Appreciate a sidecar of secrecy with your cocktails? So do we. Head to one of these cheeky cocktail bars hidden away out of sight. If you can find them, that is…
The folks behind the similarly sneaky Mrs. Pound have brought hidden jazz bar Foxglove to Duddell Street. The venue is very conspicuous — except it looks like an old-fashioned umbrella shop from the outside, instead of the glamorous watering hole it turns out to be. Get comfy on the plush blue seats in the spacious 4,500-square-foot venue while sipping on a reinvented classic cocktail and taking in the soothing sounds of the live band. If you’re looking for an extra sneaky Prohibition-style affair, try and find your way into Frank’s Library, the bar-within-a-bar experience that dishes up equally delicious cocktails.
Get in: Look for a certain umbrella handle to push down. 2/F, 6 Duddell Street, Central, 2116-8948.
This immaculate watering hole seems like it was flown straight in from Japan. From the intimate vibe to the minimalist interiors to the moody jazz playlist, Nocturne is 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.
Get in: Enter this two-story wine and whisky haven through an easy-to-miss back alley. 35 Peel Street, Central, 2884-9566.
Calling all Anglophiles: Going to Stockton is like walking into an old British gentlemen’s club, complete with plush leather sofas, low lights, whisky drinks and even a secret cigar room. The Scotch eggs are worth lining up for, though you’ll never need to, and don’t leave without trying the Rum in Fashion, which goes down way too easily. Word to the wise: don’t show up without a reservation.
Get in: Heading east, turn down the little lane right before Wyndham Street hits Glenealy. 32 Wyndham Street, Central, 2565-5268.
The first stop for most speakeasy-loving tipplers, 001 is kept behind a discreet black door in the middle of the Graham Street Wet Market. But don’t let the no-frills exterior fool you: the hidden gem is a glamorous affair inside, with a bar full of top-shelf whisky, a signature Earl Grey martini, oozy gruyere cheese sandwich and delicious lobster rolls. It feels like an old-world gentlemen’s club, with vintage-looking furniture, comfy armchairs and one of the best Old Fashioned cocktails around. But do make a reso ahead – walks ins are definitely not welcome.
Get in: Call ahead. Dress to impress. Ring the illuminated up doorbell behind the market stall. Shop 1, L/F, Welley Building, 97 Wellington Street, 2810-6969.
With establishments like Djiboutii, Mahalo Tiki Lounge and Pirata opening in recent years — and the establishment of the Star Street and Lee Tung Avenue precincts — Wan Chai is coming into a new era of sophistication. And there is none more sophisticated than the swanky Mizunara The Library . Sure, you have to enter a gloomy commercial building, but once you arrive, it’s all class. Hailing from Fukuoka, head bartender Masahiko Endo mixes up classy creations — our favorite is the smoky Old Fashioned — from behind a gleaming wood bar.
Ping Pong 129 Gintonería centers around fancy G&Ts, using imported gin and hard-to-find tonics. Find it via a bright red door on Second Street, walk down the stairs and into an incredible open room with sky-high ceilings. It used to be a local ping pong parlor, hence the name, and the owners have kept lots of the old touches intact.
Get in: You can’t miss the red door on the western end of Second Street. 129 Second Street, Sai Ying Pun, 9158-1584.
Hole-in-the-wall Missy Ho‘s is not your average Hong Kong bar. For one: it’s not in Central. The Kennedy Town location makes for a nice change of scenery. So do the swish interiors, which have a vintage vibe complete with some kitschy-chic accents – think birdcages and lots of floral patterns. From the guys behind Castelo Concepts, this little outpost is all about Asian fusion food and creative cocktails like Missy Ho’s Cider Creations and Missy Ho’s Jugs… of tropical fruit-infused alcohol, you creep.
Get in: Look for the menacing lionhead handle on a slate gray door. 48 Forbes Street, Kennedy Town, 2817-3808.
You won’t find The Wise King by happenstance. Though it’s located in Soho, this bar is hidden behind a non-discrete door in an alley just below Staunton Street, and is a tribute to King Alfonso X of Castile. The space inside is small, but is sure packs a punch. There’s low lighting, plush leather seating, and carefully-planned patterned wallpaper, and even a stately wooden bookshelf stacked with intriguing old tomes. Behind the bar, delicious cocktails are whipped up — be sure to try the El Sabio — while the kitchen prepares small plates that pair well with the hooch.
Get in: Turn into Tsung Wing Lane and look for the murals of the Three Wise Kings. Basement, 25 Staunton Street, Central, 2326-5822
[Updated November 2018]
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