The Savory Project
Jay Khan and Ajit Gurung, masterminds behind COA, have teamed up once again for a riveting bar concept that spotlights the endless possibilities of savoury cocktails. Drinks at The Savory Project are layered and adventurous, with founders Jay and Ajit taking on a culinary approach to crafting recipes that feel at once familiar and unprecedented. Divided into three ever-evolving categories, the menu features a selection of signature cocktails, reinventions on classics, and a full range of non-alcoholic beverages that are just as complex as their alcoholic counterparts. Unpack the various flavours of a Thai beef salad with their liquified milk punch-style take on the dish, or sip on a refreshing glass of their Gari Gari, a blend of Japanese pickled ginger or gari-infused whiskey, passionfruit, ponzu, and soda water. With interiors specially designed to promote interaction, guests can take a seat at their custom hexagonally shaped bar for an enlightening conversation with The Savory Project’s team of bartenders.
4 Staunton Street, Soho, Central; @thesavoryproject_
The Green Door
Talk about hidden gems. Aptly named for its unassuming location amidst a bustling wet market, The Green Door is the brainchild of mixologist Arlene Wong, formerly of Awa-Awa, and Dabi Chin from OBP. With cavernous interiors reminiscent of an underground cistern, this chic New York-style speakeasy offers an intimate space to enjoy a refreshing selection of cocktails such as the tropical Julia, made with Batanga tequila, Amaro Lucano, apple brandy, and passionfruit, or the inventive Dominicana, a combination of chilled Plantation 3 stars rum and cold brew topped with a mint Hokkaido cream and shavings of dark chocolate. The Green Door also boasts a delectable range of dishes courtesy of chef Gavin Chin, who previously helmed the kitchen at Brut. Snack on classics like fish fries and prawn cutlets, or opt for heartier plates of ribeye steak with scallion butter, wasabi cured threadfin with bisque butter and citrus, or a winning slice of what may be the city’s best apple pie. The Green Door takes walk-ins only, however those looking to sink their teeth into some food will need to make reservations via the bar’s Instagram.
LG/F, Welley Building, 97 Wellington Street, Central; @thegreendoor.bar
Get a taste of the city’s largest agave spirits collection at COA, Asia’s certified Best Bar for the past three consecutive years. Mixologist Jay Khan is the mind behind the mezcal and tequila-focused cocktail menu, which is split into two sections: house fermented, and signatures. We’re partial to the Horchata de Pistachio, which mixes tequila blanco, rice, pistachio orgeat, whey and lemon, and is finished with a sprinkling of sweet potato dust and a pistachio biscuit. Otherwise, a selection of more obscure Mexican spirits such as raicilla, tuxca, bacanora, sotol and charanda are also on offer those who know their way around Mesoamerica.
Shop A, LG/F, Wah Shin House, 6-10 Shin Hing St, Central; 2813 5787, coa.com.hk
No.9 on Asia’s 50 Best Bars of 2023, Rosewood Hong Kong’s hotel bar The DarkSide makes a worthy case for the city’s most Instagram-worthy bar thanks to harbour views, a sultry interior decked out in plush armchairs and bronze window casings, as well as a show-stopping ceiling installation comprised of rotating hourglasses from Murano, Italy. The drinks convey the same indulgent spirit, with the house negroni being a contender for best in the city. Rare and dark spirits are the focus here – vintage cognac is served straight from the cask, while rum, whisky and Normandy calvados from the early 19th century are also available. Settle back with a glass in one hand and cigar in the other to absorb the live jazz performances for one of the best bar experiences in town.
Rosewood Hong Kong, Victoria Dockside, 18 Salisbury Rd, Tsim Sha Tsui; 3891 8732, rosewoodhotels.com
It seems that since their marriage in 2020, award-winning bartenders Beckaly Franks (of The Pontiac) and Ezra Star have been destined to make waves in Hong Kong’s bar scene, starting with Mostly Harmless. Tucked away in Sai Ying Pun, this omakase cocktail bar and now No.33 on Asia’s 50 Best Bars list makes the most of local produce, resulting in a constantly revolving drinks selection. Take their celebratory Chinese New Year cocktail from last year, a sour that explores the beloved chestnut through a concoction of gin, vermouth, peaches and bitters made from chestnut shells itself. Currently, Mostly Harmless is working on a host of new cocktails made with a freshly-picked batch of figs.
2/F, 110 Queen’s Road West, Sai Ying Pun; @mostlyharmlessbar
The Mixing Room
Award-winning Australian designer Ashley Sutton adds a new chapter to his Iron Fairies trilogy with The Mixing Room. Taking a page from the recipe of ore-born fairies, the new bar venue is rife with mythical lore. Rugged brick-textured walls, dark timber countertops, and a low ceiling that bears thousands of vintage bottles come together in a show of woodland sophistication. The cocktails too, are essential to the narrative. Helmed by industry veteran Tom Egerton, the cocktail program features drinks inspired by the playful characters of Sutton’s enchanting fairy tale. The Golden Fairy honours the classic margarita with a combination of tequila, mezcal, and house-made sage syrup, while Raine in the Gumtree reinvents an Old-Fashioned with a fish sauce-infused caramel.
1-13 Ezra’s Lane, Central; @themixingroomhk
Bianco & Rosso
Bianco & Rosso, a self-proclaimed house of vermouth, is the brainchild of mixologist Luca Andrei and Chef Ban Jee Min. Inspired by the humble roadside bodegas and hole-in-the-wall bistros synonymous with Italian, French and Spanish towns, LC Studios (also behind Tell Camellia and The Daily Tot’s interiors) are responsible for the gastropub’s modern take on Roman architecture. Unquestionably, Bianco & Rosso is a nod to the two distinct categories of vermouth: white and red. The dry and floral notes of the white wine finds its way into the likes of a Lychee & Co, blended with Jamaican milk punch and lychee foam; while the sweeter, slightly bitter notes of red wine are stirred with rum, honey and yuzu to form the Frappe Di Torino. Chef Ban Jee Min’s menu is designed to bring the best of seasonal ingredients, as well as perfect pairings to the vermouth. Highlights include the beef tartare with gaufrette chips, as well as the salt-baked sea bass and the signature vanilla cheesecake.
29 Gough St, Central; biancoandrosso.com
The Social Den
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The Social Den presents a modern take on the tiki bar with its polished copper gold decor, glossy teal marble countertops and plush tangerine barstools— a touch of tropical luxury. Founded by Filipino mixologists Joe Villaneuva and Bryson Rivera, the tropical drinkery is on a quest to encapsulate the flavours of the Polynésie Française with an added touch of Chinoiserie. Cocktails like La Orana (named after Polynesian greeting) play up the flavours of a juicy papaya with a kick of habanera sea salt, while the signature Jackfruit cocktail fuses yuzu baijiu with the native Southeast Asian fruit. The Social Den’s creativity further extends to their food, where Cantonese-Polynesian inspired bites, such as the zucchini tempura with salted egg aioli, are crafted up to delicious perfection.
9/F The Loop, 33 Wellington St, Central; @thesocialden.hk
From Tell Camellia to The Wise King, Sandeep Hathiramani brings us Thirsty Shaker. Created in collaboration with Himson Lam and located in the heart of Soho, this bar and cocktail lounge enjoys a spacious outdoor terrace overlooking the bustling streets of Central, where one can kick back with drinks and shisha. Thirsty Shaker’s drinks menu arrives in the form of two key concepts— revived cocktails and punch bowls meant for sharing. Gather around a bowl of Bombay Royal Punch, a refreshing mixture of oleo-saccharum, gin, fresh fruit juices, kaffir lime leaf and rose firewater tincture, or reminisce on the past with a Double or Nothing, a cocktail that adds a mascarpone cheese foam twist to a quintessential Hong Kong classic, the Nothing.
3/F Hilltop Plaza, 49 Hollywood Road, Soho, Central; @thirsty.shaker
Brought to you by Pirata group, Tempo Tempo is an embodiment of the vibrant Mediterranean summers we often dream about. With a vast sunlit terrace, decorated with verdant lemon trees, rattan chairs and beachy parasols, it’s a picturesque destination ideal for al-fresco dining and drinking. The drinks program designed by Frankie Fong features photo-ready cocktails like the peachy Mermaid Punch, which arrives in an Instagrammable vessel resembling a conch shell, as well as simply refreshing tipples like the Italian 75, which is a mixture of Italian wine, gin, champagne, citrus, bergamot and honey.
2/F, Oxford House, Taikoo Place, 979 King’s Road, Quarry Bay; tempotempo.hk
Kyle & Bain
Perched on the mezzanine level of European restaurant Margo, Kyle & Bain is a gastropub haven for all martini lovers. With a mission to immerse its guests in an alcoholic odyssey, Kyle & Bain pays homage to timeless classics with a new world approach. Receive your introduction to a real American Martini with their signature K&B Martini, and get familiar with their expert flair through a glass of woodsy Gimlet. Dive further into cocktail history with throwback concoctions such as the tropical Jungle Bird, made new with the briny addition of blackstrap molasses, or the elevated Lemon Drop of sake, pisco, agricole and citrus. As for the bites, courtesy of Margo’s head chef Mario Paecke, Kyle & Bain turn to Germany for inspiration: served with a side of roast potatoes the Currywurst pairs a bratwurst with Mario’s special curry ketchup, while the Waldorf Tart features Hokkaido Scallop and Kaviari Kristal caviar alongside some green apple.
Shop 7, G/F, The Galleria, 9 Queen’s Road Central; kyleandbain.com
A trip to the 25th floor of the Mandarin Oriental brings you to The Aubrey, a contemporary Japanese izakaya that ranks 17th place on Asia’s 50 Best Bars for seasonal libations as exquisite as the food. Hotel Beverage Manager Devender Sehgal, brings forth a profoundly Japanese experience with The Aubrey’s current signature drinks menu. Featuring Iki shochu, an earthy liquor native to Iki island, the Two Row Barley cocktail marries the barley-based spirit with Scotch whiskey and a touch of herbal zest, while the Rokku, also crafted with shochu,packs a bright punch with shiso and pineapple. While these are among the highlights of the Main bar, the champagne and sake bar is perfect for simpler pleasures.
25/F, Mandarin Oriental, 5 Connaught Road Central; @theaubreyhk
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Inclusivity, culture and cocktails— the golden self-appointed trio to define this grungy New York-style dive bar. The Pontiac is a breath of fresh air amidst Hong Kong’s high-end bar scene. Helmed by Beckaly Franks, formerly of Portland’s renowned Clyde Common, it’s the place to be for boisterous late-night fun; think trivia nights, rock n’ roll anthems and lots and lots of shots. From an almost all-female team led by bar manager Jen Queen, the drinks here vary from classic tipples to some pretty wacky slushies (there’s a fruity iteration topped with pop rocks). A special mention is needed however, for the Hobnail made with scotch, house-made ginger syrup, bitters, Amaro averna and orange oil aka the cocktail to try at The Pontiac.
13 Old Bailey St, Central; @wearethepontiac
Four Seasons Hong Kong is home to this year’s No.8 on Asia’s 50 Best Bars, Argo, an exciting bar concept directed by beverage manager Federico Balzarini and supported by head bartender Yvonne Chan. The intriguing cocktail menu is titled ‘Here Today, Gone Tomorrow’, highlighting six key ingredients – coffee honey, rice, cacao, vanilla and apple – with each one giving rise to two cocktails, one traditional, and one reinvented. The bar also carries a wealth of liquors from around the world, under the ‘Field Guide to the World’s Innovative Spirits’, spotlighting innovative creations with intriguing origin stories, including Argo’s very own gin, crafted in collaboration with Never Never Distilling Co.
Argo, G/F, Four Seasons Hotel Hong Kong, 8 Finance Street, Central; fourseasons.com
The Last Resort
The Last Resort is a no-frills dive bar that offers a pared-back and straightforward menu aiming to transport the guest to simpler times. Executive Chef Jowett Yu of Ho Lee Fook and Le Garçon Saigon helms the kitchen, dishing out a delectable array of eats including his famed fried chicken made with a top-secret blend of spices, whilst the drinks are classic and simple yet expertly executed – and all at an affordable price-point. The retro aesthetics bring forth sentiments of nostalgia whilst classic tunes add to the warm and lively atmosphere.
52B Peel Street, SoHo; thelastresort.com.hk
Avenue 75 Bar and Eatery
Avenue 75 Bar and Eatery is part of a growing subset of chic bars and cafés in the bustling Tsim Sha Tsui neighbourhood. The brainchild of Shane Siu, the cocktail bar perfectly merges Shane’s love for art and mixology, offering a host of beautifully-crafted cocktails and food. Eight art-inspired cocktails were created by Shane, with each drink paying homage to an iconic artwork: “Banana Ground,” which was inspired by Andy Warhol’s The Velvet Underground and Nico, sees a thick foam of fermented banana, honey, milk and almond laid on top of a mixture of dark rum, bourbon whiskey and Frangelico. The food is equally creative, with a tapas selection including avocado fries with pina colada dip, and grilled fillet of mackerel with creamy passion fruit sauce.
Shop 36-41, G/F, South Seas Centre, 75 Mody Road, Tsim Sha Tsui, Kowloon; facebook.com/avenue75.bar.eatery
The Daily Tot
This Cuban-inspired bar is named after the 300-year-old navy tradition of handing out rum ration ‘the daily tot’ to royal navy sailors between 1850 and the 1970s. The menu features 12 signature rum-based cocktails, as well as a vast collection of rums from independent distilleries around the world. Located in Felicity Building on Hollywood Road, the space itself is huge, with a terrace, long bar, low-lounge seating and tropical decor that brings the outside in.
Shop E, LG/F, Felicity Building, 58 Hollywood Road, Central; thedailytot.com
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From award-winning bartender Gagan Garung comes this millennial-friendly haven of tea-based cocktails in H Code. Interiors are retro-inspired with a modern twist, lots of curved edges, bottle-green tiled walls, and velvet diner stools. But it’s the ‘teatails’ that stand out: all named after the origin of the tea blend used in each drink, there’s everything from Australia to Nepal, and Japan. Ingredients are unusual, featuring the likes of blue cheese, seaweed and plankton sprinkle and orange-fleshed sweet potato (not in one drink), although flavour combinations always seem to work. Our favourite was the Brazil, which had a nice kick of spice that balanced the acai berries, yuzu and coriander with its mezcal and cachaca base. For something a little more straight forward, Tell Camellia’s T & Tonic blends tea with gin and is then redistilled, served with a vibrant leaf in the colour of the ingredients of the clarified drink.
LG/F, H Code, 45 Pottinger Street, Central; @tellcamellia
A regular fixture on Asia’s 50 Best Bars, and this year nabbing 10th spot, Quinary is an old hand when it comes to the city’s cocktail bar scene, having opened way back in 2012 and establishing founder Antonio Lai as a pioneer in local mixology. Since then, it has been the driving force behind many a cocktail trend – the signature Earl Grey Caviar Martini, made with Cointreau, citrus vodka, elderflower syrup and finished with caviar and Earl Grey “air”, spawned many an imposter, although it remains best-in-class to this day. The cocktail menu is one of the most extensive in town, with over 40 concoctions available to order. The bar frequently partners with other brands to explore new forms of expression within the world of cocktails: for the month of August, Lai’s protegé Shelley Tai is due to whip up the original Paint The Sky cocktail in collaboration with Hennessy V.S.O.P.
56-58 Hollywood Rd, Central; 2851 3223, quinary.hk
Having recently welcomed Lorenzo Antinori (who previously led Four Seasons Seoul hotel bar Charles H. to a spot on Asia’s 50 Best Bars) as its Beverage Ambassador, Caprice Bar – adjacent to the three-Michelin-starred Caprice of Four Seasons Hong Kong – has debuted a streamlined, seasonal cocktail menu to better match the culinary offerings of its sister establishment. Currently, the menu dedicates a cocktail each to select regions of France, highlights of which include the Fig Leaf Gimlet, blending Citadelle Reserve gin with fig leaf-infused gin and cordial in an ode to Provence; as well as the Saffron Manhattan, which serves a mix of Michter’s Rye, Calvados, vermouths, saffron and toasted coconut in a wax-coated glass in a dedication to balmy Occitanie. Complement with a selection of decadent bar snacks, including black truffle croque monsieurs and imported French cheeses.
6/F, Four Seasons Hong Kong, 8 Finance St, Central; 3196 8888, fourseasons.com
Hidden away in The Pottinger hotel, mixologist Antonio Lai’s Room 309 is an intriguing proposition. Visitors must first request a keycard from the adjoining cocktail bar The Envoy, before checking themselves into this narrow speakeasy. Once sat at the bar, patrons are treated to a veritable magic show of mixology in the unique signature menu of ‘invisible’ cocktails, which seem colourless but in fact pack a punch. We’re partial to the Crystal Old Fashioned, which incorporates re-distilled peanut butter bourbon, wood chips bitters and banana concentrate, although those looking for more traditional concoctions will find that in the Classics section of the menu.
Shop 309, 3/F, The Pottinger, 74 Queen’s Rd Central, Central; room309.hk
Who said cocktails can’t be served just like a beer? That was the question mixologist Antonio Lai asked when he partnered with Taiwan’s Angus Zou to bring the latter’s concept of “cocktails on tap” to Hong Kong for the first time. The cocktails pre-mixed and stored in vats, injected with nitrogen or carbon dioxide, and dispensed at the pull of a lever and served sans flourish with the utmost efficiency. Among the two dozen cocktails on offer, the best are the Oolong Tea Collins and the Rum Stout, while low and non-alcoholic options are on offer too – Antonio doesn’t see the mocktail as a compromise, but in the right hands can be equally complex as a real cocktail.
63 Wyndham St, Central; 2711 8809
The revamped Eaton Hotel is an island of cool in the rough-around-the-edges Kowloon neighbourhood of Jordan, and Terrible Baby is the beach upon which the hipsters who frequent it congregate. The outdoor bar patio is one of the largest in Hong Kong, although the numerous planters, quirky sculptures and plush garden seating carve out plenty of intimate spaces to imbibe in. The indoor bar is even more indulgent, thanks to chic mid-century-inspired interior design and furniture pieces that resemble a ’70s-era gentlemen’s club. The coup de résistance can be found in the soaring glass atrium, where exposed elevators shoot up and down the hotel facade. The cocktail menu does not disappoint either, our recommendations being the reinvented negroni Thyme For Buko and their Lassi for Adults, a creamy, tropical blend of chai-infused dark rum, mango puree, and lime leaves. Showcased in the bar’s Music Room, a robust music programme featuring underground acts locally and from abroad gives many reasons for a return visit.
4/F, Eaton HK, 380 Nathan Rd, Jordan; 2710 1866, terriblebaby.com
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The cocktail bar of Island Shangri-La’s Lobster Bar and Grill is a perennially classy place to see and be seen. The bartenders flex their creativity in a menu that is broken down into past, present and future-themed sections, as well as classics, purifications, an in-house beer brewed by Young Master, and extensive liquor offerings. Come for their magical Daydreamer – a mix of London Dry Gin, orgeat syrup, lime juice, Maraschino, and pasteurised egg whites – and stay for the live jazz music and people-watching.
6/F, Island Shangri-La, Supreme Court Rd, Admiralty; 2820 8560, shangri-la.com
EditorVogue Hong Kong
CreditLead image: Samantha Sin for Vogue