One of Hong Kong’s many positive qualities is that you never have to look very hard to find a good drink. Not only do we have a wide array of watering holes, from dive bars to posh cocktail dens, but we also have, every month, new cocktail menus, bar pop-ups featuring world-class mixologists, and, of course, new bar openings. That’s the purpose of this monthly column: to keep track of everything for you. We’ll be focusing solely on new drinks and drinking spots here, but if you want a list of our favourite bars of the moment, look no further than our Hot 10. Without further adieu, here’s where you should be toasting and tippling this month.
Fang Fang x Native Pop-up
Fang Fang has barely opened, yet it’s already hosting its first pop-up event, welcoming the award-winning bar manager from Singapore’s Native (#20 on Asia’s 50 Best Bars 2017) behind the bar for one day only: Thursday 13 July. From 3–5pm, Fang Fang’s bar manager, Gagan Gurung, and Native’s founder and bar manager, Vijay Mudaliar, will lead a cocktail masterclass in which they show off their taste for bold and adventurous cocktails. In the evening from 7–10pm, guests are invited to sample three cocktails created by Mudaliar, which will be available for one night only, each priced at HK$110.
Fang Fang, 8/F, LKF Tower, 33 Wyndham Street, Central, Hong Kong, +852 2983 9083
The Old Man
Here’s something exciting to look forward to: Agung Prabowo — the renowned mixologist who led Lobster Bar & Grill to international acclaim before overseeing the beverage program at Mandarin Oriental Hong Kong — has joined forces with fellow cocktail geniuses James Tamang and Roman Ghale to open a new bar. Details are scant, but we do know that this new watering hole will be called The Old Man, a direct reference to writer Ernest Hemingway’s classic 1952 novel The Old Man and the Sea. Hemingway himself loved cocktails, and the entire concept is a tribute to him and his work. We’re told that we can expect inventive cocktails with distinctively Asian touches, and that the targeted opening date is in late July, but we’ll keep you posted as we find out more in the coming weeks.
The Old Man, Lower G/F, 37 Aberdeen Street, Central, Hong Kong, +852 2703 1899
Black Rock Pop-up at Frank’s Library
Whisky lovers have a reason to be excited this month, as what’s been called “London’s Best Whisky Bar” — Black Rock — will pop up inside Frank’s Library for two weeks, from Saturday 22 July. In case you’ve never heard of Frank’s Library, don’t fret: it’s simply a new “speakeasy within a speakeasy” concept at Foxglove. Black Rock organises its whisky selection into six categories: balance, fragrance, fruit, smoke, spice and sweet; the pop-up will highlight single malts from The Singleton’s award-winning range of Highland and Speyside whiskies. Malt masters can also expect to find Johnnie Walker King George V, Lagavulin, Glenkinchie, Cragganmore and the extremely rare Brora and Port Ellen lining the shelves.
The centrepiece of Black Rock is a cut-in-half, 12-foot stretch of oak tree that houses two “rivers” of alcohol, one a cocktail, the other a blend of malts. For this pop-up, a tree has been sustainably harvested in Northern England and shipped to Hong Kong so that we can enjoy the full Black Rock experience, including the glassware, staff, and snacks found in London. There will be three seatings per night, but seats are limited and booking is essential; note that there will be a HK$500 minimum spend per guest.
Frank’s Library at Foxglove, 2/F, Printing House, 6 Duddell Street, Central, Hong Kong, +852 2116 8949
Upstairs at Belon
You may have dined at neo-Parisian bistro Belon before, but chances are you’ve never ascended the dark staircase to enter the intimate lounge upstairs. The restaurant has now formally designated the space, which can accommodate 18 guests, Upstairs at Belon, and it’s open for drinks Tuesday through Sunday. The cocktail list is concise, a new Cocktail of the Week will be introduced every Thursday, and the wine list focuses on small, independent growers.
In addition, Upstairs at Belon will host a Rare Wine Nights series beginning Wednesday 12 July and taking place every Wednesday thereafter. On these nights, Belon’s Master Sommelier will curate a selection of red, white and Champagne by-the-glass as well as a cellar list of hard-to-find premium bottles. The offerings will be of scarce allocation in Hong Kong and sold to guests at near-market prices, making this an attractive opportunity for wine lovers to try something new and rare without breaking the bank.
Upstairs at Belon, 41 Elgin Street, Central, Hong Kong, +852 2152 2872
Aberdeen Street Social
Now through 16 July, you can get into the Wimbledon spirit at Aberdeen Street Social with a series of very British offerings. On 3 and 16 July, the restaurant will host happy hours in collaboration with The Artist craft brewery — we’re talking HK$50 beer, wine, and G&Ts, with pitchers of summer cocktails priced at HK$200.
At any point during the two-week run, you can enjoy a classic Pimm’s Cup; The Artist Shandy, made with craft beer and lemonade; the Wimbledon Tea Part Pitcher, made with iced English breakfast tea, Beefeater Gin, berries, citrus, and mint; and the Raspberry Pedlar, a concoction of gin and berries. Should you find yourself feeling peckish, tuck into the Ploughman’s Picnic ($288): Cheddar cheese, sausage rolls, potted beef, Scotch eggs, and Eton mess, all served in a nifty wicker picnic basket.
Aberdeen Street Social, G/F, PMQ, 35 Aberdeen Street, Central, Hong Kong, +852 2866 0300
Kerry Hotel Hong Kong may have opened its doors back in April, but it was only recently that we were able to experience firsthand the many pleasures of this so-called “urban resort”. Chief amongst these is Red Sugar, a surprisingly delightful bar with a great selection of cocktails and an industrial-chic vibe. We very much enjoyed our barrel-aged Negroni, and we look forward to making our way through more of the drinks list. The true highlight here, however, is the expansive outdoor terrace, featuring some of the best vistas in all of Hong Kong. We recommend getting here early, grabbing seats at the very edge, and enjoying the 270-degree view for as long as you like.
Red Sugar, 7/F, Kerry Hotel Hong Kong, 38 Hung Luen Road, Hung Hom Bay, Kowloon, Hong Kong, +852 2252 5279
If you need a new happy hour spot in Central, you’re in luck. TokyoLima has introduced its new Izakaya Sessions (5–7pm, daily), when you can enjoy drinks and Nikkei bar bites for as little as HK$48. If you’re with a group and in the mood for sake, bottles start at HK$248 and magnums start at HK$488. Selected cocktails will run you less than HK$90, and a variety of handpicked wines, spirits and premium Japanese beers are also on offer, all priced from HK$48–$88. Who says there are no good deals in Central?
TokyoLima, G/F, 18-20 Lyndhurst Terrace, Central, Hong Kong, +852 2811 1152
Perfect for summer, Pirata has unveiled a new selection of cocktails designed to intrigue your palate with unusual ingredients such as yuzu sake and complex vermouth. The new offerings include a take on an Old Fashioned called the Boulevard Rye (HK$120), a smooth drink of rye whisky, Mancino red vermouth, Angostura bitters, cloves, and absinthe topped off with a crushed sugar cube and a smoky cinnamon stick. There’s also the Millionaires Mojito (HK$110) featuring pineapple rum, a squeeze of lime juice, and a dash of prosecco topped off with a bright green sprig of mint.
As Hong Kong’s first dedicated vermuteria, Pirata has amassed an extensive collection of vermouths, all of which you can enjoy the classic way: chilled on the rocks with an orange slice and a plump olive. If you find your time sitting at the bar requires some snacks, tuck into small plates such as fresh tomato bruschetta (HK$55) and meatballs (HK$95).
Pirata, 30F, 235-239 Hennessy Road, Wan Chai, Hong Kong, +852 6317 7772
Wednesgay at Jinjuu
Launched last month, Wednesgay is a new LGBTQ party designed to bring some midweek revelry to the scene, featuring pop, disco, and techno tunes from a rotating cast of DJs. Come prepared to celebrate individuality and diversity as Absolut Vodka continues its long tradition of celebrating and supporting the gay community. The best part? Free-flow Absolut every Wednesday from 10:30–11:30pm. All you have to enjoy the free drinks is register in advance on their official Facebook page.
Jinjuu, UG/F, California Tower, 32 D’Aguilar Street, Central, +852 3755 4868
Should you find yourself at loose ends one of these summer weekends, may we suggest a trip to the rooftop at Maison Libanaise? Every Saturday and Sunday this summer, from noon–5pm, guests are invited to enjoy grilled-to-order kebabs and addictive and refreshing frosé (frozen rosé, in case you didn’t already know). You can order any combination of four (HK$98), eight (HK$178), or a dozen (HKD268) kebabs at a time, with options including free-range chicken marinated in saffron, chilli, and mint; New Zealand lamb rubbed in Ras el Hanout spice; prime beef striploin; and charred eggplant for the vegetarians. Frosé, a frozen mix of rosé and fresh strawberry purée, is just HK$48 a glass, but really you should just opt for a pitcher (HK$248). Have fun, go wild — it’s summer, after all.
Maison Libanaise, 10 Shelley Street, Central, Hong Kong, +852 2111 2284