Bar review: Slide on 79 in Central – choice of a packed downstairs bar or a relaxing time upstairs
Great location, two-for-one happy hour offers, well-made classic cocktails and professional service make it a fantastic place for pre- or after-dinner drinks
The vibe: in a prime location, Slide on 79 is divided into two sections on different levels. The lower one houses the bar itself plus a huge screen showing live sports, and is thronged with chatting drinkers packed in like a rush -hour MTR carriage. In contrast to the buzz of the lower level, the upper offers a haven of peace with comfortable sofa seating for those who prefer to chill out. It’s a smart use of space and the friendly staff make sure everyone is efficiently taken care of.
The drinks: happy hour offers outstanding value with a buy-one-get-one-free deal on just about everything except signature cocktails. There’s a fair choice of beers, including three on draught, and a well-chosen wine list with some surprisingly interesting offerings. Classic cocktails cost HK$98. We tried the Negroni, which was perfectly made, well balanced and strong with good quality spirits.
Signature cocktails were more hit-and-miss. Slide On Mary (HK$118, Tito’s bacon fat-washed vodka, tomato juice, lemon juice, house-made spice mix) was an outstanding take on the traditional Bloody Mary. Spicy and strong, the succulent flavour of bacon fat added an original touch as did the stylish cucumber garnish, a refreshing change from celery. However, Strong Wave (HK$108, whisky, pineapple, passion fruit, apricot brandy, sweet & sour) was the opposite; it was sweet and fruity with lots of ice and no discernible alcohol. Buddha’s Creation (HK$118, single malt, apple, basil, lemon, cinnamon syrup) was very prettily served and the basil came through nicely but again there was a lot of sweetness and little hint of whisky.
Seeing we weren’t happy, the server replaced the drinks for free and as a less sweet option recommended Papasito (HK$118, chilli-infused tequila, mango, lychee, lemon juice, lemongrass syrup). While the chilli was certainly present, it didn’t marry well with the tropical fruit juices; as my companion said, it tasted a bit like Fanta with chilli in it. To be fair, there’s certainly a market here for drinks like this and the excellent Negroni and Slide On Mary show that the bartenders know what they’re doing when it comes to the classics.
The verdict: great location, great value and professional service make this a handy spot to hang out for a few casual drinks before or after dinner.
Slide on 79, UB/F, Harilela House, 79 Wyndham St (entrance on Pottinger St), Central, tel: 2779 9279
Open: 5pm until late. Happy hour 5pm to 9pm
While you’re in the area