Bar review: Back Bar, Wan Chai – a great escape from the hustle and bustle of Hong Kong
With cocktail names that pun film titles, an impressive list of sherries, a good selection of tapas and a snug, cosy atmosphere, style is the signature of this tucked-away treat
The vibe: another speakeasy style place, hidden in the back of the Ham & Sherry restaurant, you can either brave your way to Back Bar down a dark alley or through the restaurant in front. The space is small, the lighting dim and the style is utilitarian grunge in shades of grey – but the welcome is friendly and the place felt snug on a cold, rainy night.
The drinks: the signature cocktail names are plays on movie titles and the drinks list is a book of parody movie posters. There is an good list of sherries and tapas.
Sake Kid (HK$120, Funaguchi sake, Beefeater gin, lemon, yuzu-pineapple cordial, matcha powder) was served in a Japanese drink can and was light and refreshing. Mission Ginpossible (HK$110, chorizo-fat-washed gin, olive-infused Dolin vermouth, orange bitters) was an intriguing take on the classic martini – the chorizo was strong although not overpowering. It’s not a drink for the faint-hearted.
Reservoir Grogs (below, HK$110, Havana Club 3, Myers’s rum, ginger shrub, orange) was strong, balanced and not too sweet with a nice kick from the ginger. Named after the hero of Anchorman, Ron Burgundy (HK$130, rum, Burgundy sugar, Sex Panther bitters) is served in a perfume flask (you’ll get the point if you’ve seen the film). The drink is sweet and full-bodied with vanilla notes and deceptively strong (at least I assume that’s why my companion tried to steal the perfume flask. The waiter was very nice about it, though.)
The verdict: Back Bar has style. Service is good, bartending skilled and the drinks are wild, wacky and well-made and the faux movie concept is fun.
Back Bar, 1-7 Ship Street, Wan Chai,
tel: 2555 0628. Open Monday to Saturday, 6pm to late