Bar review: Safe Bubbles & Malt - for rare whiskies and champagne
Some of the Scotch brings a tear to the eye, and the champagne prices could do the same if you're not careful. But play it ... safe and you'll enjoy Safe
The vibe: when the owner of Safe gave 300 bottles of rare single-malt whisky from his collection to this establishment, he wanted to make sure it was secure (there's a 1946 bottle of Macallan in there, after all). So the bar's ostentatious giant steel safe exterior was born. Luckily for us, it's easy to crack the code to enter (you just press a button and the metal door slides open). Inside, classy muzak tinkles while fine whiskies wallpaper the surroundings; the champagnes, however, are kept under lock and key.
The drinks: there are 700 whiskies here, listed on an iPad menu. The bar is the Scottish Malt Whisky Society's only Hong Kong distributor, meaning there are some rare bottles on hand. We tried the SMWS Glenfarclas 1.181, which promised notes of "vintage cars, rose gardens and orange boxes" (HK$210), and was so strong it stung the eyes before drinking. The Yamazaki Single Malt 12 Years (HK$180) was smoother. There's only one champagne sold by the glass — Louis Roederer Brut (HK$250). Remember to check the prices before you start popping corks, or you might end up with a HK$29,800 bill for the Krug Clos d'Ambonnay. There is also a range of cocktails. The green tea sour (HK$148) is a satisfying tipple.
The verdict: this place is along a strip of Sheung Wan that's heavy on restaurants and light on bars. If you're into whisky and gimmicks, then Safe is a good option.
Safe Bubbles & Malt, 1 Manhattan Avenue, 255 Queen's Road Central, tel: 2505 9988