Buddy Bar & Cafe
22 School Street, Tai Hang
Tel: 2882 9780
The vibe: a neighbourhood bar for neighbourhood people, this small and welcoming Hong Kong equivalent of the British corner pub was started three years ago in a converted bike shop. Owner Franco Leung, who previously worked at The Globe in Central, says the original customer base was young Hongkongers living in and around School Street. But as Tai Hang sees an influx of people fleeing the increasingly high prices of Causeway Bay, he is getting more and more Westerners coming in, glad to find a convenient place to hang out as late as 3am. Two screens show DVDs rather than sport: if you're a Mr Bean fan, you'll love it.
The drinks: Leung's Globe background ensures a good range of beers, including Chimay and Kwak from Belgium, London Pride and Black Sheep from England, and Rogue and North Coast from the United States, mostly around HK$55 a bottle. Barman Ken's signature cocktail is the Masumi, made with plum wine, sake, peach liqueur, apple juice and wasabi. Like almost all the cocktails on the menu, it's just HK$70, and he will happily mix a fruit mocktail for only HK$48. Wines range from Vina Maipo Sauvignon Blanc from Chile at HK$60 a glass or HK$290 a bottle, to La Bastide Dauzac, the second wine of Chateau Dauzac, a fifth growth Margaux from Bordeaux in France, at HK$620 a bottle.
The verdict: some of Buddy's neighbours have not been too neighbourly, complaining about late-night noise when the windows have been open during the summer. But after closing them, Leung had to temporarily cease supplying bar food as the smells were annoying other customers. But he is confident the problem can be solved, and, once it is, this will be a perfect late-night place.