July is kicking off to a boozy start with plenty of occasion — or at least, plenty of excuses — to toast, whether to Handover day/Hong Kong Establishment Day (or Canada Day) on July 1st, US Independence Day on July 4th, or simply to the fast-fading summer of 2018. Yes, we’re in the thick of it now, and before the summer is gone before you know it, you’ll want to make the most of your weekends and evenings with these places to sit down for a proper drink.
One of Hong Kong’s best loved speakeasies, Foxglove, is officially launching its swanky secret cocktail den with a brand new cocktail menu this week — the trouble is, you’re going to have to hunt down the door yourself. Yes, it’s a new speakeasy within a speakeasy. Named Frank’s Library, after the elusive “proprietor” of Foxglove Frank Minza, this tucked-away alcove boasts ‘Travel Diary Cocktails’ designed by bar manager Derek Tsui. Focusing on fresh and exotic ingredients found through Frank’s travels, six new cocktails on offer include The Savoy Truffle (HK$100), made with oolong-infused gin, honey water and cream cheese foam; and the Gummibär (HK$100), with osmanthus-infused Tanqueray, goji liquor, lemon juice, honey water and Angostura bitters. Potent barrel-aged cocktails, such as a vieux carre (HK$170) are also available in single servings or sharing portions. Planning a visit this weekend? Here’s a tip: look for the elevator buttons with the secret switch.
Foxglove, 18 Ice House Street / 6 Duddell Street, Central, Hong Kong, +852 2116 8949
Belvedere Terroir-Driven Vodka
If the idea of sipping vodka neat shoots you into some sort of PTSD fever dream from your uni days, fear not: you’re about to get your horizons broadened with a whole new exquisite way to appreciate the deserved complexities of this clear spirit. Belvedere’s Single Estate Rye series is a new range of terroir-driven bottles debuting at Duddell’s from 4 July, featuring two incredibly distinctive estate vodkas both made from identical Polish rye. The lush, pastoral region in western Poland imparts salty-sweet notes of salted caramel, honey and white pepper in the Smogóry Forest vodka; while the Lake Bartężek varietal is made in an area renowned for its crystal-clear glacier lakes and long snowy winters where the rye spends over 80 days buried under snow. This adds a complexity and creaminess to the vodka, giving it rounded notes of black pepper, toasted nuts and cream.
Uma Nota Carnaval Brunch
When: 14 July, 12–4pm
Price: HK$650 per person, reserve via Chope or by phone (see below)
Brazilian-Japanese SoHo eatery Uma Nota is already well-loved for its buzzy atmosphere and delicious food and drink offerings, but the monthly Carnaval Brunch takes it up a notch with the street party spirit channeling the famed Carnaval da Rio. Expect explosive rhythms, live drum performances, face paint, feather masks and games of Brazilian peteca (hand shuttlecock) that spill out onto the street. And of course, don’t forget the free-flowing cocktail jugs, prosecco, draught beer and wines, a DIY caipirinha station, and a flow of Brazilian sharing-style street food dishes: starting with spicy coxinas de frango (chicken and okra dumplings) and moreish dadinhos de tapioca (crispy tapioca and cheese cubes), to juicy, meaty skewers, mains of fragrant grilled seabass with fried banana and salt-cured Angus beef. During our visit last month, we couldn’t stop eating the moqueca vegetariana, a gorgeous, tender pumpkin and banana stew — available by request 48 hours in advance only — as well as the dessert of decadent chocolate mousse infused with cachaça.
Uma Nota, 38 Peel Street, Central, Hong Kong, +852 2889 7576
Stazione Novella Wine Classes
When: 7 July (and every Saturday), 4–5pm
Price: HK$198 per person; email email@example.com to reserve spots.
Little did we know that SoHo’s favourite local wine bar does weekly Saturday wine classes, bringing you on a tour through Italian wine country each week, with spotlights on Tuscany, Northern, Central, and Southern Italy, as well as a class on Italian Wines and the Old World. Sessions seat six at a time, where guests get to top up with their favourite pour and dig into a delectable aperitivo spread of cured meats and cheeses.
Stazione Novella, 52-56 Staunton Street, Central, Hong Kong, +852 2559 0559
When: 6 July, 5–10pm; 7 July, 11am–10pm; 8 July, 11am–8pm
If you’re a fan of natural wines, perhaps Hollywood Road’s La Cabane a Vin is already on your roster of regular after-work haunts. The wine bar is partnering with surf school Treasure Island Group for a day of fun in the sun — for the first ever La Cabane Beach Club pop-up at Pui O Beach. All weekend starting from Friday afternoon, you can sip on natural wines, nibble on cheese plates, burgers and bites, and dance the night away with the sand under your feet and Arun R and Fauve Radio working their magic on the turntables. Find out more here.
Pui O Beach, Lantau, Hong Kong
Beefbar Champagne Hour
Unknown to many, located within Michelin-starred steakhouse Beefbar is a charming, stylish terrace space perfect for post-work cocktails and other libations. It may be one of Central’s best kept secrets, but not for long: the bar is launching its new summer rooftop aperitivo sessions, with Champagne hour every day, offering sommelier’s selection wines, craft spirits, imported beers and Gosset Brut Excellence bubbly — made from a 400-plus-year-old winery in Champagne — all priced at 30% off between 6–9pm.
Beefbar, 2/F, Club Lusitano, 16 Ice House Street, Central, Hong Kong, +852 2110 8853
CBAHK Summer Beer Festival
When: 27 July, 6–10pm; 28 July, 12–4pm; 6–10pm
Price: HK$350 from The Globe
Hop-happy craft beer lovers will want to mark this on their calendars. The Craft Beer Association of Hong Kong is teaming up with The Globe and Coaster Magazine for the first beery event of the summer. They’re bringing on a Scandinavian-style beer festival that typically reveals brewery names only towards the end of the session — thus allowing consumers to concentrate on the styles and ABV of the beers on offer. Head over to check out new favourites by a roster of all-Hong Kong breweries.
The Globe, G/F, Garley Building, 45-53 Graham Street, Central, Hong Kong, +852 2543-1941
Highballs, Mezcal and Sparkling Wine at Yardbird
This muggy kind of weather calls for a tall glass of something icy and bubbly, and Yardbird seems to have the best idea: Head down to the raucous izakaya and sip on a Sunday’s Rockfish Highball, made with frozen whisky (HK$135); a cooling Derrumbes Mezcal Mule garnished with cucumber (HK$160); or a glass of chilled sparkling wine (from HK$180). A number of the bottles are now available for sale at Sake Central online.
Yardbird, G/F, 154-158 Wing Lok Street, Sheung Wan, Hong Kong, +852 2547 9273
Mezcal Appreciation Workshops at COA
When: 10, 24 July, 7–9pm
Price: HK$500 per person; sign up by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org
Speaking of all things cold, bubbly and mezcal-related, if you haven’t yet made your way to Oaxacan mixology temple COA yet, you really should put that on your diary this month. It’s recently been in the spotlight for a new programme of lightly alcoholic house-fermented offerings, including the classic Tepache in pineapple and cinnamon (HK$80), as well as the naturally fizzy seasonal fruit ferment, and more. But if you’re in for a classic Mexican drinking experience, you’ll want to sit down at the bar and sip some of the best mezcal and tequilas on offer in Hong Kong alongside a tall icy glass of cerveza. Keen to learn more about the smoky agave spirit? Plonk down with a few friends for COA’s Mezcal Appreciation Workshops led by founder Jay Khan, to learn and taste a diverse range of mezcals, plus learn to make your own cocktails behind the bar. Classes seat 12 max, so sign up quick.
COA, 6-10 Shin Hing Street, Central, Hong Kong
Starbucks Hong Kong Flagship
The very first Starbucks Hong Kong flagship has just opened in Causeway Bay, bringing together all the various offerings under one roof: a Starbucks Reserve Coffee Experience Bar (which opened earlier at IFC mall as the first Reserve Bar serving alcoholic drinks); and a Teavana Bar and a Mixology Bar.
The Teavana Bar features five Hong Kong-exclusive tea beverages, as well as the first Cold Foam tea series, including drinks such as Black Tea with Earl Grey Jelly and Cold Foam.
The Mixology Bar, meanwhile, debuts with caffeine-infused cocktails, including an Espresso Martini, and a Sparkling Kenya IPA — injecting IPA beer with Starbucks’ own Kenya cold brew for a hoppy, juicy and intense yet crisp drink. Meanwhile, exclusive pours include a cold brew malt — cold brew coffee with vanilla ice cream and malt powder for a retro, quenching summer drink; nitro cold brew and cold brew floats. With thoughtful and elegant design, the new flagship is something of a brunch destination as well, with an all-day menu of gourmet toasts, flatbreads and pancakes.
Starbucks Hong Kong Flagship, Shop 101-110, 1/F, Lee Garden Three, 1 Sunning Road, Causeway Bay, Hong Kong