Hong Kong bar reviews

Bar review: Ying Jee Club Bar in Central – a true luxury experience

With a warm, intimate interior and a friendly and experienced bartender who can customise her well-made drinks to suit the customer, this bar, part of the Michelin-starred Ying Jee Club, is a great place for an indulgent evening out

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 13 December, 2017, 6:17pm
UPDATED : Thursday, 14 December, 2017, 6:51pm

The vibe: the downstairs bar of the Ying Jee Club is part of but separate from the Cantonese fine- dining area on the first floor and can be accessed through the restaurant or directly from Queen Victoria Street. Small and intimate, the decor of blue-green velvet seating and warm-toned wood is instantly relaxing. Bartender Cecilia is an attentive and knowledgeable host who does a great job of introducing the drinks and tailoring them to the customer’s taste – we felt like guests at a club, not just customers at a bar.

The drinks: we started off with the signature list. Hana No Bi (HK$118, gin, apple liqueur, Campari, lime) was delicate and refreshing. Single “M” (HK$148, Macallan 12 years, Calvados, Antica Formula, St Germain elderflower liqueur, lavender bitters, Angostura bitters), was strong and complex with a lovely balance of bitter and sweet.

First impressions of Ying Jee Club – uber-posh Cantonese with echoes of nearby Duddell’s fare

We put ourselves in Cecilia’s hands for some specials. We weren’t too sure about her suggestion of adding shiso liqueur to a classic Sidecar (HK$138, Cognac, Cointreau, lemon juice) but it worked a treat, with the fresh, herbal note of the shiso lifting the drink nicely. A request for something warming on a cold evening brought a luscious Hot Buttered Rum (HK$138). Stirred with a cinnamon stick and with two little butter hearts on the side in case you wanted it even richer, it tasted like Christmas.

Quality like this makes you want to check out the classics and they didn’t disappoint. A Martini made with Bombay East (HK$158) was perfectly dry, with an extra touch of lemongrass to bring out the flavour of the gin and a delicious shooter of white vermouth with orange flower bitters on the side. A Negroni (HK$128), was one of the best I’ve ever had; made with Japanese Ki No Bi gin and a touch of Fernet-Branca to supplement the Campari and red vermouth, it was flawless in flavour and balance.

Each drink is enhanced by being presented in a different, carefully chosen glass, and garnishes are simple, elegant and designed to complement the drink – no weird drinking vessels or paper umbrellas here.

The verdict: a true luxury experience. While prices are high, they’re well worth it for mixology and service of this level.

Ying Jee Club, Shop G05 Nexxus Building, 41 Connaught Road, Central (entrance on Queen Victoria Street), tel: 2801 6882. Open: 11.30am to11pm

While you’re in the area:

Bar review: Lawry’s The Prime Rib in Central – a tucked-away gem

Bar review: The Old Man, Central – raise a glass to Hemingway, the thinking man’s drinker

Bar review: Slide on 79 in Central – choice of a packed downstairs bar or a relaxing time upstairs