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Hong Kong bar reviews

Bar review: The Picture House, Sai Kung – Steamers’ successor is a gastropub with friendly service

There’s something for everyone in this Sai Kung pub, with classic and signature cocktails, seven draught beers, a balanced wine list and no service charge

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 28 December, 2017, 6:00pm
UPDATED : Thursday, 28 December, 2017, 8:05pm

The vibe: The “est. 1958” in The Picture House’s logo refers to the building, not the bar, which opened only a couple of months ago in the premises formerly occupied by the second incarnation of Steamers. In 1958 it was a cinema, hence the name.

The layout is similar to that of its predecessor, and there is also a fair amount of continuity in staff and clientele, but the place is now a good deal smarter, with a gastropub atmosphere and menu. The forecourt sitting out area is particularly popular. Service is friendly, and there’s no service charge, but happy hour prices apply to only some of the drinks.

Bar review: The Diner in Sai Kung – friendly spot for burgers, shakes and American whiskeys

The drinks: there should be something on the drinks list to cater to most tastes. Beer drinkers have a choice of seven draught beers and 16 bottled beers and ciders. The wine list is short, but well balanced and as reasonably priced as you can expect in Sai Kung these days.

You would not have gone to Steamers for a cocktail, but the Enoteca Group, which also operates the nearby Conservatory restaurant, has introduced a simple list of signature cocktails all priced at HK$75, G&T cocktails all at HK$88, and botanical gins (note to management: there is no other kind of gin) served with Fever-Tree tonic water and your choice of garnish, all for HK$78.

I went for a G&T made with the Botanist gin from Islay in Scotland and opted for lemon grass, which kept trying to stab me in the eye.

Of the signature cocktails the salt-rimmed Blueberry Basil Margarita,served on the rocks and garnished with a Thai basil leaf and fresh blueberries, was pleasantly tart, balanced and refreshing.

The Ginger Rogers Julep made with bourbon, orange juice, fresh mint and ginger syrup had the bourbon well to the fore, which is desirable in a julep, but so is better bourbon. I would have been willing to pay for an upgrade from basic Jim Beam, and should have asked.

Options for those avoiding alcohol, for whatever reason, include a Sai Kung Sunrise – what you would expect sans tequila – and a selection of smoothies, coffees and Dilmah teas.

The verdict: a definite upgrade for strategically located Sai Kung premises which have housed a bar or restaurant of one kind or another for more than a decade.

The Picture House, 66 Yi Chun Street, Sai Kung, tel: 2792 6991

Open: 11am-midnight

Happy hour: Monday to Friday 3pm-7.30pm

While you’re in the area:

Bar review: Padstow in Sai Kung – where village pub meets casual seafood restaurant