Updated: Oct 23, 2019
Most of my friends know I'm not typically a cocktail person, but for the nights I'd like my alcohol *not* downed from a shot glass (only semi-joking), I've compiled a list of my top 5 favourite go-to's in the city. Some new, some old, but all equally solid options for a fun boozy evening out in Hong Kong.
1. Wahtiki Cocktail Lounge
Go for... Pretty, fruity and hella potent Tiki cocktails made with age-old recipes. I loved the chilled out atmosphere that made it easy to converse with friends without having to scream over loud music.
Stay for... The most incredible homemade golden fish skins in town. According to the owner, he once had the best fish skins he'd ever had in an unassuming local restaurant in TST. His passion for the skins was so strong he actually got the chef there to train his chef at Wahtiki to create the fish skins just like that. The result - warm, golden and crunchy skins coated with an addicting layer of fresh-salted egg yolk. Irvin's has got nothing on these.
Tel: 2793 0308
Address: 3/F Seabird House , 22-28 Wyndham Street , Central, Hong Kong
2. Room 309 *opened August 2018
Go for... The speakeasy concept of a hidden "hotel room" bar accessible via a key card, nestled within The Envoy in The Pottinger Hotel. Also, it's a new venture by Antonio Lai, who is well known for pioneering multi-sensory molecular mixology.
Stay for... The "Invisible Menu", which houses a collection of super cool cocktails that create fresh perspectives on classics like the Old Fashioned and Negroni. All the cocktails are made clear or "invisible" so the drinker can appreciate the various flavours, aromas and textures without being distracted by colours. Non-alcoholic options also available.
Tel (The Envoy): 2169 3311 - no reservations Address: 3/F The Pottinger Hong Kong, 74 Queen's Road Central, Central
Go for... The only authentic Oaxacan-inspired bar stocking the largest collection of mezcal and agave spirits in Hong Kong. It's led by long-time bar veteran Jay Khan, whose mixology skill, precision and creativity impresses me every time I go.
Stay for... The homemade Tepache, bottled in-house by COA. Tepache is actually a Mexican fermented street drink commonly made from the peel and rind of pineapple, and COA's version is my absolute favourite drink in HK. Another one I love here is the light and refreshing Mezcal Paloma, which infuses Montelobos mezcal, tequila, cabeza, grapefruit soda, lime and sal de gusano AKA salt made out of actual worms.
Tel: 2813 5787
Address: Shop A, LG/F Wah Shin House, 6-10 Shin Hing Street, Central, Hong Kong
4. Frank's Library *opened July 2018
Go for... The city's very first speakeasy-within-a-speakeasy concept -- yes it's gone that far and I love it. Enter through Foxglove, the retro jazz bar disguised as a bespoke umbrella shop, and press the right floor number on the fake elevator pad (near the bathrooms) to enter.
Stay for... The tea cocktails. A distinct characteristic of this bar is how it manages to combine classy and homey in one - with a real feeling of drinking in a chic secret study. Try the Catch of TEA (a mix of Teeling small-batch whiskey, Tieguanyin tea syrup, citrus acid and chocolate bitters with dehydrated lemon and tea ice block) or the Mad Tea-Party, an excellent combination of Johnnie Walker Black Label, fresh apple juice, cold brew earl grey tea, caramel syrup and caramelized apple.
Tel (Foxglove): 2116 8949 - no reservations
Address: Foxglove, 18 Ice House St, Central
5. M Bar at Mandarin Oriental Hong Kong
Go for... The Pinot Noir - my recent favourite red wine by the glass in Hong Kong.
Stay for... That highly underrated sense of privacy and relaxation in the heart of the city, coupled with fine service and top-notch drinks. Perfect for grabbing a drink before or after dinner.
Tel: 2825 4002
Address: 25/F Mandarin Oriental Hong Kong, 5 Connaught Rd Central, Central
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