Hong Kong has long been famed for its vibrant nightlife scene, and in recent years, our city has upped its game with the proliferation of craft spirits and artisanal cocktails. This is largely thanks to a growing numbers of mixologists who are pushing the boundaries with their craft. With bars reopening in Hong Kong after more than a month of closure, we take the opportunity to highlight some of the establishments that are making Hong Kong’s bar scene exceptional.
The Diplomat is the first speakeasy pub concept created by award-winning mixologist John Nugent (formerly of Lily & Bloom). This rustic-inspired tavern stocks a curated selection of small batch produced wines and vintage liquors, along with six original cocktails on offer. While the watering hole is best known for its tipples, The Diplomat easily serves some of the best burgers in town. Order its quarter pounder, which arrives oozing with American cheese and a perfectly done Wagyu patty.
The Diplomat, LG/F, High Block, H Code, 45 Pottinger Street, Central, 3619 0302
The crowning glory of the glitzy Rosewood Hong Kong, Darkside offers one of the best bar experiences in town, complete with sultry live jazz performances and glimpses of the stunning Victoria Harbour. The name of the game here is dark, rare aged spirits. The bar stocks vintage cognac aged from oak barrels and a selection of rum, whisky and calvados that span back to early 19th century. Signature cocktails include Martini vs Vesper (a twist on the classic Vesper Martini) and the rum-based 40 Square Feet.
Darkside, Rosewood Hong Kong, Victoria Dockside, 18 Salisbury Road, Tsim Sha Tsui, 3891 8732
Exuding cool, retro-inspired vibes, Terrible Baby stands out in the oft overlooked neighbourhood of Jordan. Located on the fourth floor of the rebranded Eaton Hotel, the bar opens up to a 57-seater terrace decked out in tropical planters and wooden outdoor furniture. Head to the bar’s dedicated music room to enjoy weekly live performances featuring up-and-coming local artists and international bands.
Terrible Baby, 4/F, Eaton Hong Kong, 380 Nathan Road, Jordan, 2782 1818
The Wise King
Tucked away in a hidden alley, this intimate Soho cocktail bar has plenty going for it. Led by industry veterans Joe Villanueva (ex-Lobster Bar) and Sandeep Kumar (a two-time Bacardi Grand Prix National Champion), The Wise King debuted on the Asia’s 50 Best Bars 2019 at No. 18 after opening for just under a year. Inspired by 13th century Spain, the bar is gussied up with upholstered seats and deep burgundy hues and commands a grand palatial aura. Drinkswise, its signature cocktails includes El Sabio (with cava and spiced dried fruits) and Pickled Margarita (made with pickled beetroot shrub).
The Wise King, 25 Staunton Street, Central, 2326 5822
This buzzy neighbourhood wine bar and restaurant needs no introduction. Shady Acres has been drawing in crowds since opening last year with its variety of handpicked wines, playful cocktails, bar bites and laidback, relaxed vibes. Not to mention there’s not one, but two, happy hours every day – from 5pm to 7pm and later from 11pm to 1am. Just prepare to brace yourself to traverse through throngs of people spilling over onto Peel Street to arrive at the bar.
Shady Acres, 46 Peel Street, Central, 9176 7500
Tell Camellia is a contemporary tea cocktail bar (yes, that’s a thing) opened by two of Hong Kong’s industry heavyweights, Sandeep Hathiramani and Gagan Gurung. The bar features an experimental menu of exotic teas sourced from around the world blended with surprising ingredients like Tim Tams, clarified strawberry, and blue cheese.
Tell Camellia, LG/F, H Code, 45 Pottinger Street, Central, 2366 2115
Feature image courtesy of Darkside