Bar review: Happy Valley Bar & Grill
38 Wong Nai Chung Road, Happy Valley
Tel: 2250 5722
The vibe: if any jockey or trainer is pining for a post-gallop ploughman's lunch and a pint of English ale, they can pop up the road from the Happy Valley racecourse to this small, wooden-floored L-shaped bar, popular with Hongkongers and expats. Part of the El Grande group, its location means it is less packed than some of the chain's other outlets, but if it gets busy there is a large paved area outside. Two television screens show sports, and a photographic mural depicts Happy Valley in Edwardian times, when no man went to the races without a boater or a homburg.
The drinks: about 100 beers, from Hong Kong, Britain, Belgium, Germany, the US and elsewhere, ranging from a jeroboam (three litres) of Chimay Blue for HK$733 to the excellent Brooklyn Lager for HK$42. Other recommended beers include Fuller's London Pride bitter (HK$55) and Sierra Nevada Pale Ale from California (HK$42).
A small selection of wines - eight white, eight red, one rosé - sell for between HK$52 and HK$78 a glass (HK$10 off for happy hour), or HK$230 to HK$350 a bottle, though there are another nine reds, plus sparkling wines and champagnes, for a few dollars more. The selection of spirits is good, and the barman will happily whip up a cocktail, the bar's three "signature" drinks being the Cosmopolitan (HK$68), the Dirty Martini (HK$60) and the Margarita (HK$65).
The verdict: as well as the ploughman's lunch, the kitchen provides a wide range of pub food such as Scotch eggs, Caesar salads, spaghetti and meatballs, burgers, pizzas and fish and chips.