Hong Kong has always been one of the best places to go to for drinks in Asia—the number of cocktail bars, rooftop lounges, speakeasies, izakayas, and fantasy drinking dens packed in such a small area is mind boggling. The only downside is that if you’re only there for a few days (on business or otherwise), there’s never enough time to explore all the hidden gems and hotspots the bar scene has to offer. Public relations and events guru Karrie Bitanga navigated the streets of Hong Kong and narrowed down a list of the 11 hottest bars to hit during your next trip:

  1. Cassio

Location: 33 Wyndham St, Central, Hong Kong

Cassio is a groovy lounge bar and intimate restaurant with amazing tapas. What makes this bar interesting would be the crowd; everyone seems to have brought their A-game here. Since owner Gilbert Yeung, (also of Dragon-I and Tasmania Ballroom, both leading bars in Hong Kong) is behind Cassio, you can expect the creme de la creme of Hong Kong to be partying at this place. The outdoor area would be a perfect hangout for a relaxed vibe while indoors is great for dining and dancing. Both the drinks and bartenders do not disappoint so this place is a must for everyone looking for a good time!

Must-try cocktail:

Esmeralda
La Pinta
  1. The Iron Fairies

Location: LG/F, 1-13 Hollywood Road, Central

Tucked into Hollywood Road is Iron Fairies, the hottest bar that hit Hong Kong. The venue spells magic and mystery, with the use of metal fairies, bottles of magic dust and hanging butterflies as décor, furnished with iron and furnaces as if one is inside an ironsmith’s workshop. Apart from the all this enchantment, expect a bewitching night of live jazz and blues, innovative comfort food, and exceptional mixology. Definitely an experience one would never forget!

Must-try cocktail:

Smoke in a Bottle No. 2- blueberry-infused vodka, elderflower liqueur, sage cordial, and fresh lemon with smoked cocoa nibs
  1. Ophelia

Location: Shop No41A, 1/F The Avenue, 200 Queen’s Rd E, Lee Tung St, Wan Chai, Hong Kong

If you’re looking for a tantalizing experience, no doubt the newest bar to check out in Hong Kong is Ophelia, located at the Avenue, Wan Chai. Its award-winning, sophisticated interiors coupled with Chinese mannequins dancing will fascinate all your senses. The cocktails are exotic and intriguing—the one I chose was presented inside an elaborate lit birdcage. Whether you want to seduce or be seduced, Ophelia is the place to be; for sure you’ll have an unforgettable evening.

 Must-try cocktail: 

Cheongsam – tequila and vermouth with a hint of cinnamon
  1. Foxglove

Location: Printing House, 2/F, 6 Duddell St, Central, Hong Kong

Being in Foxglove feels like you’re being transported to the 1930s. This sleek speakeasy bar has a very cool vibe with live jazz bands and iconic cocktails. The private rooms are perfect for any gentleman’s club types who love their fine liquor. If you feel you need an escape from the craziness of the city, Foxglove offers the perfect time travel journey.

Must-try cocktail:

House of Quincy – Pig’s Nose Blended Whisky, Diplomatico Reserva Exclusiva Rum, Green Chartreuse, makrut lime, lemon, grapefruit bitters 
Tokyo Sour – Hibiki 12 years, Tio Pepe, Plum Syrup, Lemon Juice, Cherry Bitters
  1. VEA Restaurant and Lounge

Location: 198 Wellington St, Central, Hong Kong

If all you want is a quiet evening and feel the need to unwind in a private and relaxed venue, I highly suggest visiting VEA Lounge on Wellington Street. Behind VEA are mixologists Antonio Lai and Leszek Stachura backed up by chef Vicky Cheng, all masters in their own fields. You can expect exquisite cocktails plus delectable canapes that leave you wanting more.

Must-try cocktail:

Bone marrow Old Fashioned- Bone marrow fat-washed bourbon, rich simple syrup, and dashes of Angostura aromatic bitters, stirred and served over a large ice cube, zest of fresh orange and cherry on a bone
Cleopatra Formosa- With a thunder of drums, all hail the mighty queen with a roar of mezcal and Absolut Elyx shaken with clarified pineapple star anise syrup, and a generous splash of fresh lime juice. Served in an inverted golden pineapple with smoke
  1. Mercedes Me

Location: Ground floor, Entertainment Building, 30 Queen’s Road, Central, Hong Kong

If luxury is the name of your game, Mercedes Me will not disappoint. Their company motto “The best or nothing” encompasses what you can expect at this bar, from the service to the quality of the food. If the sexy sports car at their mini-showroom is not enough to impress you, I can guarantee their Spanish-Japanese-Peruvian cuisine and cocktails will leave you breathless.

Must-try cocktail: 

Pisco Sour
  1. Lily & Bloom

Location: 33 Wyndham St, Central, Hong Kong

One of my favorite spots in Hong Kong is Lily & Bloom. You can expect a fun atmosphere with beautiful people and good music. Whether it be happy hour or weekend fun with a bit of dancing, Lily & Bloom is a happening place where you can let your hair down. 

Must-try cocktail:

Snickers Old Fashioned – Snickers-infused Michter’s American whiskey, vanilla demerara, chocolate and walnut bitters
Shogun – Hibiki 12, umeshu, Oloroso, honey, Angostura bitters
  1. Koko

Location: 5th Floor, 77 Wyndham St, Hong Kong

Operated by famed Kee Club owners and footballer and fashion icon Hidetoshi Nakata, Koko, meaning “here” in Japanese, is a new izakaya bar at Wyndham Street, Central. Expect to be amazed at their sake tastings at the cool al fresco area where the variety of sake is just breathtaking. Their sake cocktails definitely do not disappoint.

Must-try cocktail:

Koko Negroni with citrus-infused sake from a blend of gin, vermouth, and Aperol.
  1. Mr. & Mrs. Fox

Location: 23 Tong Chong Street, Quarry Bay

If you happen to be in the Eastern district and looking for a hip place to have a drink or two, you can’t miss Mr. and Mrs. Fox. Not only do they have good food at a reasonable price, but they serve yummy cocktails. When the weather is good, the outdoor space is perfect for people watching and just chilling.

Must-try cocktail:

Mrs. Fox’s Bramble – gin, lemon juice, sugar syrup and tempus fugit lavender liqueur
  1. NEO

Location: 10 Shin Hing Street, Central

If you’re looking for a cool hidden spot in NoHo (North of Hollywood Road), NEO is the place to be at given its funky vintage vibe. The Playboy pinball machines and spunky interiors make this bar both cozy and fun. The artisanal cocktail menu and live entertainment add to the fun too.

Must-try cocktail:

Neo-Hive – Cachaca, passion fruit, pomegranate and lime syrup, cranberry, lemon, and simple syrup
All Night Breakfast – Bacon-infused bourbon mixed with apple juice, maple syrup, and citrus
  1. Paradis

Location: 3/F 46-48 Wyndham Street, Central

Paradis is known for having hot French bartenders and wait staff in ever-buzzing Wyndham Street. Perfect for a girls night out! The dinner menu is also interesting, offering Caribbean food with a twist. Watch out for their Caribbean disco nights playing tasty underground disco, afro-funk, island vibes and the sound of paradise and expect to go dancing after a few negronis.

Must-try cocktail:

Slow cooked G & T- an exotic mix of fruits and spices slow-cooked in Hayman’s Royal Dock Gin, finished with a pour of homemade tonic water

 

Karrie Bitanga runs a PR and events agency, Imagindustries in Hong Kong and Manila. She shuttles back and forth two cities which she both calls fondly calls home at the moment. Her passion project is Malt Manila, a curated whisky festival happening in 2017. She aims to bring new concepts and events to the Philippines after living in Hong Kong for the last 11 years.

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