Bar review: Skye Rooftop Bar, Causeway Bay – smart layout, slow service
Interesting drinks and a beautiful setting marred by teething problems, disorganised staff and some confusion over ice
The vibe: Skye is the new rooftop bar at the Park Lane hotel, now part of the Pullman group and fresh from a complete makeover. The bar makes maximum use of the roof terrace with its fine harbour view and is cleverly laid out so that half the space is under cover, half outside.
The centrepiece of the striking design is a large circular bar which lights up in different colours, as do the individual round tables. The effect is spectacular and a perfect fit with the lights of Hong Kong’s night-time skyline. There’s plenty of comfortable seating and a smart layout offers quiet corners to chat as well as room to party.
The drinks: as befits a five-star hotel, there’s a comprehensive drinks menu including a range of wines and high-end whiskies as well as a signature cocktail list. The latter is divided into sections, including one using liquid nitrogen; from that we ordered the Stratospheric Martini (HK$140, Ford’s Gin) and were invited to watch it being made, complete with spectacular clouds of smoke reminiscent of a Hogwarts potions class. The menu boasts that this is the coldest martini you’ll ever drink, but by the time they brought it to our table it was lukewarm, although stylishly served in a small glass cup set in a mould of ice.
We’d ordered a Thai Hong (HK$120, dark rum, spices, orange liqueur, almond, pineapple) at the same time – it had been made before the martini, then left to stand on the bar and the ice had melted when it reached us. A pity, as what we could taste of the drink itself was complex and elegant.
A Kind of Pink (HK$110) was an interesting twist on a Negroni with tequila, violet liqueur and pink peppercorn and came cutely decorated with an eyedropper of pink liquid. Unfortunately, a request for less ice (after the Thai Hong problem) was misinterpreted and the drink was served with a handful of small, rapidly melting ice cubes instead of a single large one which the waiter then told us was usual – and which would have been better.
Canadian Conquistador (HK$140, Serrano ham fat-washed brandy, cardamom bitters, maple syrup) was in fact served with one large ice cube – so large that it took up the whole glass and I kept hitting my nose on it – but at least the drink wasn’t diluted, and very nice it was, with the salty, fatty notes from the ham neatly balancing the sweetness of the maple.
Even making allowances for teething troubles, service was surprisingly disorganised for a five-star hotel (as well as all the ice mishaps, we waited 15 minutes for our bill) and while staff are eager to please, they are very young and in need of training.
The verdict: Skye will make a great addition to Hong Kong’s rooftop watering holes if they can raise the standard of service to the same level as the setting.
Skye Rooftop Bar, 27/F Park Lane hotel, 310 Gloucester Road, Causeway Bay. Tel: 2839 3327. Open: noon-midnight