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Food & Drinks

Bar review: Los Sotano in Central – a cool taste of Mexico where you can enjoy a late drink

This surreal hideaway has more than 80 tequilas and mescals to choose from at all prices, but stick to the house margaritas – they are by far the best value

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 23 November, 2017, 6:01pm
UPDATED : Thursday, 23 November, 2017, 7:41pm

The vibe: You enter via a concealed doorway in the shape of a barrel on Wo On Lane. Press the red illuminated button on a skull attached to the barrel, and descend a dark staircase to a Mexican Day of the Dead-themed room, with a striking mural featuring a couple of cheerful looking skeletons.

A neon sign proclaims “Tequila Makes My Clothes Come Off” – the name of one of the margaritas – and underlines the tequila and mescal bar theme. It’s a party room.

Tequila drinking in Hong Kong moves upmarket from party animals to connoisseurs

The drinks: Agave spirits are the point of the place and more than 80 tequilas and mescals are listed, many of them specially imported. The range extends from modestly priced silver tequilas starting at HK$70 for a shot of Ocho Blanco going up to HK$3,000 for the same measure of Clase Azul Ultra Anejo.

Mezcals start at HK$90 and go up to HK$400, and flights are available for both categories. The cocktail list is the creation of head bartender Rob Kariakin, and that too has an agave emphasis. The Bad Hombre (HK$140) is made with beer, 123 Reposado tequila, and Cynar, served in a beer bottle, covered with a brown paper bag.

A pineapple wedge is stuck in the top where you might expect lime, and a little chilli adds an agreeable touch of spice which lingers on the lips. La Negra (HK$160) is a tequila-based variation on the Negroni with Casamigos Anejo replacing the gin, and repays leisurely sipping.

Montelobos Mescal stands in for vodka in the Mescal Mule (HK$140). The Peak (HK$150) goes off message by using Absolut Elyx vodka with watermelon, cucumber mint and lime. As you would expect there is a good selection of margaritas, and the basic Los Sotano Margarita (HK$120) made with Avion Silver Tequila is distinctly moreish.

Prices go up to HK$500 for a Carlos Slim margarita made with Jose Cuervo Reserva De La Familia Tequila, but four of the basic Los Sotanos ones would be a better investment.

The verdict: Mexico’s national drinks as you might expect them served in a fashionable bar in Los Angeles. A good surreal place for a drink at 3am.

Los Sotano, B/F, 21 D’Aguilar Street, Lan Kwai Fong, tel: 2970 3887. Open: 6pm-3am (Friday and Saturday until 5am)

While you’re in the area:

Bar review: Twenties HK in Central – cosy and eclectic, but light on the speakeasy concept

Bar review: Slide on 79 in Central – choice of a packed downstairs bar or a relaxing time upstairs

Bar review: McSorley’s Ale House in SoHo – Irish sports bar with focus on whiskey, poitín and beer