Bar review: Mahalo Tiki Lounge in Wan Chai - go Hawaiian
Vintage Hawaiian fantasy decor and "treasure map" cocktail list will transport you to the South Seas; there's a cool outdoor lounge too. Expect plentiful rum-and-pineapple-juice cocktails
The vibe: Polynesian, of course. Open since the end of June (but still in its soft-opening phase), Mahalo (it means "thank you") is sister bar to Central's Honi Honi and has a similar vintage Hawaiian fantasy decor; nicely done with lots of attention to detail, you feel as if you're in a resort. The top floor venue's key asset is a large outdoor space with lush plants, a city view on one side and green mountainside on the other. Floor- to-ceiling glass doors to the indoor area are left open, which accentuates the tropical garden feel (although it also cancels out the air conditioning — the waiter rightly advised us it was cooler to sit outside).
The drinks: one side of the cutely presented "treasure map" cocktail list is the classic drinks section. The Mahalo's own 40-odd creations on the other side are heavy on the usual Hawaiian suspects (a variety of rums, plenty of pineapple juice) and attractively served in Polynesian-style ceramic cups with elaborate garnishes.
The signature drinks we tried were a bit hit or miss. The Kaizoku (rum, wasabi, yuzu, pineapple, lime and coriander) brought together its diverse flavours with surprising success and a neat little kick of wasabi. However, you couldn't distinguish the different ingredients in the Mama Doble, while the Mahalo Mule just tasted of rum, the promised cranberry and ginger beer appeared to have gone AWOL. All the drinks we had were HK$120 each.
The verdict: the space has great potential, especially if you enjoy drinking outdoors. A fun way to be transported from the South China Sea to the South Seas while chilling in the heart of Wan Chai.
Mahalo Tiki Lounge, 29/F QRE Plaza, 202 Queen's Road East, Wan Chai, tel: 2488 8750. Open: permanent opening hours TBC, currently Monday to Saturday 5pm-3am