Tai Lung Fung
G/F, 5 Hing Wan Street, Wan Chai
Tel: 2572 0055
The vibe: a small bar in a relatively undeveloped part of Wan Chai that is obviously looking to attract drinkers keen for a dose of Hong Kong nostalgia. Certain touches are clever and effective - drinks menus made to look like old newspapers, for example - but overall the look is over the top. The vibe goes a long way towards distracting from the decor, though. On the night we went, the bar was full of playfully raucous and contented drinkers, making for a low-key, casual and fun evening.
The drinks: the bar offers great discounts during a happy hour that runs from opening at noon until 9pm, with cocktails at HK$45, as opposed to the standard HK$60. I started with a Negroni. It was a disappointment, served with a lemon instead of an orange wedge, with too much vermouth and cut with flat soda. A Planter's Punch was better, tart and refreshing, although a bit watered down.The Hurricane hails from New Orleans and is supposed to be fruity and sweet. This was quite good and fresh but not sweet enough. My guests loved their whisky sours, but a Flirtini was a letdown - weak, overly sweet and strangely medicinal.
The verdict: despite its cheesy theme and hit-and-miss cocktails, Tai Lung Fung manages the feeling of a laid-back local drinking spot. It is impossible not to have an enjoyable night here, and the extremely reasonable price tag makes it easy to forgive any shortcomings. Hong Kong could use more places like this.