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Hong Kong bar reviews

Murray Lane bar review: sleek, with stellar cocktails and service to match in new Central hotel

Take a small detour from Central’s popular drinking holes to find this chilled bar at the new Murray Hotel on Cotton Tree Drive. Whether you’re after a place for business or after-work drinks, this venue will suit your needs

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 18 July, 2018, 12:49pm
UPDATED : Thursday, 19 July, 2018, 8:45pm

The vibe: Big enough for comfort, small enough to feel intimate, Murray Lane, just off the lobby area of the new Murray Hotel in Central, is designed to cater to hotel guests, ladies who lunch and patrons from the nearby financial district. In keeping with the rest of the hotel, the style of the bar is sleek and cool. Key colours are black and gold; a ceiling scattered with tiny lights like a starlit sky is reflected in the black marble floor.

How architect of iconic Murray Building made his mark – twice

There’s comfortable seating at low tables round the sides of the venue and a few bar tables in the middle. The relaxed ambience makes it a good place to sit and talk, whether for business or to hang out with friends. Service is excellent and there are tasty nuts to nibble on with your drinks.

The drinks: Signature cocktails are divided into lists which reflect the two main types of clientele. The Tape has strong, full-bodied drinks with witty names which reference the finance sector, while there are lighter offerings under The Cassia Collection, with floral ingredients inspired by the Murray’s gardens. There are also lists for Gin and Tonics, and Spritzes and Ballers.

From Cassia: Murray 75 (HK$120, Cinzano 1757, Cassia cordial, lime, grapefruit, orange blossom, Ruinart champagne), was delicate and flowery without being too sweet, though it could have done with a few more bubbles (the Ruinart was barely detectible).

Aviation (HK$120, Sipsmith gin, osmanthus, Creme de Violette, apple, ginger, lemon) was a lighter take on the classic drink, with strong notes of ginger. It was delicately served with the violet liqueur at the bottom and a flower floating on top.

From the Spritzes: Louboutin (HK$110, Tanqueray gin, bergamot, rosso vermouth, Fever Tree elderflower tonic) was lighter still and a nice refreshing option in a Hong Kong heatwave (even if it wasn’t served in a red-soled shoe…).

For those in search of sterner stuff, The Tape range lives up to its description of “rich, dark, sumptuous cocktails”. The Bear Hug (“Acquisition by a large company paying over the odds for the option”; HK$130, Ezra Brooks bourbon, yuzu, Calvados, rhubarb, bitters) was delicious, with an elegance and complexity which balanced its intense strength. Nifty Fifty (“The strongest fifty companies from the 1960s forming the bull market”; HK$130, Mount Gay Black Barrel rum, Hennessy VSOP, Luxardo Maraschino, rosso vermouth, bitters, orange) was a pleasing twist on the traditional Manhattan, served straight up.

Murray Lane also offers all-day dining with a range of food, a wide selection of tea and coffee, and a well-chosen wine list along with some creative non-alcoholic cocktails.

The verdict: It’s just what the bar at a five-star hotel should be. The location is worth the small detour if you’re in search of a spot to chill out and enjoy high-quality drinks and service in the Central area.

Murray Lane, Lobby Level, The Murray Hotel, 22 Cotton Tree Drive (enter from Garden Road or on foot via the St John’s walkway), Central. Tel: 3141 8888

Open: 7.30am-midnight (Friday and Saturday until 1am)

While you’re in the area:

Le Boudoir in Central reviewed – what’s with that revamp?

Bar review: Coa in Central – great selection of tequila and mescal

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