OPEN BAR SECOND DRAFT
The buzz: Those who have been to craft beer bar The Ale Project in Mong Kok will know just how popular (well, cramped) it can get on any given night. The team behind it has brought the same winning formula of excellent craft beers and awesome bar bites to a much bigger space in Tai Hang—the second draft, if you will.
The décor: You’d think it couldn’t get more charming than the brown brick exterior in the sleepy nabe of Tai Hang—it does: The spacious interior has the old-school feel of a 50s style cha chaan teng, making liberal use of that distinct melon green color scheme. Although it does verge on the institutional sometimes, with rules like “no smoking” in vintage lettering spray-painted onto the walls. But all is warmed up by a smooth dark wooden bar and matching tables.
The drinks: There are 26 taps on rotation, of which more than half are Hong Kong brews. Beers are served at three different temperatures, depending on the brew and its flavor profile, and there are plenty of unusual beers here to taste-test. Young Master Ales take center stage here, and hot on the menu at the moment is the Lui Sun IPA ($67 for 330ml), a mangoey beer with an easy bitterness, thanks to a new type of German hop. For a more hardcore palate, the Hel & Verdoemenis (“hell and damnation”) Imperial Stout by De Molen brewery in the Netherlands, is served at 14-16 degrees, warmer than the usual 3-6 degrees to let more of those heavy malt and bitter flavors out. At 11-13 degrees, you get the “real ales,” drawn with a hand pump that allows oxidation into the beer as it’s served. The Young Master Bitter Oak ($60 for 330ml) is one such ale, earthy with a sweet toffee note. For something really out of the ordinary, try the Boon Oude Lambiek ($87 for 330ml)—a “lambic-style” Belgian beer in which wild yeast and bacteria offer a unique tartness, before being barrel-aged to mellow it out. This particular one’s been aged two years, giving it a great fizz and a slight savory tartness. If you’re more of a spirits person, Second Draft also has your back with a list of boilermakers—liquors paired with select beers. The Old Kraken ($120) is a wonderful way to cap off a heavy meal: Kraken dark spiced rum with North Coast Old Rasputin stout, a chocolatey brew that’s poured from a nitro tap to infuse it with extra creaminess.
Why you’ll be back: Whether you’re already a beer geek or just a beginner, you’ll come here to dig deep into the world of craft beer knowledge— and leave impressed. And while you’re at it, a food menu designed by May Chow of Little Bao will give you enough fusion fuel to drink through the night.
Cheers! Evelyn Lok G/F, 98 Tung Lo Wan Rd., Tai Hang, 2656-0232.