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Bar review: Thaiwan in Wan Chai – Thai and Taiwanese-themed drinks and tapas

The vibe: Thaiwan offers a mixture of Thai and Taiwanese themed drinks and tapas (hence the name). Tucked away on Ship Street, just before it turns into a vertical slope, it’s located opposite a building site – unglamorous but practical, as the street is effectively pedestrian and patrons can drink outside.Indoors is pretty basic with bare concrete walls and a few small tables packed into the bar area. Casual and friendly, if a little chaotic, it was buzzing on a Monday night. The couple who own the bar were there (always a good sign). It’s clearly known as a good spot to chill out after work and there are plenty of regular customers.

The drinks: the main focus is beer – there are several drafts on rotation and a formidable array of bottled beers. During happy hour, prices start from HK$48. Pride of place goes to Hong Kong breweries such as Lion Rock, Gweilo and Moonzen, and there’s an impressive range of imports from countries including Taiwan, the Netherlands and the US. If you want to take the Taiwanese theme further, they also have a good selection of Kavalan whisky.

There’s a long list of cocktails, all classics – the absence of weird and wonderful signature drinks and elaborate presentation makes a refreshing change from most new bars and at HK$68 each, you can’t complain about the value. The Margarita was well-made and strong, with plenty of fresh lime, and both the standard Mojito and the Mojito Thaiwan, made with passion fruit, were delicious.

The verdict: a genuine neighbourhood bar, family-owned and unpretentious with decent drinks and good prices – what’s not to like?

Thaiwan

31 Ship Street, Wan Chai, tel: 3709 6595

Open Monday to Saturday 5pm-2am.

Happy Hour 5pm-9pm

While you’re in Ship Street…

QMO on trendy Ship Street offers Mediterranean fusion dishes with impressive starters and tapas

Refreshing simplicity at Atelier Vivanda, Akrame Benallal’s new addition to Ship Street

Bar review: Back Bar, Wan Chai – a great escape from the hustle and bustle of Hong Kong