With a succession of brand new openings this month, will this summer’s wave of new cocktail destinations and fresh new menus be 2018’s most notable? Take your pick and choose your poison from the new bars and hottest places to drink in Hong Kong this month.
Hongkongers are obsessed with speakeasies, and some of Hong Kong’s most discerning cocktail enthusiasts have been seen sneaking into an exclusive, nondescript cocktail den in previous weeks, seemingly located inside a hotel room. Only just receiving its grand unveil is Room 309, helmed by Tastings Group’s Executive Mixologist Antonio Lai. Tucked within The Pottinger Hong Kong, you’ll need to obtain your key card from “The Reception” for entry, whereupon you’ll open a door into a discreet chamber — designed with the thoughtful creative in mind.
Room 309, The Pottinger Hong Kong, 74 Queen’s Road Central, Hong Kong
Pirata Group is on a roll with a spate of new openings this summer: coming soon this mid-August is Hugger Mugger, pinned as a clandestine British salon, with a lavish 70s-style drinking den hidden behind an unassuming red door. Opening just as Tai Kwun is beginning to blossom, the new underground venue “joins the sophisticated new energy of Wyndham Street,” says Pirata Group co-founder Manuel Palacio.
Expect everything Brit-influenced: from a selection of James Bond-style martinis, to an extravagant Pink Floyd-inspired cocktail dubbed “Money,” and Charlie Chaplin’s favourite cocktail — his own recipe of apricot brandy, sloe gin and fresh lime.
Hugger Mugger, Basement, 43-55 Wyndham Street, Central, Hong Kong
The Old Man Summer Cocktail Menu
Not even a year old and already deemed the 5th Best Bar in Asia, a visit to The Old Man will most likely take some careful planning, but new guests and return visitors alike this summer will be met with a new menu of intricate masterpieces yet again inspired by Ernest Hemingway’s work and travels. “A Moveable Feast #1964” (HK$120) uses a rotary evaporator to extract the aromatic elements of the sea, from briny clams to salty seawater to seaweed, and redistills this with vodka, infusing for 24 hours with spiced cherry tomato, coconut, basil-tomato seeds and oyster leaf. The “Garden of Eden #1985” (pictured) brings 1920s south of France to life in a glass, with honeydew rye whiskey, goat’s milk bourbon, caramelised sauterne, cordial and orange-phosphate bitters. “In Our Time #1924,” referencing a collection of Pre-WWI short stories that shot Hemingway to fame, features eclectic ingredients such as banana ghee and celery, salted tequila and spiced banana skin tincture.
The Old Man, Lower G/F, 37 Aberdeen Street, Central, Hong Kong, +852 2703 1899
The Wise King
If you haven’t already, you’ll want to take a peek into this new SoHo drinking destination inspired by all things opulent from the Iberian peninsula — The Wise King. Its namesake is rooted in the legend that 13th century monarch Alfonso X, “The Wise King,” was treated with an illness whereby he could only partake in small, bite-sized portions of food and wine, resulting in the Spanish tradition of tapas today. Founded by industry veterans Joe Villanueva and Sandeep Kumar, drinks are decidedly powerful: deep in flavour and rich in stories. Try the Turrón Sour (HK$118), inspired by the nougat sweet with toasted almond of the same name; or the barrel-aged Pacharán Manhattan (HK$98; pictured), with Rye whiskey, Blackthorn liqueur and Abott’s bitters.
The Wise King, Basement, 25 Staunton Street, SoHo (Entrance on Tseng Wing Lane next to Pure Fitness SoHo), Central, Hong Kong, +852 2326 5822
Veuve Clicquot’s “Yellow Hour 2018”
Fancy some bubbly with light bites this summer? The iconic yellow-labeled bottle of Veuve Clicquot can be seen around restaurants and bars all around town this summer as the French champagne house launches their “Yellow Hour 2018” campaign. Following on from their successful prior Yellow Hour campaigns in Hong Kong, Veuve Clicquot will once again partner with some of Hong Kong’s best dining venues to bring the ultimate champagne and food happy hour pairing.
With this year’s theme being “French Bread” or “Du Pain”, participating venues will come up with their best variations of bar bites featuring bread, bruschetta, pizza and more — all accompanied by a glass of Veuve Clicquot Yellow Label. Highlights include torrija deep-fried milk bread or flat bread with chorizo at Cassio (HK$150); Catalan flat bread with roasted eggplant and peppers at La Rambla (HK$190 plus 10%); and buffalo mozzarella with balsamic pearls bruschetta at Armani Prive (HK$188). Visit here for more details, and don’t forget to share your happy hour snap with the hashtag #YellowHour.
“Yellow Hour 2018” runs from 1 August–31 October at participating venues.
Terrace Tapas at La Rambla by Catalunya
Now that Hong Kong’s weather has calmed down (knock on wood), it’s the perfect excuse to lounge along La Rambla’s gorgeous terrace for a tall goblet of gin & tonic or a refreshing spritzer, and feast on chef Ferran Tadeo’s new menu of Spanish bar bites — exclusively available at the terrace. The suckling pig and foie gras sliders are a must, as well as Catalonian coca flatbreads with roasted pepper, eggplant and smoked anchovies, and the perennial favourite of truffle, jamon and cheese bikinis.
La Rambla by Catalunya, Shop 3071-73, 3/F, IFC Mall, 8 Finance Street, Central, Hong Kong, +852 2661 1161
There’s a new hotspot in town for sky-high drinking with a view, guaranteed to have Hongkongers flocking to it by virtue of its wraparound terrace alone. Popinjays, atop the Murray Hong Kong, finally opened its doors in July after a period of improvement work. The name itself refers to the resident cockatoos that reside at the Hong Kong Park and Botanical Gardens, referring to the sprightly, social spirit of the space — made evident by the vibrant artwork by KAWS adorning the walls. Head mixologist Manuel Saavedra-Ramirez has concocted a long bar list divided into three sections: The Aviary Collection brings signature cocktails with the keen ornithologist in mind, with names such as The Blue Macaw, Above the Clouds and Peacock Royale. There’s also a section for exotic renditions of the classic G&T, and “Forgotten Classics” revives old world cocktails for today’s tastes.
From Wednesday to Saturday evenings, a resident DJ will switch up the vibe for cocktail hour, while every Friday and Saturday, guests can look forward to the “Birds of a Feather” menu, available for a minimum of four guests, which includes shared dishes and free-flow drinks.
Popinjays, The Murray, Hong Kong, a Niccolo Hotel, 22 Cotton Tree Drive, Central, Hong Kong, +852 3141 8888
You might have missed out on The Old Man’s Nolo non-alcoholic cocktail bar pop-up on 24-25 July, running concurrently with 15 of the best international cocktail bars to offer their versions of no- and low-alcohol cocktails. If you’re a budding (or expert) home mixologist, you’ll want to get your hands on the two new fruity, summery flavours of San Pellegrino, now available at Japanese supermarkets UNY, Piago and Apita, as well as your favourite cafés and delis across town. Joining existing flavours such as Aranciata (orange), Limonata (grapefruit) and Aranciata Rossa (blood orange), are new summer flavours Melograno e Arancia (pomegranate and orange) and Clementina (clementine). Try these mocktail recipes on for size:
15ml Bergamot orange juice
15ml oz honey syrup
Top up with Sanpellegrino Clementina
Garnish with star anise
30ml apple juice
30ml pink grapefruit juice
Top up with Sanpellegrino Melograno e Arancia
Garnish with fresh mint and a dehydrated apple wheel
Truffles & Bubbles at Papi
Work’s tough, so treat yourself with an indulgent weeknight session at Fashion Walk’s newest Italian eatery Papi: For happy hour between 5–7pm (Mon–Fri excluding public holidays), guests can get in on free-flow sparkling wine as well as a choice between a truffle cheese sandwich, truffle dusted fries, or truffle pizza — all for just HK$118.
Papi, G/F, 8 Cleveland Street, Causeway Bay, Hong Kong, +852 2808 0820
Summer White Party at Tenkei
When: 4 August, 8pm
Price: HK$450; reserve by emailing email@example.com
Freshly minted Japanese bar and lounge Tenkei is teaming up with premium shisha brand The Aces Co. for the ultimate summer bash with complimentary pipes all night and free-flow spirits, beers and wines. Sit back and enjoy the breezy sakura garden terrace with complimentary shisha pipes dotted all around, available first-come-first-serve. Late to the party? You can still enjoy the pipes for the special price of HK$180 all evening.
Tenkei, 3/F, On Hing Building, On Hing Terrace, Central, Hong Kong, +852 2789 3812
New cocktails at Uma Nota
Uma Nota is our go-to for their moreish fusion Brazilian bites and brilliant caipirinhas, and now perhaps even more so with the restaurant’s new offerings of classic drinks with a twist: try the Rōzu G&T (HK$106), featuring gin, shochu, verjus, rhubarb cordial, tonic and Angostura bitters. The clay-pot-aged Argila (HK$105) is like a negroni with a Brazilian backbone, made with a trifecta of Capucana cachaça, Mancino Rosso and Cynar, plus a dash of orange bitters. The Val Verde (HK$105) is a unique eyeful, made with pandan-infused cachaça, green chartreuse, pandan syrup, lime juice and yoghurt.
Uma Nota, 38 Peel St, Central, Hong Kong, +852 2889 7576