G/F, 9 Star Street, Wan Chai
Tel: 2529 0199
The vibe: tucked away at the somewhat quiet end of Star Street, Cinecitta has long been a bar for those in the know, and for those looking for a refined drink away from the crowds. In a slight departure from other watering holes in the area, which often aim to blend wine and light meals with a casual daytime cafe culture, Cinecitta is a smarter, sit-down affair. Its sleek design, exposed metal and clean lines mean customers are more likely to be wine drinkers wearing that timeless staple of after-office drinking attire, the unbuttoned shirt, and less likely to be in T-shirts working on laptops, as is the case in other venues on Star Street. The place's impressively large windows allow natural light into the place late into the afternoon, adding further airiness to an already cool design.
The drinks: there are just a handful of cocktails, and red and white wines on the menu, but ask the bar staff for any drink and they will confidently serve it up, and quickly too. Given that the restaurant offers 'modern Roman' cuisine, the Negroni (HK$78) is a must. It's an easy drink to get wrong but Cinecitta has engineered a blend that tastes sweet at first and allows the bitterness to hit only later, making an often divisive drink easy to enjoy. A Cable Station Road pinot noir (HK$90) arrives in such a large glass that at first sight the measure looks a little stingy. But appearances are soon forgotten on tasting, as the infinitely light red wine becomes the perfect drink for late-summer evenings.
The verdict: Cinecitta's sophistication is a beautiful complement to the hip feel of Star Street. Its spacious seating and the reassuring knowledge of the bar staff make for the relaxed atmosphere that many bars lay claim to but few, in Central in particular, deliver.