The Best Craft Cocktail Bars in Hong Kong

Perhaps a bit late to the international party, Hong Kong has finally, whole-heartedly, embraced cocktails. The island’s colonial history means a proper Gin and Tonic can be found in a British Empire-era haunt while, just a stone’s throw away, ultra-modern bars are pushing the limits of molecular mixology. A hybrid of homegrown innovation and port influences, Hong Kong has melded the craftsmanship of Tokyo’s elite bartenders with a tapestry of Asian ingredients like teas, local fruits and traditional Chinese herbs to create a scene with an identity all its own. —Charley Lanyon

  • 1

    b.a.r. Executive Bar

    Hong Kong contains a few Japanese style micro-cocktail bars, but the best is b.a.r. Executive Bar, a rare pocket of serenity in the bustling Causeway Bay. Like other establishments of its ilk, Executive Bar enforces a minimum charge, serves only a handful of people at a time and is always remarkably formal. But it's this hushed sophistication and attention to detail that have made the bar a popular respite.

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    KNOWN FOR

    • craft cocktails
    • bar food
  • 2

    Captain’s Bar

    The Captain’s Bar, a subterranean watering hole off the lobby of the Mandarin Oriental Hotel, is—at over 50 years old—one of the oldest bars in the city. It exudes old-world class and evokes a first-class ocean liner with waiters in crisp white tuxedo jackets, overstuffed leather chairs, polished brass and dark wood. The locale of choice for titans and tycoons, the Captain’s Bar is the perfect place for impressing a client or plotting the take over of a small principality. And in keeping with its classic atmosphere, gimmicks involving smoke and foam are not this establishment’s calling card; rather, this is the place ...

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    KNOWN FOR

    • hotel bar
    • lots of whiskey
    • historic
    • classic cocktails
  • 3

    Ham and Sherry

    An early adopter of the international sherry trend, Ham and Sherry is actually one of the best sherry bars outside of Spain. If you're hankering for a cocktail, head down the alley to the secret bar in the back where bartenders turn out craft cocktails based on the drinking cultures of different countries. It’s dark, usually crowded and a bit of a scene, but the drinks are excellent and worth the crush.

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    KNOWN FOR

    • bar food
    • full menu
    • craft cocktails
    • good wine
    • singles scene
  • 4

    Honi Honi

    Hong Kong’s first and only tiki bar is worth a stop if only for its impressive rum collection and buzzing outdoor terrace. Stop by for a few frosty post-work drinks with friends to experience Honi Honi at its best. Weekends get crowded, and drinks are expensive and can often skew sweet, but the Piña Colada is always spot-on.

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    KNOWN FOR

    • craft cocktails
    • bar food
    • outdoor/ patio
    • singles scene
  • 5

    Lily & Bloom

    Lily & Bloom is on the fifth floor of the LKF Tower, the veritable epicenter of Hong Kong nightlife. Bloom is an American fine dining restaurant located downstairs, but it’s Lily—a 1920s-themed speakeasy cocktail bar with lots of modern design flourishes—that continues to draw crowds. Expect beautiful people sipping excellent—if pricey—cocktails heavily influenced by American classics. The drinks tend to be simple, consisting of just a few ingredients, and they’re better for it.

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    KNOWN FOR

    • bar food
    • craft cocktails
    • full menu
  • 6

    Little L.A.B.

    This pocket-sized bar in Central’s SoHo neighborhood is on a mission to make cocktails that are evocative of Hong Kong. Asian ingredients and local cultural references are present in drinks that utilize everything from traditional Hong Kong milk tea to Chinese vinegar. Some efforts are more successful than others, but it’s worth exploring the menu to discover the hits for yourself.

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    KNOWN FOR

    • craft cocktails
  • 7

    Ping Pong 129

    Thanks to a new subway line, the fashionable Western District is growing quickly with a spate of new bars, restaurants and shops. First on the scene was Ping Pong 129, a cavernous ping pong parlor converted into an art-covered bar that is always packed with beautiful people enjoying Spanish-style Gin and Tonics made from an excellent selection of artisanal gins.

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    KNOWN FOR

    • craft cocktails
  • 8

    Rummin’ Tings

    Hong Kong’s first Caribbean bar is less than a year old, but has already established itself as a dependable party mecca. With loud music, fiery food and strong, mostly rum-based drinks (obviously), Rummin’ Tings appeals to a diverse crowd that often pours onto one of Hong Kong’s main bar streets. Inside, you’ll find impromptu dance parties, lots of Red Stripe and a bar full of beautiful people.

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    KNOWN FOR

    • bar food
    • full menu
    • singles scene
    • craft cocktails
    • lots of rum
  • 9

    Salon 10

    One of Hong Kong’s hippest bars, this Central lounge is fronted by a Wes Anderson-esque front door and ironic living room décor. Though the crowd can be painfully trendy at times, redemption is found in the bar’s hard-to-find spirits collection and deft bartenders. The bar area can be hectic, but the staff is helpful and outgoing, and, once engaged in conversation, you’re in good hands.

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    KNOWN FOR

    • craft cocktails
    • live music
    • singles scene
  • 10

    The Artesian

    The modern and airy sister restaurant to its namesake in London—which is routinely voted the best bar in the world—this Langham Hotel branch is the place to satisfy all your gin and bourbon needs. A dedicated G and T menu features artisan gins and craft tonics delivered in the Spanish (red wine goblet), Asian (Collins glass) or English (rocks glass) style. You’re in good hands with bartender Rajendra “Rush” Limbu who has designed cocktail programs for many of Hong Kong’s hottest bars.

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    KNOWN FOR

    • classic cocktails
    • craft cocktails
    • lots of whiskey
    • lots of gin
  • 11

    The Black Star

    This local joint in the hot Sheung Wan neighborhood has the vibe of a casual after-work pub. Service is warm and casual, conversation is loud and drinkers often spill into the street. Black Star’s drinks are mostly bright, punchy twists on the classics with a few barrel- and bottle-aged cocktails, but without fuss or pretense. The space—which looks like an American neighborhood bar with exposed brick and a no-frills décor—is open to the street, which means one thing: good people watching. Bring friends, let your hair down and be prepared to talk over the din of traffic.

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    KNOWN FOR

    • bar food
    • craft beer
    • day drinking
    • singles scene
  • 12

    The Envoy

    The very trendy Envoy is one of Hong Kong’s best hotel bars. Upstairs in the buzzing Pottinger Hotel, it boasts a library of a spirits and deft bartenders to employ them. With the exception of The True Blood #2, which arrives in an IV bag, the drinks skew classic with a modern twist.

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    KNOWN FOR

    • outdoor / patio
    • craft cocktails
    • bar food
    • hotel bar
  • 13

    The Quinary

    The first bar to bring molecular drinks to Hong Kong, The Quinary made a big splash when it opened, but has since proved divisive. Though it appears routinely on international lists of the best bars in the world, and a loyal local following keeps it full most nights, some might find the cocktails dated—especially as Hong Kong continues to up its cocktail game across the city—but is still worth a visit.

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    KNOWN FOR

    • craft cocktails
    • bar food
  • 14

    The Woods

    Perhaps Hong Kong’s most high-concept cocktail bar, The Woods is the best place in town to go for a bit of molecular mixology. The Woods is a bar that takes itself seriously: the drink list overflows with exotic tipples and made-in-house ingredients, and the sylvan décor seems better suited to a New Nordic restaurant. Hidden in a basement, smack in the middle of one of the city’s least pleasant bar streets, The Woods is a welcome oasis of sophistication in a Jaeger bomb wasteland.

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    KNOWN FOR

    • craft cocktails
    • cheap beer

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