Bar review: Loyal Bar in Wan Chai – well-made mix of old-style classics and signature fusion drinks
Professional service, excellent two-for-one happy hour offers, and traditional colonial cocktails make it the perfect place for some appetising pre-dinner beverages
The vibe: Loyal Bar is part of Tonnochy Road’s Tonno entertainment complex, which also includes a nightclub and karaoke rooms along with the Loyal Dining restaurant.
The brightly lit first floor restaurant is a kind of upmarket cha chaan teng referencing the In the Mood for Love era and is a good place to enjoy Hong Kong’s original fusion cuisine with local adaptations of Western food ranging from Russian borscht to deep-fried prawn toast. The ground floor bar has a similar decor, with comfortable green leather seating, but is dimly lit and intimate with casual although not unfriendly service, and screens offering a choice of sports or music videos with the sound turned off. This is a corner of Wan Chai off the main restaurant and bar track and the clientele is firmly local.
The drinks: The list is focused (like the restaurant) on old-style classics plus a few signatures echoing the Hong Kong fusion theme. We couldn’t quite face the Ovaltine Fizz (HK$105, Bailey’s, Kahlua, Ovaltine) but anyone with a sweet tooth in need of comfort food plus alcohol would probably love it.
There’s a decent choice of beers, wines by the glass and mocktails including that old Hong Kong standard The Gunner (HK$85, ginger ale, ginger beer, bitters) – apparently the alcohol content was too low for it to make the cocktail list.
As for the cocktails themselves, an Old Fashioned and a Negroni (both HK$105) were well made and strong, although they’d have been better with less ice.
The Mojito (also HK$105) was less potent but agreeably light and refreshing, with a nice balance of lime and mint. From the selection of champagne cocktails, the worryingly named Sweet Drink (HK$80, vodka, Blue Curaçao, champagne) turned out to be nicely dry apart from having sugar round the rim. I did wonder if the lack of sweetness and very pale shade of turquoise were due to the Curaçao having run out – I noticed a new bottle being brought up from the cellar afterwards – but the end result was certainly a success.
The verdict: With professionally made drinks and excellent value, especially in Happy Hour (buy one get one free), this is a good spot to know if you’re down that end of Wan Chai or fancy a couple of stiff colonial drinks before heading up to the restaurant for some gastronomic nostalgia.
Loyal Dining Bar, 5 Tonnochy Rd, Wan Chai, tel: 3125 3888
Open: noon-3am (Friday and Saturday until 5am)
Happy hour: 3pm-9pm