When it comes to grabbing a drink, you’re down for a tipple at one of the myriad hidden gems around town. But before shelling out $150 on a barrel-aged hand-crafted foamy-chic cocktail, ask yourself: What kind of drinker are you? We explore the best Hong Kong speakeasies and bars for all types:
Are you a sucker for all things vintage? Do knickknacks like Queen Elizabeth II postbox motifs deck out the apartment of your dreams? Lan Fong Yuen, a new bar in SoHo might just be the ticket to the good old days. Don’t get it twisted with the legendary cha chaan teng of the same name, worshipped for its comforting pork chop buns and stocking-pulled milk teas. Located just down the road from the Gage Street original, the bar shares the same owners, but is a dark, industrial-chic affair hidden behind the green tin stalls.
6 Gage Street, Central.
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. With only a handful of seats inside, the dimly lit bar is staffed by Japanese-speaking barmen, who will solemnly (and graciously) serve your poison, from a range of 50 whiskies from all over the world.
35 Peel Street, Central.
Just turn a small alleyway into Peel Street, and you’ll find a quiet oasis of opulence in the midst of green tin stalls and the bustle of SoHo. Jaa Bar is a boudoir-esque speakeasy: all shiny chandeliers, plush seating and mirrored walls, which might make it the perfect setting to start off your next ladies’ night. Apparently the location used to be a secret shelter for Dr. Sun Yat-sen himself. Drink in all the history with an “Obama” — a blackberry mojito — or a “Jaa” prosecco and raspberry cocktail.
Pak Tsz Lane, Central, 2815-8887.
If it’s underground, you’re there. Start a rowdy night off or enjoy some quiet drinks at Lan Kwai Lau, a secret basement bar in the middle of LKF. Located just next to Chocolate bar, you’ll know it by the stag’s head that protrudes over the door instead of a sign. This discreet basement bar usually requires a password (or some very determined knocking), but once you’re in, it’s an unpretentious mellow space with large leather chairs and dark wooden fixings. Perfect to lounge with a gin and tonic in hand.
B/F, 2 Lan Kwai Fong, Central, 2537-0555.
Wait, you haven’t heard about all the cool new bars popping up in Wan Chai? No longer is the district only reserved for trashy sports bars and strip clubs. Enter Mizunara: The Library is the newest speakeasy-style bar to join Hong Kong’s furtive whisky sipping spots. If you’re looking for the ultimate gentlemen’s club experience, this is it. Decked out in imported Japanese wood furnishings, the cozy environment promises refined cocktails accompanied by soft jazz and whispered conversation. Great for a refined date or with good company for an evening of serious chilling.
Kiu Yin Commercial Building, 361-363 Lockhart Road, Wan Chai.
Well, you may not be starting the trends yet but you appreciate the classics. Show how in-tune and cultured you are by hanging out at 001: perhaps the city’s worst kept secret. The bar stocks an excellent selection of whiskies — it was founded by the folks behind Liquor & Liqueur, a renowned purveyor or whisky and spirits, after all. Aside from its malts, its gruyere grilled cheeses have also reached legendary status, as have its Earl Grey martinis. Be sure to make a reservation in advance to avoid disappointment.
Shop 1, L/F, Welley Building, 97 Wellington Street, Central, 2810-6969.