Bar review: Neo Cocktail Club’s elegantly crafted concoctions
The drinks live up to their hype, the staff look after you and judging by how packed it was by 9pm on a Tuesday, this is the happening place to be in NoHo
The vibe: located in a basement on the picturesque Shin Hing stone steps opposite sister establishment Cocotte, Neo is quintessential NoHo. The 1960s- and ’70s-flavoured decor includes a quirky selection of retro lighting fixtures and chairs, not to mention a vintage foosball table and a Playboy bunny pinball machine. The name pays tribute to Hong Kong’s neon heritage as reflected in the sign above the entrance and a snazzy installation next to the toilets (situated in a snug outdoor space at the back of the venue).
The drinks: cocktails are made with quality artisanal liquors and are big on infused alcohols. Rum from a jar above the bar with a whole pineapple in it features in the Neo Hive (HK$120) along with lime, pomegranate and curaçao, and the spectacular illuminated presentation takes up the neon theme. The Express Polaroid (HK$110) is a sinfully rich mix of ghee-buttered dark rum, coffee liqueur and espresso – and the waitress snaps a Polaroid for you to keep as a souvenir. Intensely flavoured yet refreshing, the Rumbut and Cardamom Mule (HK$120) offers cardamom-infused vodka, spiced apple honey and ginger beer. The Corngnac Retrold (HK$130) – corn-infused cognac with notes of spiced pear and a touch of bitters – is delicious if seriously potent (operating heavy machine after drinking it is not advised).
Audrey, the French bartender, is passionate about her work and a revamped list of what she promises will be even more creative signature cocktails is in the pipeline. Superior bar bites include beef skewers and a croque monsieur.
The verdict: Neo has style – it manages to be both uber-cool and fun, whether you want to go crazy on the pinball machine or simply chill out on a comfy sofa. The drinks live up to their hype, the staff look after you and judging by how packed it was by 9pm on a Tuesday, this is the happening place to be in NoHo. Just be careful on those Shin Hing steps afterwards.
Neo Cocktail Club, 10 Shin Hing Street, Central, tel: 2812 2280. Open: Monday to Saturday 6pm-midnight