The Kingsbury Hotel has reinvented their old pool area into a chic, sprawling pool bar and lounge. With a lovely al fresco setting, dancey vibes and a big new menu, it's a pretty good call for a weekend tipple.
I haven't always loved the drinks at the Kingsbury, but it feels like they've really made an effort with some of their new menu entrants like the Honey's Flower Crush and the Honey Beach Crush. The best part is that they've got a daily happy hour from 5:30 -7:30 PM and a bunch of weekly offers that rotate from beer, mojitos, and more.
I started off with the Honey Beach Crush (Rs. 990), an easily-drunk concoction of local rum, pineapple, brown sugar, lime, and basil leaves. At 50% off, this ended up super reasonable.
I also ordered a Mango Daiquiri (also at Rs. 990) and a Coconut Arrack Punch (Rs. 900). The punch (pictured above on the left) was pretty simple - arrack, lime, pineapple and passion came together for a straightforward but yum drink. It wasn't exciting in terms of presentation, but the flavours worked well together. The first daiquiri the bar brought out was amazing - basically just alcoholic fresh pureed mango. The second one we got, however, was made out of cordial and tasted synthetic. We were confused by the sudden change in quality in the preparation of the exact same drink!
The Honey's Flower Crush was lovely both in presentation and taste. A fresh, fragrant mix of elderflower, gin, and cointreau, at Rs. 990 this came complete with fresh flower petals. Overall, most of the drinks we tried were superb and well worth it, barring the Strawberry Margarita which tasted almost exactly like salty cough syrup.
Despite being a pool bar, their food menu is pretty vast with everything from snacks to full-fledged meals like seafood platters (Rs. 4000), rice and curry (Rs. 1250) and a few pasta options (around Rs. 1500).
We opened with a crispy little bowl of Salt and Pepper Baby Calamari with Aioli Dip at Rs. 650. Despite being a small bowl, the portion was actually enough for two people to snack on. The calamari itself was perfectly prepared and crisp, and there were enough chilli flakes heaped onto the dish to make a grown man cry. I'd recommend it.
Their brand new pizza menu is pretty interesting (and also available for delivery), so we tried the Tuscan Pesto Chicken and Bacon (Rs. 1800), complete with oven roasted chicken, pesto pizza sauce, bacon, button mushrooms, roma tomatoes, and the usual suspects like onion, garlic, parmesan and herbs.
I actually loved this pizza, and the toppings were fresh, high quality, and came together really well. For someone who likes very thin Italian pizza bases, this was a smidgen too thick for me, but the rest of the table found it perfect. If you're fancier than I am, you can opt for upscale pizzas like the Salmon & Avocado, the Porknado (exactly what it sounds like), or the Fiery Chili Coconut Chicken.
The ambience is great. The poolside's always been a pretty space, but they've jazzed it up with some sleek lighting, group seating (no couples seating as far as I could see), a big open-bulb HONEY sign reminiscent of their partner bar at W15 Weligama, and a DJ booth. The music was a little too loud and clubby for me on a Thursday early evening, but I can see it being a perfect weekend vibe. Even on a weekday evening, the crowd was buzzing and I'm sure people would have started breaking it down to some Bieber if I'd stuck around for much longer.
The service was a bit inconsistent, with the quality of both our drinks and service changing dependent on who waited on us. Most of the waitstaff were efficient and polite, but a couple just seemed arrogant (one spoke to a randomly-selected member of our table only in Sinhala, insisted he hadn't gotten orders wrong when he had, and was dismissive in general). We really hope the management gets all the staff on the same page about how to treat guests, because the rest of the waiters were great.
The Honey Beach Club is kind of the Honey Port City Construction Site Club for the time being, but we can't deny that the ambience is lovely and totally unique in Colombo. It almost felt like a swanky pool club in Miami or Bali. Apparently, guests can also use the pool while there, which gives Honey that perfect sexy pool party vibe the city needs. We highly recommend their happy hours, their pizzas, and a dip in the pool!