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March 22, 2013

Seven and Sevens

Last time you wandered past Lang Kwai Fong, the number of revelers you counted outside Stormies was even higher than the number of ticket-scavenging statuses currently clogging up your Facebook newsfeed. You’ve noticed unusually high levels of overseas colleagues in the office this week for ‘urgent face-to-face meetings’. And a trip to Pottinger has left you pondering whether your ‘pregnant Kate’ costume idea is so original after all… Yup, brace yourself! It’s that time of year again – the only weekend that it’s practically frowned upon if your MD and CFO aren’t captured on the big screen singing ‘Hey Baby’ while dressed as Centurians – Rugby Sevens fever has well and truly set in!

No tickets this year? Not feeling fancy dress and downing lukewarm pints of syrupy Pimm’s at 8am? Well that’s no reason to miss out on Hong Kong’s biggest party weekend of the year! If your idea of being a rugby fan has more to do with thighs than tries, how about skipping the game and working your way through our pick of the seven best new bars on the block?! Sevens hedonism, DSTS style…

DSTS Sevens1. Havana Bar
If you prefer Havana nights to stadium lights, Cuban rum joint, Havana Bar may be a better fit than the South Stand this weekend. Zip past Lang Kwai Fong’s lagered-up crowds and up to Havana’s huge 4th floor terrace where the atmosphere’s more Caribbean Carnival, and a mind-boggling array of rum promises to get the party started quicker than you can say “Daiquiri”. With Latin beats in the background, nab an alfresco cushioned corner seat and get the drinks flowing. The DSTS top pick? The Luxury Mojito – everyone’s favourite Cuban cocktail topped up with champagne… a delicious but deadly twist – don’t say that we didn’t warn you! (4/F, The Plaza, 21 D’Aguilar Street, Central, +852 2851 4880)

2. Origin
If all the chaos and noise has you yearning for a little well-heeled refinement and a strong Gin & Tonic, then let us introduce Origin. This brand new drinking spot specialises in the stiff upper Brit’s favourite tipple, gin. Whet your whistle with a gin-based cocktail or tickle your fancy with a nip of home-infused gin, think basil, grapefruit or lemongrass. Like its sister bar, The Quinary, lots of new fangled wizardry and some serious science lab equipment is used to whip up Origin’s menu of delicious concoctions. So hop up onto a tartan-topped stool at the elegant arched bar and watch the mixology magic commence. (48 Wyndham Street, Central, +852 2668 5583)

3. The Roger Room
Had enough of the Mexican Wave? How about jumping ship and trying a Peruvian wave instead? We’re talking Chicha’s naughty, rum-swigging, buccaneering little brother The Roger Room. A bar decked out like a very chic pirate ship, with killer cocktails for the thirsty and tacos for the peckish – peg leg and parrot optional! Leave the landlubbers behind and sail away under the star-studded ceiling for a little Pisco-based, nautical fun. Go classic with a Pisco Sour or really shiver those timbers with the bar’s namesake tipple, the Jolly Roger – Pisco, muddled berries, sparkling wine and a spike of chili. Several of those and it’ll be cutlasses at dawn… (39 Peel Street, Central,  +852 2561 3336)

4. Honi Honi
If the packs of rowdy revelers descending upon Hong Kong have had you dreaming about jumping on a plane and jetting off to a Polynesian paradise, we suggest you save your air-miles and say Aloha to Honi Honi instead. Tucked away in an unassuming building on Wellington Street, this little cocktail den feels like a desert island haven amongst the neon and vodka jelly of the streets below. Grab a high stool at the bamboo bar or head out to the leafy terrace and prepare to be blown away by some totally tropical cocktails. Whip up some trouble with the Tropical Storm – Grey Goose, passion fruit, elderflower, guava nectar and fresh strawberries – or go for some group re-hydration courtesy of the Around the World – the king of cocktails, made up of five different rums, some obligatory soft, fruity stuff and a whole bottle of Tattinger Champagne. This probably doesn’t end prettily… (3/F, 52 Wellington Street, Central, +852 2353 0885)

5. Salon No. 10
If you’ve just wandered through a book-lined parlour to find yourself in what looks like a submarine with white leather padded walls, golden trumpet-shaped light-fittings and a mural of ET, you aren’t in some alcohol-induced daydream, you’re just in Salon No. 10. Reclining in one of the retro armchairs, with jazz burbling in the background and a seriously strong cocktail in hand, you could completely forget that just a few hundred metres away a group of men dressed as Scouts are doing the conga with no trousers on. In a “if you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em” kind of mood? Let Salon No. 10 introduce you to the Little Green Fairy with a drop of Absinthe. We can’t promise the scout outfits but conga-ing trouserless is pretty much standard. (10 Arbuthnot Road, Central, +852 2801 6768)

6. Wyndham the 4th
Traumatised after tripping over a man dressed as Superman passed out in the gutter on Wyndham Street? Rise above it – to the fourth floor and sleek, cocktail joint, Wyndham the 4th. As soon as you step into this monochrome, moodily lit sanctum of cool, all manner of Sevens atrocities will be but a vague memory. With speakeasy-esque elegance and the terrace to top all terraces, Wyndham the 4th is the perfect setting for an expertly-crafted cocktail. Luckily award-winning bartender, Tom Wood, is behind the drinks menu, which has all the classics covered along with a few new, innovatively luscious libations. The DSTS hot pick has to be the sinfully good Hanky Panky – a couple of these will knock you off your feet and have you tumbling back out on to Wyndham to join Superman. (4/F, 48 Wyndham Street, Central, +852 2523 8001)

7. Rula Bula
A bar whose name means ‘uproar and commotion’? Could there be a more fitting venue than Rula Bula for Hong Kong’s ultimate weekend of partying and excess?  But this is uproar and commotion with a sleeker, chicer, sexier edge. Think minimalist décor, high ceilings and industrial detailing; Manhattan Loft meets wild Irish shindig. This is the venue to hit up when you’re looking to switch the night up a gear. There’s plenty of space on the dance floor to showcase your Gangnam style, and a list of space-age-esque molecular shots to fuel your smooth moves. Make sure you try the genius Jäger Balls – jelly encased shots of Jägermeister served floating in a glass of Red Bull, AKA liquid Michael Flatley – one shot and we guarantee you’ll be the Lord of the Dance… (58-62 D’Aguilar Street, Central, +852 2179 5225)

*Recommendations provided by Natalie Robinson, contributor for The Guardian and co-founder of the blog 3BadMice

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