Buy your friends a round – of crazy golf – at Hong Kong bar with a difference; you might want to give cocktails a miss, though
Review: novelty mini golf at Strokes in Causeway Bay makes for a relaxed atmosphere, and cheerful coloured lighting and furniture in shades of pink and blue add to the ambience. Overelaborate cocktails need some simplifying, though
The vibe: Part of Causeway Bay’s ever-expanding Fashion Walk complex of shopping, dining and entertainment, Strokes offers a unique concept: restaurant, bar and crazy golf.
There are two golf courses, one easier, the other more challenging, and you can take your drinks with you while you play (tables are provided to set down your bevvy while you’re putting). The bar is bright and utilitarian, with exposed overhead pipes and cheerful coloured lighting and furniture in shades of pink and blue.
Friendly and casual, it’s a club-like spot which would suit company outings, groups of friends who want to have a bit of fun with golf, or Fashion Walk shoppers in search of somewhere to take the weight off their Louboutins.
The drinks: Signature cocktails are creative, if sometimes too much so for their own good.
The Basil Margarita (HK$120, chilli-infused Cimarron Blanco tequila, basil, Benedictine, green Chartreuse) was nicely spicy. Amigo (HK$110, El Jimador Blanco tequila, yuzu juice, verdita-agave syrup, barbecue Tabasco) was refreshing, with nice notes of coriander from the verdita, although the Tabasco wasn’t noticeable. Old Smokey (HK$145, Mount Gay XO rum, Benriach Curiositas 10 years single malt, orange peel infused sugar, orange bitters, chocolate bitters) was strong and certainly smoky but not very balanced – it needed another element to make it work.
Worse was lurking in the innocuous-looking white depths of Mr and Mrs Cow (HK$110, Black Cow vodka, creme de cacao, yogurt and Cheddar cheese mix, vanilla, grape cordial). What would otherwise have been a reasonable take on a White Russian was sabotaged by the cheddar, which gave the drink a truly nasty taste. To her credit, the bartender replaced it with the day’s special, Pineapple Express (HK$150).
A deliciously fruity pineapple mojito, prettily served in a copper pineapple-shaped cup, this, together with a well-made Bloody Mary (HK$110) were reassuring evidence that while the signatures need more work, you can still get a good cocktail. Beer lovers are well catered for with the complete range of craft beers from local brewery Moonzen.
The verdict: Strokes is pleasant enough, but the novelty value of the golf is its only real selling point if it’s going to compete with the area’s many other bars.
Strokes, Shop G2-3, 1/F, Fashion Walk, 9 Kingston Street, Causeway Bay, tel: 2877 1800.
Open: 11.30am-1am (Friday and Saturday until 3am, Sunday until 11pm)
While you’re in the area: