Whatever your choice of poison, there is a bar for everyone — from the loud and bustling streets of Lan Kwai Fong to the lively craft beer joints of Kowloon.
And, of course, there’s always that category of clandestine speakeasies to class things up.
Here at Coconuts, we’re still kind of suckers for that kind of Prohibition era-style hidden bar room, and are always on the lookout for some of Hong Kong’s best-kept (or worst-kept) secret bars.
So, here it is: our favorite speakeasies to grab a drink for an intimate date night, or a quiet drink with friends.
Tucked away behind the vegetable stalls on Wellington Street is a black door and a door bell. All you have to do is press the door bell, and you will be taken downstairs to a dimly-lit speakeasy for a bit of clandestine drinking and dining. A small cosy basement bar with leather seats, a few tables, and the sounds of jazz playing over the speakers, guests will feel like they have been taken back to Prohibition era New York.
Along with the classic Negronis and Daiquiris, 001 carries an impressive collection of whiskies, and their signature drink is an Earl Grey martini. The food isn’t half bad either, and the gruyere grilled cheese sandwich is the dish that you’ll see nearly everyone at the place get. Perfect for a date night or with a small group, but not ideal for groups of more than six people.
5 Shop 1, L/F, Welley Building, 97 Wellington Street, Central
+852 2810 6969
Mon, 6pm-1am; Tues to Thurs 12pm-2am, Fri 6pm-3am, Sat 7pm-3am
Whisky And Words is a small and cozy “travel book-themed” bar that caters to both whisky connoisseurs as well as newbies who are interested in trying and learning to enjoy whisky — we especially like that the staff and setting here aren’t stuffy or overly pretentious, as many Hong Kong whisky joints often become. The bar stocks an armory of 300 whiskies, including bottles from beloved distilleries like Glenfiddich and Hibiki, as well as some quirky limited editions like the Game of Thrones single malt collection, and the 2011 Royal Wedding edition.
7 Shin Hing Street, Sheung Wan
+852 9889 8590
Mon-Sun, 5pm to 1am
Hidden behind this Chinese stamp shop in Sheung Wan is Mrs. Pound, a retro ’60s bar and restaurant that serves a killer bloody mary and one of the best brunch sets in Hong Kong. Alongside its small but quirky selection of cocktails, it serves Asian street food favorites — like mee goreng, Indonesian rendang — alongside fusion dishes like a spicy Thai pesto linguini and avocado fries.
6 Pound Lane, Sheung Wan
+852 3426 3949
Sun to Thurs 12pm-11pm, Fri to Sat 12pm-12am
With its display cabinets of silver-handled umbrellas, The Fox Shop looks like an umbrella boutique. But press down on the right umbrella handle, then you will unveil a secret doorway into the Foxglove, a travel-inspired bar and one of the best jazz clubs in Hong Kong that also serves decent Cantonese banquet-style cuisine. So-called because it was inspired by the adventures of a fictitious English gentleman called Mr. Minza, who named the bar after his beloved’s favorite flower in a bid to win her over.
Opened by the same owners and designers behind Mrs. Pound, this bar is decked out like a first-class luxury liner from the 1950s, and their VIP booth is designed to look like a first-class train carriage. Spacious, plush upholstery and with regular jazz nights every week, it makes for a nice chance to play Mad Men’s Don Draper (or Joan Holloway) sipping at classic cocktails while watching a live band perform. Great for a date night with live music, and for slightly bigger groups.
G/F, 18 Ice House Street, 6 Duddell Street, Central
+852 2116 8949
Mon to Thurs 12pm-3pm and 5pm-1am, Fri 12pm-3:30pm and 5pm-3am, Sat 5pm-3am
Hong Kong is a stressful city, and if gin is what the doctor ordered, then Dr. Fern’s is the place for you. Hidden behind two doctor’s office doors — one normal-sized and one small — is this botanical-themed gin parlor that is staffed by bartenders in lab coats serving up cocktails using locally-sourced herbs and botanicals with premium gin. From 2pm to 5pm, they also serve Alice in Wonderland-inspired tea sets for those of you planning on celebrating your merry unbirthday.
Shop B31A, First Basement Floor, Landmark Atrium, 15 Queen’s Road Central, Central
+852 2111 9449
Sun to Thurs 2pm-1am, Fri to Sat 2pm-2am, Sun 2pm-1am
This old Sai Ying Pun table tennis parlor was was given a new lease on life as a gin and tonic bar, which now carries an impressive collection of internationally made gins (mostly from Spain). Hidden behind Ping Pong’s bright red door and sign with the words “ping pong city” in Chinese is a staircase that leads you to a spacious bar drenched in neon red lights and decked out with comfortable chairs and rug-draped floors.
129 Second Street, L/G Nam Cheong House, Sai Ying Pun
+852 9835 5061
Mon to Sun 6pm-11:30pm
For those of you who want a whisky at a bar with that old sophisticated British gentleman’s club vibe, then Stockton is the place for you. Complete with vintage leather sofas, low lights, and a cigar room, here’s the place to enjoy specially crafted cocktails and high-quality whisky while listening to live music. Although hidden away in a dark alleyway just off Wyndham Street, Stockton does regularly attract a sizeable crowd, so it’d be wise to make a reservation ahead of time.
32 Wyndham Street, Central
+852 2565 5268
Mon to Wed 6pm-2am, Thurs to Sat 6pm-4am
The Old Man is a new bar that opened in August and proudly proclaims itself as the first Ernest Hemingway-themed bar in Hong Kong, but with a distinctly Asian touch added. The bar, which takes its name from Hemingway’s 1952 novel The Old Man and the Sea, about an aging Cuban fisherman who struggles with the biggest catch of his life, pays tribute to one of American literature’s greatest novelists and his love of a good drink. There are the usual suspects like the Negroni and the whisky highball, but the real stars of the show are nine house cocktails which include the papa doble, a Daiquiri variation that Hemingway famously enjoyed (a lot of) at El Floridita bar in Havana.
LG/F, 37 Aberdeen Street, Central
+852 2116 8949
Mon to Sat 5pm-2am
For those of you who want a quintessentially New York bar but don’t want to pay the pricey airfare just to get it, then good news: The Big Apple’s favorite speakeasy Employees Only has a bar in Hong Kong. This speakeasy opened in June 2017, and is one of the bar’s four outposts, after Singapore (which opened in 2016) and Miami.
Alongside its signature Gimlet cocktail — made with gin, house-made lime cordial, agave and kaffir lime leaves — there are other classic cocktails and tasty food served to you in an art deco-inspired space. But watch out for the fortune teller tucked away behind a velvet curtain.
G/F, 19 Lan Kwai Fong, Central
+852 2468 2755
Mon to Sun 6pm-4am
Inspired by the opium dens of 19th century Hong Kong, Ophelia is one for you if you like something over the top, opulent, er, orientalist, or just have a penchant for anything that involves peacocks. Like Foxglove, Ophelia is also inspired by the story of an eccentric and fictitious bird shop owner named Mr. Wong, who had an obsession with peacocks — in particular, one named Ophelia.
Designed by Ashley Sutton (who last year designed the “Japanese-inspired fantasyland” Yojimbo), this opulent bar is hidden behind an exotic bird shop, but pull back the curtain and you will find yourself inside an exotic wonderland where ladies dance on the bar and sit on swings inside birdcages. Ah, what a backdrop to your cocktail sipping.
41A, 1/F The Avenue, Lee Tung Avenue, 200 Queen’s Road East, Wan Chai
+852 2520 1117
Mon to Thurs 6pm-2am; Fri to Sat 6pm-3am
For those who want something a bit more sleek and dialed back on that opulence factor, then there’s J. Boroski, also designed by Ashley Sutton. This time, instead of peacocks, the walls are covered with shiny scarab beetles and spiders. Hidden behind an unmarked door on a dark alleyway off Hollywood Road, J. Boroski promises what they’ve called a “cocktail concierge service.”
1 Hollywood Road, Central
+852 2603 6020
Sun to Wed 6pm-2am; Thurs to Sat 6pm-3am
Though this Japanese whisky bar is not particularly hard to find, you do need to know which nondescript wooden wooden on Peel Street to open. This little gem also offers a decent wine list — 250 choices, actually — for those in your party that might not like whisky. Once inside the simly-lot, modern-meets-old school bar, choose from 150 whiskies from Japan, Scotland, Taiwan, and more.
35 Peel Street, Central
+852 2884 9566
Mon to Sun 6pm-12am
This small, funky bar in Kennedy Town also serves fusion food like tacos, jalapeno poppers, tuna tataki, and wagyu burgers. Decked out with birdcages and furry chair backs, this is the place for a fun cocktail — but be aware, it gets very crowded. Their take on a Bloody Mary is called Bloody Ho’s, while the “Missy Moonshine” and “Miss Lavender Ho” carry on with that theme they’ve got going on. They offer sake, beer, wine, and classic cocktails too.
48 Forbes Street, Kennedy Town
+852 2817 3808
Mon to Sun 4pm-11pm
This Central lounge aims to be sexy with that whole boudoir thing — red velvet decor and lavish chandeliers, yup, all that. Perhaps better for a first date than drinks with colleagues, and there’s also live jazz and blues performances. Relax into the upholstery with a Porn Star Martini, Smooth Criminal, or Boudoir’s Secret and soak in the atmosphere, which fans say reminds them of the absinthe and pastis bars of Paris.
65 Wyndham St, Central
+852 2530 3870
Mon to Sun 6pm-11pm
Another Japanese whisky offering, this place is notable for having a whisky library tucked away in its interior on the fifth and sixth floor of a discreet Tsim Sha Tsui building. Fans also say that, far from being whisky snobs, the Japanese owner and the staff are pleasant (and pleased!) to be asked to make suggestions based on whisky experience and tastes. They also have plum wine cocktails for those that aren’t whisky fans. Reservations are recommended on the weekend.
30 Mody Rd, Tsim Sha Tsui
+852 2724 3828
Mon to Sun 6:30pm-12am
To find out a bit more about this Mexican spot in Lan Kwai Fong, check out our full story. In short, however, this place specializes in tequilas and mezcal, and no one will look at you askance if you order a shot. In fact, it’s encouraged.
Also their Mexican fare, like tacos and guacamole, are pretty solid. Try the sweet and sour Tamarindo, the Spicy Slow Burn, or the refreshing Good Clean Livin’. Bet you never thought you’d hear those words to describe a drink at a tequila bar.
21 D’Aguilar Street, Lan Kwai Fong
+852 2970 3887
Mon to Fri 11:30am-2am, Sat to Sun 11:30am to 3am
Also, you must be hungry after reading that. Why not check out these other food and beverage pieces?
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They’re all sold exclusively at The Coconuts Shop – at a special introductory price of S$29 until Sep. 30, 2020!