Bar review: Twenties HK in Central – cosy and eclectic, but light on the speakeasy concept
The decor and the oversweet drinks don’t have a lot to do with the 1920s, but the setting is stylish and the service is friendly and accommodating
The vibe: Twenties HK offers an intimate, deluxe space with low lighting and cosy plush booth seating, with the nice eclectic touch of a sofa outside the entrance – and a striking effect of silhouettes cast on the wall as people pass by. Flowers are a motif, with wisteria hanging in profusion from the ceiling and yellow orchids decorating the tables; it’s a pity they’re artificial, although the tin foil butterflies which float among them are a welcome contrast to the dead ones featured at Iron Fairies.
There’s surprising little reference to the bar’s 1920s speakeasy concept (you’d expect more art deco style) and the music is firmly 2017. However, Twenties has been open only a short time and apparently there are design refinements in the pipeline. They are also refining the drinks list, so what we tasted might not be on the menu when you visit.
The drinks: Like the decor, the drinks list doesn’t have much to do with the 1920s and in fact is a bit of a puzzle. There’s a selection of champagne (one wall has a glass cabinet full of Dom Perignon) and premium vodka aimed at the kind of customers who’ve got it and want to flaunt it, a short list of single malt whisky, a lone beer (HK$88, Young Master) and no wine.
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There are eight signature cocktails and the Ask Your Bartender (HK$128) if there’s something else you want. Girl in New Orleans (HK$108, Mancino bianco, G’Vine gin, Dover Shiso liqueur, fresh lime, simple syrup) came prettily decorated with a carved strawberry and a strong strawberry flavour from the muddled fruit. It was pleasant and innocuous, but too sweet for us; seeing this, the bartender kindly produced a dryer version with more vermouth and gin which worked better.
The reposado came through nicely with a smoky note but the drink was again on the sweet side, as was the Vintage Negroni (HK$120, Mancino rosso, Fords Gin, Rinomato Orange, grapefruit bitters) – the Rinomato doesn’t have the bitterness to balance the drink the way Campari does and the grapefruit was too dominant.
I’m not sure what Louis XV would have made of Après Moi le Déluge (HK$120, Ocho Reposado, Mancino rosso, Luxardo Maraschino, grapefruit bitters) and there seemed no particular reason for naming this drink after his famous quote (tequila certainly wasn’t the tipple of choice in 18th century Versailles).
The verdict: Twenties is a bar in search of an identity – if it can find one and do some fine-tuning on the drinks, the stylish setting and friendly service offer good potential.
Twenties HK Carfield Commercial Building, 75-77 Wyndham St, Central, tel: 5291 0703.
Open Monday to Saturday 6pm-2am