Alfie's by Kee

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 24 June, 2010, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 24 June, 2010, 12:00am

Shop G5, Prince's Building,
10 Chater Road, Central
Tel: 2530 4422

The vibe: every city should have its cosy little hideaways. And not since the dear departed Chater Lounge at the old Ritz-Carlton has a bar felt so private while being so, well, public.

Situated on the first floor of the swanky, redesigned Alfred Dunhill store in Prince's Building, at first you might not think you're escaping from the city - with the neon flashing outside, and the trams and buses jockeying for position on Des Voeux Road - but the noise and clatter drift away once you are upstairs.

Kee Club architect Gavin Tu and Kee founder and chairman Christian Rhomberg have more than matched the Dunhill boys' club aesthetic with the loungy mood inside Alfie's - it's all dark wood, dimmed lights and leather lounges to sink into.

The drinks: there's little doubt the bar's 'Pimm's by Kee' (HK$75) will become its signature drink, a blend of Pimm's No 1 and lemonade with lemon, cucumber, strawberry and fresh berries that add a sweetness to the liquor rather than overpower it. A few long sips and the stifling summer heat outside soon becomes a memory.

Whisky lovers are well served with a selection drawn from the Highlands, Speyside, Orkney Island, Islay and the Lowlands - and if you really feel inclined to lounge deeply into that leather, a bottle of Hennessy Paradis Horus will set you back HK$18,888.

But that's as steep as Alfie's gets. Surprisingly, given its inner-city surrounds, none of the cocktails cost more than HK$75, the bottled beers (all usual suspects accounted for) HK$58. There's a dining room that seats around 20, room at the bar for the same - and the intimate lounge area brings you smart service from both.

The verdict: Alfie's by Kee has been open since the end of April and still remains somewhat of a hidden treasure. That looks certain to change, and its lemongrass martini will play its part, once word starts to spread about its charms. Home-infused lemongrass vodka topped off with a dash of Limoncello and again at HK$75 a glass. Life rarely tastes so sweet.