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Hong Kong bar reviews

Bar review: Foxglove, Central – for a sense of lost luxury, live music and good service

The drinks are a bit of a mixed bag but a good vibe and a tempting food menu make this a place worth checking out

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 14 January, 2016, 5:00pm
UPDATED : Wednesday, 06 April, 2016, 2:18pm

The vibe: Foxglove is part of the current retro trend, harking back to the golden age of cocktails and, in this case, jazz – there’s live music from 10pm onwards several nights a week. They seem a bit muddled in their eras – there’s a 1920s speakeasy “secret entrance” via what looks like an umbrella shop but the décor inside is 1950s luxury liner, right down to the cabin portholes in the ladies’ toilets. Still, it works well – the central lounge is spacious yet still feels snugly intimate, with well-spaced tables, a low ceiling and plush upholstery.

The drinks: the list is divided into cutely named categories such as “Remembering Prohibition” and, along with the inevitable signature cocktails, includes a selection of extra-aged whisky and cognac as well as some intriguingly rare offerings from distilleries which have now closed down.

We kicked off with a couple of the signature items. The Bitter Truth (Angostura Bitters, Kraken Black Spiced Rum, orange cordial, apple juice, lime, HK$140) was silky and rich, with the sweetness of the rum offset by the bitters and lime. La Femme (red-pepper-infused Four Pillars gin, yuzu, kaffir lime, prosecco, HK$140) was elegant and refreshing, with the citrus elements dominant and just a tiny kick from the pepper.

Moving on to the classics, the Negroni (HK$130) was fine but the Gin Martini (HK$130), was not what the doctor ordered – made with Tanqueray it was heavy on the vermouth and surprisingly rough. The manager spotted my companion wincing and came to the rescue with a replacement made with Citadelle gin which was properly smooth. However, a second round of Citadelle was not as delicious, and one of out three is not a good average for the bartending.

The verdict: well worth a visit for a sense of bygone luxury, live music and attentive service, even if the drinks are a bit hit or miss. There’s an appealing food menu and, unusually for a bar, Foxglove also opens for lunch.

Foxglove, 2/F Printing House, 6 Duddell Street, Central (another entrance at 18 Ice House Street, Central). Tel: 2116 8949. Open: noon-3pm, 5pm-1am (Friday and Saturday until 3am)