Bar review: Lof 10 Distillery in SoHo is a whisky lover's paradise, if hard to find
An outstanding selection of Scotch and Japanese whiskies in bar that mixes modern and classic decor
The vibe: Lof 10 Distillery (not to be confused with its coffee shop sister in Sheung Wan) offers a puzzling mix of styles. There’s an outdoor terrace, a bar with minimalist, neon-lit decor and a quiet, homely room at the back with an eclectic assortment of scruffy but comfortable sofas and chairs. Not easy to find, the entrance is down a steep, narrow flight of steps from Bridges Street (don’t go down the big stone steps on the corner where you first see a neon sign, you can’t get in from that side).
The drinks: whisky galore. The printed drinks list has six pages of whiskies, divided between Japan and Scotland, plus some wine, cognac and sake; cocktails and snacks are listed separately on a tablet. Like the cool bar and cosy back room, there’s a confusing contrast between the traditional and the modern.
My expert companion was particularly impressed by the Japanese whisky range, which includes some real gems rarely found here. The 10-year-old Yoichi from Hokkaido (HK$150) was delicate, smooth and intensely smoky. If the Scottish selection isn’t quite as comprehensive, it still has plenty to offer.
The Ardbeg Uigeadail (HK$160) was fiercer and more full-bodied than the Yoichi, with a hint of peat. Staff, while willing to help, are more knowledgeable on the Japanese side.
There’s a small selection of signature cocktails at HK$68 each from which we tried the Lof 10 Moment (Scotch, yuzu, sugar syrup and egg white). Fresh, tart and well-balanced, it was a nice summer drink, although the serving was small, with more ice than cocktail. Other drinks are available if not listed – the bartender came up with a respectable Ketel One Martini (HK$140) when asked – but there’s no doubt Lof 10 is all about the whisky.
The verdict: whisky connoisseurs will enjoy exploring an outstanding collection, old-fashioned Japanese drinkers (are there any left in Hong Kong?) will feel at home in the comfy back room and smokers will appreciate the terrace. However, the location works against it and Lof 10’s best bet for longevity may be to position itself as a neighbourhood bar in this residential section of SoHo.
Lof 10 Distillery, B/F, 29-31 Bridges Street, SoHo, tel: 9787 1011
Open: Monday-Saturday: 5pm-midnight