Hong Kong bar reviews

Pong at the IFC – beer pong, Instagram-ready drinks and suits galore on the roof of ritzy Central mall

The ping pong ball drinking game at Pong is drawing the crowds eager to let down their hair after work, the signature cocktails look impressive, and there’s a striking neon feel to the place when the sun goes down. This bar’s a keeper

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 31 July, 2018, 3:31pm
UPDATED : Thursday, 02 August, 2018, 7:10pm

The vibe: Pong is the latest newcomer to the row of bars on the IFC Mall rooftop and yes, it’s “Pong” as in beer pong. If the ping pong ball drinking game seems an unlikely choice for the ritzy IFC, the hi-tech electronic pong table had the corporate high-flyer patrons sending ping pong balls flying with more enthusiasm than accuracy as they knocked back shots and let down their hair.

Once darkness falls, the illuminated game table and sports video screens indoors echo the coloured lights of the harbour seen through the bar’s glass walls, creating a striking neon feel. The place was packed – you’d be wise to book, especially if you want to eat as well as drink – and there’s plenty of outdoor space when the weather permits.

The drinks: The drinks list is intelligently constructed to suit a range of patrons. Signature cocktails seem aimed at those to whom Instagram may matter more than alcohol.

Secret Garden (HK$158, Tanqueray, Cointreau, lemon juice, egg white, flower syrup with elderflower, rose, jasmine and hibiscus), pretty and pink in a glass charmingly decorated with petals, was pleasantly floral and refreshing.

Social media posts about Pong

Red Spider Lily (HK$148, Rose Chinensis-infused rum, Snow Chrysanthemum sour mix, elderflower syrup, grapefruit tincture, lemon juice, sparkling wine, activated charcoal) appeared in a glass cup shaped like a skull, accompanied by a small vase with two artificial red spider lilies. (Red spider lilies are known as “the death flower” in Japan, being not only used as grave offerings but to poison pests in the fields, hence the memento mori presentation.)

It took a bit of courage to try a sip of the ominously dark liquid, but the drink itself was surprisingly innocuous – fruity and slightly sweet, with a nicely earthy note from the charcoal.

For those who prefer to know what they’re getting, there’s an impressive list of classics, and the ones we tried were excellent. The Espresso Martini (HK$128) had an intense coffee flavour and just the right amount of sweetness, and the nicely balanced Vesper (HK$128, Tanqueray, Stolichnaya, Lillet Blanc) was stirred and not shaken as per our request.

The verdict: Professional and refreshingly unpretentious, with good-quality drinks and the beer pong for an added attraction, Pong looks set for success in this prime location.

La Rambla tops tasty ham with stunning views from IFC mall

Pong, Shop 4011, Level 4, IFC Mall, 8 Finance Street, Central. Tel: 2595 9966

Open: noon-2am (Friday, Saturday and the eve of public holidays until 3am)