GBA Lifestyle News
By Joseph Lam | October 4th, 2016

Hong Kong has really grown into its own in the whisky department — whether you take yours with a couple of rocks or a few drops of bitters, Hong Kong’s coolest whisky bars have you covered.

Tiffany’s New York Bar

In-house cask self-blended whiskies
Tiffany’s signature cask whiskey. Photo: TIffany’s New York Bar.

This whisky bar at the Intercontinental Grand Stanford looks like something straight out of “Mad Men”, with its leather booths, dark wooden tables, vintage paintings and dim lighting. The bar won a bronze award for best whisky bar in Hong Kong and it continues to set itself apart from the rest, with its own signature cask whisky in six varieties. Since April last year, Tiffany’s has been marinating wooden casks with different alcohols like port and sherry to give the whiskies special finishes. The menu here includes an Irish double barrel finish ($128), a Speyside shiraz finish ($138) and a sherry blend ($108) from the signature menu, as well as more than 220 different whiskies from around the world. Pair your whisky with oysters and chocolate whisky cake, or a cigar from the bar.
70 Mody Rd, Tsim Sha Tsui, 2721-5161. Open daily 5pm-2:45am.

Mizunara Whisky Library

Endo at Mizunara
Master Endo rocks the bar

A little more than a year ago, Wan Chai saw the opening of Mizunara: The Library, a dedicated speakeasy-style whisky bar offering the ultimate gentlemen’s club experience. Decked out in imported Japanese wood furnishings, the cozy environment promises refined cocktails accompanied by soft jazz and quiet conversation. If the atmosphere doesn’t leave you feeling like you’ve been temporarily transported to Ginza, then the menu will: picture more than 150 Japanese whiskies as well as some of award-winning cocktails by bartender Masahiko Endo. Trust us when we say the Smokey Manhattan ($160) is where it’s at.
Kiu Yin Commercial Building, 361-363 Lockhart Road, Wan Chai. Open Monday-Saturday 6pm-3am (last order 2am).


Have a clandestine cocktail at Nocturne

If you’ve already been on the Japanese whisky wagon before everyone else caught on, you’ll want to visit Nocturne. Ostensibly camouflaging itself from plain view with its unassuming brushed concrete exterior, it’s a perfect hiding spot for a quiet night savoring your tipple. From the intimate vibe to the minimalist interiors to the moody jazz playlist, it’s an awesome addition to the nightlife scene. The comprehensive 150-strong whisky selection comes from all over the place with a refreshing mix of bottles from Japan, Kentucky and Taiwan. Not into the brown? Not to worry: The hidden gem stocks 250 different labels of wine and champagne as well. The bar is staffed with Japanese-speaking barmen, who will solemnly (and graciously) serve your poison, from a range of 50 whiskies from all over the world. With only a handful of seats inside, we do recommend booking in advance.
35 Peel Street, Central, 2884-9566. Open Monday-Saturday 6pm-1am.


A night out at Bar Ginger
Bar Ginger

Behind a sliding concrete door of an identically colored building on On Wo Lane you’ll find Ginger, a low-key whisky specialist that’s home to nearly 400 different blends. Slide the door open and you’ll find a cozy speakeasy bar illuminated by warm yellow lights and decorated with a polished wooden bar and tables: it’s the kind of place you’d take someone for a quiet drink. The menu has almost two dozen pages all devoted to whisky, with whisky brands from Japan to Ireland. If you’re new to whisky than they’ve got you covered with tasting sets starting at a mere $100 — start your night as an amateur and leave with not only an appetite for whisky but some knowledge, too.
12 On Wo Lane, Central, 2868-0468. Open Monday-Thursay 5pm-midnight; Friday – Saturday 4:30pm-1:30am.

Malt Whisky Library

Malt Whisky Bar - Nikka
Something different at Malt Whisky Bar

This understated address is easy enough to pass right by, but behind a heavy door is a tiny enclave for whisky enthusiasts in Sheung Wan. Inside, you’ll find a few small tables as well as leather stools stationed by the bar. It’s a small space, but smartly laid out to offer intimacy for couples and more socializing at the bar. Whisky enthusiasts will delight in the long list of hard-to-find bottles with over 300 varieties available. There’s a focus on Asian labels, including lots of  Kavalan, Hibiki, Ichiro’s Malt, Akashi, Nikka and more. The kitchen serves a modest list of goose liver terrine, cheese platters and grilled ham and cheese sandwiches and there’s also a whisky gelato by XTC. For an element of surprise, ask bartender Ted for one his custom cocktails.
19 New Street, Sheung Wan, 2858-0058. Open Monday-Saturday 5pm-11pm.


Dedicated to whiskies, the tiny, exclusive Butler is known for its painstaking attention to detail and top-notch cocktails. The Whisky Sour ($118) is made with High West Double Rye, which boasts rich cinnamon and honey notes — and is garnished with Cointreau cherry and lemon.
5/F, Mody House, 30 Mody Road, Tsim Sha Tsui, 2724-3828. Open Tuesday-Saturday 6:30pm-3am; Sunday 5:30pm-1am. 

Lof 10 Distillery

From the same creative people behind Lof 10 cafe on U Lam Terrace, this hidden whisky bar is down a set of steep stone stairs right next to Yardbird. The style at Lof 10 Distillery is kind of all over the place — a quaint little courtyard that’s quiet and casual, and a buzzing narrow bar with neon signage and modern design. There’s 70s, 80s and 90s pop pumping all night, seemingly in earnest. The whisky menu spans all of Japan, including some rare finds, plus some from Scotland and America. Prices are not the best — think $250 for a single Hibiki 17 — but if you can snag a seat on the terrace, then the atmosphere makes up for it.
B/F, 29-31 Bridges Street, Central, 9787-1011. Open Monday-Saturday 5pm-11:45pm.


Ronin old fashioned. Photo: Justine Tai
Ronin’s classic old fashioned. Photo: Justine Tai

Pay attention, Old Fashioned fans: Ronin boasts an extensive Japanese whisky collection, with more than 100 varieties on offer — many of which are not available elsewhere. Its Maple Old Fashioned ($230) is off the menu, but available to those in the know. And you really do want to know about this one: it’s made with premium Japanese whisky Nikka the Barrel, a few drops of pure maple syrup and finished off with two dashes of baked-apple bitters. Although this is an Izakaya-style restaurant, you can go ahead and trust us on this one. Order an Old Fashioned (made with Japanese whisky, of course) and watch the bartender stir it for a full eight minutes.
8 On Wo Lane, Central, 2547-5263. Open Monday-Saturday 6pm-midnight.

See also: 9 of Hong Kong’s best hidden bars