Bar review: Big Sur, SoHo – California vibe and satisfying drinks to suit everyone
Craft beers, tequilas, well-made cocktails and a decent choice of whiskies and wines make this light airy bar a great place for a few drinks or a session
The vibe: Modern American restaurant/beer and tequila bar, notably spacious for this part of town. Decor is uncluttered, and a light, airy feeling evoking the stretch of California coastline from which Big Sur takes its name is clearly the aim. It’s designed for all-day dining, and starts serving breakfast at 8am.
A long bar should allow plenty of session beer drinkers to stay close to the taps, but a large outdoor area – with exterior space heaters for this relatively chilly season – was more popular on my visit.
The drinks: Craft beer – draft and bottled – is a major focus with 15 taps, although one of them dispenses a beer cask-finished Martin Miller gin and tonic. Serves are 200ml, 300ml or 400ml and local brewery Young Master supplies around half of the beers.
I tried a 7oz taster of Young Master Classic Pale Ale at HK$45, which was a moreish session beer, contrasted with the Stone Brewing Xocoveza Mexican Chocolate Stout – again a 200ml taster, this time at HK$65 – which was a rich mocha stout with a good balance of sweetness and bitterness.
One was definitely sufficient. Cocktails for the most part are a combination of premium spirits and freshly squeezed juices. A section of the drinks list is simply titled “Fresh Pressed Juice + Booze”. I found The Mexican, made with Ocho Reposado tequila, lime and watermelon (HK$90) a refreshing combination. For those who prefer their agave spirits straight up, a not overlong but well-chosen tequila and mezcal list should cover most requirements.
You could pay HK$180 for an Ocho Single Barrel Anejo 2014, but I found a shot of the 2015 La Latilla from the same distiller hit the spot nicely.
The selection is divided into highland and lowland tequilas, and mezcals. Decent whisky and wine lists follow the same principle of being easy to read quickly.
Prices are, well, SoHo/Central, but in the American manner, pours are generous.
The verdict: A sound all-day indoor or outdoor watering hole with a good selection of simple, satisfying drinks.
Big Sur, 22 Staunton Street, SoHo, tel: 2529 3001, Open: 8am until late. Happy hour: 3pm-7pm