The vibe: don’t be misled by the name – you just need to book in advance, not become a member. Oris is located in the premises previously occupied by the late, lamented Republic, an excellent bar which deserved a longer life. The vintage speakeasy theme has been replaced by a blander, more modern decor with comfortable sofa seating. There’s a relaxed, intimate atmosphere and a warm welcome from the all-female bartending team. Very quiet in the early evening, it’s a good place to chat while you drink. Although things start to warm up after 9pm, the discreet first-floor location is likely to prove a handicap in the competitive SoHo market, as it was for its predecessor.
The drinks: the focus is on the classics, with a selection of signature cocktails offering an original twist. Ginger Bread Lovers (HK$115) made with ginger-infused vodka and house-made gingerbread syrup, was sweet, rich and really felt like drinking liquefied gingerbread; if you love those German Christmas cookies, this is for you.
Spicy Margarita (HK$115), made with chilli-infused tequila, was ferociously spicy at first, then balanced out well.
Turning to traditional drinks, we enjoyed the Bloody Mary and Negroni (both HK$68 during happy hour, HK$90 otherwise) and the Belvedere Martini, stirred not shaken (HK$75), all well-made examples of the classics. Servings are generous and prices are excellent value, especially during happy hour.
The verdict: Oris is well worth checking out if you appreciate quality drinks, good prices and a laid-back setting with no gimmicks.