These quirky, hole-in-the-wall spots are more than just your average neighborhood bars. They bring together a very diverse community of locals and expats, offering affordable, creative tipples (and music to dance to at the weekend). I’m sure I can speak for many of us when I say say I’ve been to both bars many a time for a night out.
With The Pontiac remaining on The World’s 50 Best Discovery list, this American-style laid-back and grungy (in all the right ways) bar presents a fixed list of cocktails with rotating signatures and a food menu consisting of chilli dogs ($45–75). Yum!
The Comeback Kid ($88) is one of my favourites at The Pontiac. A mix of rye whisky, rich ginger syrup, Wray & Nephew rum, cardamom-infused grapefruit syrup, cumin tincture, lime and nutmeg was brought to us ice cold with lots of shaved us. A holiday in a glass, this drink is smooth, light and filled with earthy spices, warming the palate.
Bad Dream Mama
Ponty margarita ($108)
For stronger cocktails, Bad Dream Mama ($88) and the Ponty mrgarita ($108) are two others that offer an American twist. With Bad Dream Mama, cacao-caramel reposado tequila is created in-house and then fat-washed, providing a lingering scent of caramel on the nose. Combined with orange bitters and absinthe, the drink is also perfumed with lemon and orange oils, adding a dynamic edge. This cocktail reminds me of a Tootsie Roll – it starts off slightly sweet but ends with a dark, clean and subtly bitter taste.
The Pony margarita is a must-try if you love tequila. As a rotating house margarita, this cocktail incorporates different agave distillates, this time focusing on La Venenosa raicilla, a mescal from Jalisco. Fruity and punchy, this margarita heightened our taste buds with a long-lasting, smoky ending featuring savoury chilli salt.
At Rummin’ Tings, Jacob Shteyntsayg, a renowned bartender in the industry, has been welcomed to the team as the newest group bar manager for 8creATEive (which also includes Amalfitana and Fratelli at The Pulse). Jacob brings us the warmth and flavours of the Caribbean tropics, incorporating an array of fresh fruits and a contemporary aesthetic.
Jean La Passion ($110) was memorable, with a base of passion fruit cordial shaken with mescal, Plantation white rum and maraschino liqueur. Smoky and bursting with citrus, the drink is punchy as it hits your taste buds and come with a flaming piece of passion fruit.
For something on the lighter side and providing a twist on the classic cosmo, Bony’s Jamaica ($80) is bubblegum pink and garnished with baby’s breath. Svedka vodka is combined with hibiscus cordial and grapefruit juice, along with triple sec, soda and plum bitters. Simply refreshing! I love the colour of the drink and its slight fizz.
Who doesn’t love an edible garnish? If you have a sweet tooth, William Kid Toffee ($110) is what I’d recommend at Rummin’ Tings. This tipple has a nutty flavour profile. Orange juice is added to Flor de Caña rum, Talisker single-malt whisky and toffee syrup. Edible “vegan bacon”, which is simply a thin, crisp piece of toffee, comes on the side, but beware – it’s going to get stuck in your teeth!
The Pontiac and Rummin’ Tings are getting a head start on 2020, and I am a firm believer that their new cocktails will have you coming back all year long. Rummin’ Tings brings us tropical flavours, while The Pontiac offers some exciting new libations, which include rotating house cocktails containing new liquors from around the world. Congratulations to both of these long-standing bars!
The Pontiac: 13 Old Bailey Street, SoHo, Central, 2521 3855
Rummin’ Tings: 28 Hollywood Road, SoHo, Central, 2523 7070
This write-up is based on complimentary media tastings provided in exchange for an honest review and no monetary compensation. The opinions expressed here represent the author’s.
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