islands while working on a master’s degree at UCLA, studying multicultural models in the wake of the 1992 Los Angeles riots. After stints at a number of jobs, he headed downtown to Chaplain Lane and opened Mercury in January 2004. It has quickly become a favorite among those seeking sanctuary from the standard Honolulu scene.
Mercury founder and
publican Andrew Bugreyev
in his liquid lounge.
"To go out in Hawai‘i, you have to go to a club," Andrew says with an amiable smile. "I personally want to go to a bar: I want to have a conversation; I want to be in an environment that you don’t have to pay for." While it’s common in other large cities, the environment that Andrew is bent on fostering is something of an anomaly in the Islands: The music is cutting-edge club, but played at background levels; the walls are a deep red and covered with edgy work by rising local artists. There are sofas and there’s an intimate, upstairs space.
"I wanted to be creatively fluid," he says to explain both his design aesthetic and the bar’s name. "I wanted to partner with artists and creative minds to build a Bohemian space that gathers not only my likes and visions, but other people’s as well." In that, he has succeeded beautifully.