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Nocturne

一支讓人放輕鬆的夜曲

There are plenty of reasons to drink whisky in the bar. It could be when you need a place to house a big group of friends, or you’re attracted by a rare collection or eye-catching decoration, or you simply want to get “likes” in social media. Nocturne, a shop like its name, offer a tranquillizing spot right in the center of the city.

It only takes a short walk uphill from Peel street in Central, but you probably have missed the door. The bars entrance has neither an attractive façade, nor drinking people crowding around bar tables – only a concrete call, a narrow window, and a door that has a deliberate low-profile design. “this is how a typical Japanese bar looks. In Tokyo there’re many such bars that are ‘hidden’ in commercial buildings. The concrete walls and heavy wooden doors mean the bar is isolated from the outside world. Japanese people are so hardworking at work, so we hope once customers get in, they do not have to think about what’s outside,” said Carlos Wong, who manages Nocturne.

In addition to Japanese-style decoration, there are also Japanese bartenders-in-residence. Among the 300 whiskies, there are as many as 80 comes from Japan. Although it is a Japanese style bar, Carlos pointed out that the reason for a large collection of Japanese whisky, is purely a market driven choice. “There are some Japanese customers, but the number of French and South Asian customers is not small. In recent years the market is looking at Japanese whisky, so there is no need to introduce the whisky and the customers would order themselves. But for the Scotch, more effort is needed to introduce and explain. Moreover, Japanese whisky is easy drinking. It is a big advantage.”

Drinks at Nocturne are of good value, Carlos said. Every glass of whisky measures 40mL, compared to 30mL normally offered elsewhere. He also suggests that more expensive drams are even greater bargains – what does it mean? “A 700 mL bottle of whisky can fill 17 glasses, and prices are set such that we make a flat profit HK$100 for every glass, no matter the price of the whiskies are. This is unlike many of the industry. It is a real bargain to enjoy a rare whisky here.” Whether to order a glass of Yoichi with no age statement (HK$140), or a glass of Yamazaki Bourbon Barrel 2011 (HK$600) is pretty much an obvious choice.

 

 

去酒吧飲威士忌有很多原因,可以是一大班朋­­­­­­­­­­­­友找個地方聚腳,可以是為了最吸引眼球的布置和罕有酒款,在社交網站呃like。而店如其名的Nocturne,即使位處鬧市中央,也能讓人感覺到夜涼如水的安靜感,是一個可以讓人放鬆地思考和休息的好地方。

自中環沿著卑利街往上走,理論上很快就走到,但你很容易就會錯過酒吧的門口。因為這門口既沒有亮麗的門面,也沒有人聚集在門口的高腳枱飲酒聊天,有的只是一幅水泥牆,窄窄的一道玻璃窗,和一扇刻意低調的大門。「這是日式酒吧的典型風格,在東京有很多這種酒吧隱藏在大廈裡。門外的水泥牆和厚重的大木門寓意酒吧與外界隔絕,日本人工作特別繁忙,所以希望客人可以在進了酒吧的門以後,就不要再想外面的事。」酒吧負責人Carlos Wong解釋說。

 

除了日式的裝修,這裡更有駐場的日本人bartender,而在店裡的約300款威士忌中,日本威士忌更佔有80款,比例特別高。不過Carlos指出,日本威士忌特別多,並不因為要把這兒裡裡外外地打造成一家日本酒吧,而是純粹市場導向,「這裡的確有日本客人,不過法國客以至南亞裔的客人也不少。但一來近年市場都在看日本威士忌,所以根本不用推銷客人都會點,反而蘇格蘭威士忌更需要推銷。另外日本威士忌其實也有較易入口的優點。」

 

對Carlos來說,Nocturne的最大賣點是抵飲!原來這裡每杯威士忌大約會斟40 毫升,而據他所說,大部份酒吧每杯威士忌只會斟約30毫升。另外,他更強調這裡的威士忌越貴越抵飲。這又是甚麼意思呢?「以40毫升計,一支700毫升的威士忌可分成17杯,我們固定每杯只賺100元。很少有行家這樣計數。所以在這裡飲高階威士忌特別抵。」來到這裡到底要喝無年份的余市($140),還是山崎Bourbon Barrel 2011($600),就是你自己的選擇了。