All of a sudden, the outdoors are in vogue. It’s not that Hongkongers were ever against the idea of wining and dining in the open air, but in the past six months lounging al fresco has become King. An amazing outdoor space has been a mandatory requirement, it seems, for any newly opened or renovated hotel. And while the Mira’s Vibes and The Excelsior’s ToTT’s have led the way, a new gleaming example has opened in Hong Kong Island’s East that is arguably the sexiest outdoor space around.
Encompassing the entire 32nd floor of the spankingly swanky business hotel EAST is Sugar, a soaring establishment that sells itself as ‘bar + deck + lounge’. It’s a tag that succinctly sums up the highlights of this ultra-cool space, except that it omits Sugar’s finest feature: the utterly breathtaking views.
Enjoying sweeping vistas with a drink in hand is hardly a new thing to our spoilt eyes, but Sugar’s panoramas provide a new, eastern take on our urban jungle. To the north of the open expanse of the bar are the bright lights of Kwun Tong, and the views continue uninterrupted to the North Point skyline in the west, as well as the Island’s often-building-obstructed east. And from both extremities of the outdoor deck, as well as the bar’s intimately glowing heart, you can see Quarry Bay extend toward Tai Tam Country Park.
The view dominates from every corner of the bar, such is the openness of the smartly designed interior. Ottomans and couches flow over three tiers in a natty configuration that fosters versatility: the area feels both spacious and private; casual by day, a sexy futuristic capsule with jazzy house beats by night. And, at the pull of the floor-to-ceiling window shutters, it transforms from an intimate and warm interior space to one that seamlessly joins the deck.
While the inside mixes industrial touches with natural wood, a simpler approach has been taken with the sprawling deck. The wooden slats stretch the entire length of the building, dotted with low-rise couches and bed-like ottomans – and, at the eastern end, a glowing checkered floor.
It’s a bar that, in almost every way, feels perfectly balanced: in modernity, style and that ever-important equilibrium between classy and casual.
The drinks, as you’d expect from a first-rate hotel bar, are both numerous and excellent, particularly the cocktails. The Red Sky Colour ($85), comprising vodka, crème du cassis, rosé wine, raspberry honey, lime and ginger, and the Forest Sour (vodka, crème de mure, grapes, lemon, strawberry, maple syrup, $85) were impressively fresh, balanced, and distinctive. Wine lovers will also enjoy the healthy selection of vino by the glass ($65 to $95).
Sugar is already proving popular among the Island East business crowd, who have long been starved of decent drinking holes. No doubt, when the weather warms up a little, many more will be making the pilgrimage to this exceptional addition to the high end of Hong Kong’s drinking scene.
32/F, EAST Hotel, 29 Tai Koo Shing Rd, Tai Koo Shing, www.sugar-hongkong.com, 3968 3738.