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Hong Kong bar reviews

Bar review: Alvy’s in Kennedy Town – craft beer, whiskey and pizza with a Woody Allen vibe

A welcome addition to the area’s growing bar scene, this Annie Hall-inspired venue is well worth the trip for its craft beer selection, whiskey cocktails and atmosphere

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 17 August, 2017, 3:02pm
UPDATED : Tuesday, 29 August, 2017, 11:58am

The vibe: A neighbourhood bar and pizza joint straight out of Woody Allen’s New York. The bar takes its name from the Alvy Singer character Allen plays in Annie Hall, while images from the director’s films hang on the walls and his early comedy albums play over the speakers in the toilets. The place goes a little off-theme with its rock background music – Allen’s beloved early jazz would have worked just as well – but the soundtrack doesn’t jar with the bar’s emphasis on craft beer and whiskey, or with the tattoos sported by its staff.

The drinks: The bar is in a soft opening phase so the drinks list will probably diversify somewhat in the coming weeks, but craft beer and unusual American whiskeys are the point of the place, while there is also a short wine list.

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At present, brews from the Young Master Brewery in Wong Chuk Hang dominate the draft beer list. You can choose from no fewer than seven, alongside imports from California’s North Coast and Stone breweries and New York’s Finback, among others.

All draft beers are available as a 200ml tasting samples, or 330ml or 450ml pours. Groups, though, may want to consider the 1.8 litre pitchers.

I opted first for the beer on the bar’s lone hand pump – there are 13 taps on the wall behind – which was Young Master’s Summer of 1842 (HK$52 for 330ml), an English style IPA and an excellent session beer. I was tempted to stick with it, but the same brewery’s Thyme Pale Ale (HK$52 for 330ml) was recommended as a complement to the pizzas, so I ordered one of each. The combination worked.

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The bourbon and rye whiskeys can, of course, be ordered by themselves, but some thought appeared to have gone into the cocktails.

The Old-Fashioned (HK$95) is made with a house blend of bourbon and rye whiskeys, cognac, and chocolate bitters, garnished with a slice of dried orange. It was well balanced and enjoyable to sip at leisure.

The Little Engine (HK$115) blends two of the bar’s specialities – High West Double Rye and a stout reduction – along with a dash of hazelnut bitters. Rich and complex, there was just enough bitterness to underscore the spiciness of the rye.

The verdict: Alvy’s is a welcome addition to the bar scene in an increasingly lively part of town and seems to already have a regular clientele. For those living further away, it is worth the MTR or taxi ride.

Alvy’s, 8 Holland Street, Kennedy Town, tel: 2312 2996.

Open: Tues to Sun, 4pm to late

While you’re in the area

Bar review: Potato Head, Sai Ying Pun – it’s not just the beach that’s missing

Bar review: Malt Whisky Bar in quiet Sheung Wan corner is worth a shot

Bar review: Employees Only in Lan Kwai Fong – professional staff and bags of character