Time Out says
With the booming success of Solas, Kila and the recently opened Shore, Irish food and beverage magnate Cathal Kiely has his fingerprints all over Hong Kong’s bar and dining scene. Far from stopping there, Kiely has added another notch to his food and beverage bedpost, this time with Rayne.
A glance from street level doesn’t suggest anything innovative or remarkably different to the bars and lounges that surround it on Wyndham, and inside it’s pretty much the same story. But Rayne will do well for one very important reason: location, location, location.
The bar was named after Kiely’s newborn daughter and the bar menu has evidently been “Rayned” all over, especially in the signature drink list, which offers cheesily-named cocktails like the Rayne Forest and Chocolate Rayne. We went for the Purple Rayne ($85), a mix of blueberry, fresh pink grapefruit juice, Hendrick’s gin and a dash of lemon. But the resulting beverage made us feel far from princely, with a shudder-inducing, overwhelmingly ginny flavour that overpowered any hope of the apparently fresh fruit ingredients shining through.
There are, however, a few ways in which Rayne is attempting to differentiate itself from its peers on Wyndham. The Saturday ladies’ nights, with cocktail specials or vodka mixed drinks deals on offer, are Rayne’s attempt to attract more gals (who, presumably, should in turn attract more guys). Rayne also plans to incorporate flair bartending into their arsenal, as well as emphasising cocktails with fresh ingredients like fruit purees.
Their selection of house and lounge music is also a welcome change from the inevitable Top 40 hits blasting from its neighbours. And while these efforts are noted, and in some cases appreciated, when 2am rolls around and you find yourself standing elbow-to-elbow and armed with a cocktail in one hand and a cigarette in the other, there’s not much else you’re likely to be concerned about other than how your glass will magically refill itself.
Kiely and Co. clearly have a well practiced and successful formula, and Rayne is more of the same. It’s by no means a ground-breaking venue, and those looking for a hidden gem of a bar should certainly look elsewhere. But when it comes to the Wyndham Street scene, there’s no need to tinker with what has proven to be a customer-pleasing and money-making strategy so popular that Solas, Kila and Rayne are consistently packed to the point where their patrons spill out onto the street. This means a better chance to see and be seen, and if this is your evening’s mission then consider Rayne a suitable spot at which to achieve it.
43-55 Wyndham St, Central, 2840 1955.