G/F 123 Leighton Road, Causeway Bay. Tel: 2576 4785
The vibe: if it's Japanese food or high-end fashion you're after, Causeway Bay is where it's at. But where are shoppers meant to slake their thirst after a hard day of pounding the pavement? The Bay has never been short of bars, but one that has stood the test of time is the cosy Brecht's, which recently celebrated its 16th year down the funkier end of Leighton Road. The simple decor doesn't do much to evoke the avant-garde German playwright it's named after: about 20 people can squeeze onto the black sofas lining the narrow venue, and they'll be bathed in the type of black light so popular in Hong Kong bars during the '90s. It's a throwback, but a very comfortable one.
The drinks: well-priced premium beers and spirits. Bottles of the perennially popular Belgian brews Leffe Blonde and Brune, and the Barcelona pilsener Estrella Damm, will set you back a reasonable HK$45 (or HK$30 during happy hour). We were impressed with the addition of 17-year-old Suntory whisky (HK$100 per shot) and the 18-year-old Macallan (HK$110). And also with the HK$60 cocktail list, which includes surprises such as the Tagarimar (tequila, Cointreau, Galliano and fresh lemon juice). Don't come for the wines - just a generic white and a red are on offer.
The verdict: the Victoria Park end of Leighton Road is undergoing a mini-revival, with the Slice pizza joint joining the popular Burger Room around the corner. Brecht's was there first and has survived on a successful formula of quality drinks, friendly service, decent pub fare and large helpings of indie music. It's the perfect place for a pick me up when you're tackling Causeway Bay.