Bar review: Lamp in Tsim Sha Tsui – no drinkers’ paradise but good for dice games
Lack of decent cocktails due to bartender’s absence and being charged for peanuts didn’t add up to a good night out
The vibe: while Lamp describes itself as a “British bar”, the tiny hole in the wall on Hart Avenue in Tsim Sha Tsui, felt resolutely local the night we went in. The group of middle-aged gents playing cards and drinking shots of Macallan, not to mention the amount of cigarette smoke (admittedly the bar is open to the street in front), were more 1980s Hong Kong B movie than British pub. The dice shakers in racks under the tables were an added clue that drinking games are the focus here.
The drinks: the list of draught beers looked promising – until it turned out that several had been crossed off. The Bavaria (HK$48) from the Netherlands was fruity, balanced and enjoyable. However, the La Trappe Trappiste Witte (HK$68), a white ale from the same brewery, was disappointing – bland and thin-bodied.
The list of cocktails looked promising too – until we were told that cocktails couldn’t be served as the bartender was off sick. We asked if there were any cocktails the other staff could make and were eventually offered a Cucumber Fizz (HK$68, vodka, passion fruit syrup, cucumber and apple juice). When it appeared some 15 minutes later it tasted strongly of cucumber, apple and passion fruit but with no discernible alcohol (no fizz, either). The waiter did present us with some roasted peanuts in their shells – a fun traditional snack, although it was a surprise to be charged HK$30 for them.
The verdict: maybe this was just bad timing and when the bartender’s on duty things are different – the beers were served in stylish glasses and the cocktail nicely presented, suggesting some thought has gone into the drinks. Based on the night we went, if you enjoy playing drinking games or have ever yearned to be an extra in one of those Hong Kong gambling movies, Lamp is for you. Others should abstain.
Lamp, 12-14 Hart Avenue, Tsim Sha Tsui, tel: 2316 2829. Open: Monday to Wednesday 4pm-2am, Thursday to Saturday 6pm-3am. Happy hour: Monday to Saturday 4pm-9pm
If Lamp doesn’t light you up, here are three other bars to try in Yau Tsim Mong district