Bar review: b.a.r. Executive Bar
b.a.r. Executive Bar
27/F Bartlock Centre, 3 Yiu Wa Street, Causeway Bay
Tel: 2893 2080
The vibe: a bar with "executive" in its name conjures images of cigar-smoking professionals lounging around in leather chairs, the conversation broken only by the occasional clink of ice against glass and the shake of a cocktail mixer. That pretty much sums up the scene at b.a.r executive - a small and sophisticated venue in Causeway Bay. While it has impressive views, they are not the drawing card. This place is all about the drinks, and the serious lover of whisky and cocktails will be in heaven.
The drinks: my Scottish friend - a whisky connoisseur - was the perfect companion for this classy establishment. The bar has more than 300 imported varieties, including a good selection from Japan. On recommendation, he opted for the single-malt Hokkaido and was happily satisfied.
But what makes the drinks here even more special are the ice cubes: huge, hand-carved balls of ice, made big to keep the taste from the bottle and the drinks cold without diluting them. They pack a punch, and it's worth sitting at the bar so you can see the maestro barman, Ichiro Hiidome, at work, going into an almost trance-like state as he makes his cocktails. It's an impressive sight.
Tempted by the Japanese twist on the martini, I opted for the Saketini (HK$78). It hit the spot, as did the peach daiquiri (HK$288), made with fresh peach, Bacardi, peach schnapps and honey. Ichiro specialises in drinks made with fresh fruit from Japan, and he'll ask what type of base you like before mixing up a personalised cocktail. If you feel peckish, the Iberico ham is a perfect snack.
The verdict: the drinks are pricey, but when they're made with such love and care - and when they're so potent - you can't help but think, "Oh, hang the expense!"