G/F The Centrium, 60 Wyndham Street, Central
Tel: 3167 7380
The vibe: this is an attempt to bring a touch of Mexico to Central. Behind a shiny, retro street front taqueria and through an almost hidden side door lies a completely different space. The dark, high-ceilinged room is a bar and a restaurant that becomes a club after dinner service. After a few cocktails, the intricate chandeliers reminded some of our group of the spaceship in
Close Encounters of the Third Kind. Knick-knacks from Mexico complete the decorations. On the night of our visit, one nearby table was discussing a business deal while at another table a group of friends were relaxing noisily over white wine.
The drinks: your doctor may not agree, but if you are advised to take on lots of fluids, this might be the place to do it. Hopefully, money is no object. Cocktails are well-made, subtle stealth bombs. The drinks taste delicious and they certainly do not taste strong - but they are. The venue is the brainchild of the team behind Lily & Bloom, and the cocktails are on a par with the quality of that bar. The Sociarita (HK$85) is a great twist on the often poorly made margarita, blending jalapeno-infused tequila, lavender honey, lime and peach bitters. Although the chilli doesn't make much of a mark on this drink, that's not the case with El Revolucion (HK$95). It combines chipotle-infused bourbon, cinnamon, mole bitters, lemon foam and a malbec float for a heaty punch. Some cocktails can be like fruit salad in a glass, this is more like sambal in a glass. An Occasional Smoke (HK$120) mixes aged tequila and mescal vermouth, agave nectar and lemon, and was also a hit with the group. Aged and limited-edition tequilas are also available, with prices ranging from HK$260 to HK$350.
The verdict: we can see this place becoming a Hong Kong institution. The quality of the drinks alone will keep you coming back.