Bar review: Halcyon in Central – cute sounding sweet cocktails in a huge space that’s good for a party
The newly opened venue on Wyndham Street has three identities – daytime café, evening bar and late-night music lounge – but drinks are too sugary
The vibe: Halcyon has taken over the location on Wyndham Street previously occupied by the late (and, at least by some, lamented) Solas. The concept is a mixture of café in the afternoon, bar in the evening and music lounge into the small hours. The result is a lack of clear identity – while there’s plenty of room if you want to dance, as a bar the space feels cavernous and unwelcoming. There are lots of comfortable low seats, but they feel out of place and oddly random, as if they’ve been plonked down in the middle of a warehouse.
The drinks: signature cocktails have cute names and are firmly on the sweet side, suggesting they’re aimed more at the late night party crowd than the serious drinker.
Best of the bunch was Man Mountain (HK$118, Plantation 3 Stars rum, apricot liqueur, Amontillado sherry, lemon juice, chocolate bitters) which was strong and had a good combination of flavours, if a bit too heavy on the apricot. Candy Mountain (HK$128, Fair Quinoa vodka, house-made strawberry, red wine and chilli shrub, lemon juice, egg white) was light and bland, with the strawberry dominant and the chilli undetectable.
Two drinks which didn’t sound as sweet both turned out to be not just sweet, but cloying. CynCity
(HK$128, Cynar artichoke liqueur, cognac, apple cordial, lime juice, cinnamon tincture) was overpowered by the apple, with the bitterness of the artichoke missing. Bamboozle (HK$118, Martin Miller’s Gin, Golden Falernum, lime, sugar syrup, bamboo charcoal powder) was slightly better, with the spiciness of the Falernum coming through, although the murky green colour from the charcoal powder was none too appealing.
The verdict: Solas by any other name … Halcyon’s prime location and room to boogie will make it a hit with punters looking to party but those in search of an atmospheric bar with quality drinks should go elsewhere.
Halcyon, The Centrium, 60 Wyndham Street, Central, tel: 3162 3710
Open: 4pm-2am (Friday and Saturday until 4am). Happy hour: 4pm-8pm
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