We’ve always enjoyed the Living Room. Ever since the W Hong Kong launched back in 2008, all sleek, chic and exuding ample helpings of contemporary cool from every neon-lit, jazzy-beat-vibrating surface in the house, it was the heart and soul of the hotel. It’s spaciously designed, scattered with eclectic, modern furnishings, sports glorious floor-to-ceiling windows overlooking Western Victoria Harbour, and has always possessed the ability to effortlessly transform from daytime casual to nighttime elegance.
But now the Living Room has been rebranded as Woobar – and while there are some obvious cosmetic alterations, the modifications represent much more of a tweak than a transformation. The chief changes of Woobar have come from its new ‘rock’ image. And, in terms of character, it seems to be a statement of intent, with the facelift attempting to consolidate the W’s sixth-floor bar as an entertainment destination in its own right. As the Living Room, it had been making significant strides down this road, hosting parties headlined by the superstar DJ likes of Eddie Halliwell, Sander Van Doorn and Richard Durand, and we’d expect to see much more of this in the near future. Of course, from dusk (when the excellent two-for-one happy hour deals start), funky beats spin nightly.
As part of this relaunch, Woobar, which merges seamlessly with the hotel’s open lobby, has been turned into a part lounge, part gallery, with the ‘Rocked’ exhibition – a retrospective from legendary music photographer Mick Rock. It means that you can enjoy your drinks while the likes of David Bowie, Queen, Madonna and Daft Punk gaze upon you (or vice versa).
Of course, the excellent drinks are why you’ll probably come to Woobar. Just as they were under the Living Room banner, the (slightly pricy) cocktails are first class, particularly if you’re into the classics done with a twist. The excellent Ron Zacapa Smoked Fashioned ($120) is a signature take on the old-fashioned, featuring rum infused with woodchips, cinnamon and cigar-smoke. Or try the equally potent Sunset Sazerac ($115), a concoction of W-infused Jack Daniels, Grand Marnier, Campari and bitters. Or, for those with a slightly more delicate palate, plump for the Asian Mind (ginger-infused gin, grapefruit and dehydrated sugar-coated ginger, $90).
Ultimately, Woobar has taken the Living Room model and made some slight adjustments and improvements. It’s a bit edgier and a little more ‘rock’ but, first and foremost, it’s still the best place in West Kowloon to get a drink. Mark Tjhung
6/F, W Hong Kong, 1 Austin Rd, West Kowloon, 3717 2222; woobarhongkong.com.