Hong Kong has a lot going on. There is the craziness of Soho with questionable two-for-one drinks offers and very late licenses. There’s some huge operators – like Jason Atherton’s Social Group or the excellent Potato Head freshly over from Indonesia and there’s imminently about to be a Soho House – which will be marvellous without a doubt.
But amongst all of this, there’s also some real hidden gems that need either tenacity, patience or some old fashioned insider information to find the entrance, secure a seat at the bar and enjoy some excellent drinks.
This city is truly wonderful, and always surprising – but here’s just a starting point of some of the places you should check out next time you’re in town.
The Old Man
The Old Man was recently voted tenth best bar in the world on the 50 Best Bars list. No mean feat. There’s some great bars out there. The Old Man is small but perfectly formed and the bar set up is something to behold (if you’re that way inclined) as all drinks are made from a single station right in the centre of the room. Named after the patron saint of all great drinkers – Ernest Hemingway – the cocktails and their base ingredients are all inspired by his words, novels and his well-documented drinks tastes. The Old Man is a proper speakeasy – it’s reassuringly difficult to find and will almost certainly require a wait in the street for one of the hallowed seats – but it’s worth it. Promise.
Quinary opened back in 2012 by dynamo drinks dude Antonio Lai. Definitely one of the first of it’s kind to open in Hong Kong, this dark, sleek speakeasy style bar offers much more than just the classics. There’s science but also oodles of fun on this list with foams and airs and caviars aplenty so this is definitely the place to be adventurous and take a recommendation from the staff. If you’re in a big group, there’s one space at the front available to book – but otherwise this is perfect for a date night or a catch up over cocktails.
PDT at The Mandarin Landmark
PDT – or Please Don’t Tell – first opened in New York right back in 2007 hidden behind the infamous pay phone in the corner of Crif Dogs. Since then it’s won more industry awards than you can shake a stick at and has now gone global – hidden behind an equally discreet door within the Mandarin Landmark hotel. Some of the taxidermy has taken the trip across seas too as has the delicious cocktail list. There’s very few tables but you can call to make a reservation to ensure your seat is waiting for you.
Popinjay at The Murray Hotel
There has to be one rooftop in a Hong Kong bar list. Sevva is an obvious choice because it’s just so high but Popinjay’s has glorious city views and certainly knows how to show it off. Accessed by private elevator, the bar wraps around the restaurant and with the warm light seeping out onto the terrace – this is a perfect spot to watch the sunset with a bottle of champagne before a big night out in Hong Kong. Glamorous.
Room 309 at The Pottinger Hotel
Room 309 doesn’t technically exist within The Pottinger Hotel so you either need to ask for the ‘key’ at reception or play your cards right with the bar staff at The Envoy – the rooftop bar within the same hotel that is open to all. This is yet another bar from Hong Kong’s hot stuff Antonio Lai and the idea of secrecy runs throughout – not only is the entrance hidden but the drinks on offer are all crystal clear – regardless of ingredients – so there’s no preconception of their taste. There’s only 22 seats so once you’re in – get settled and enjoy some of these fantastical cocktails.