Hong Kong Hotel Bars Defining the City’s Cocktail Scene

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From classics done right, to signature libations that will blow your mind, these are the best hotel bars in Hong Kong.

Hong Kong’s cocktail scene has come a long way over the past decade, with a plethora of great cocktail bars and speakeasies opening up on both sides of Victoria Harbour. However, the city’s best drinks were traditionally found in Hong Kong’s world-famous five-star hotels, which had the resources and pedigree to create world-class drinks programs for their local and international guests alike.

Iconic hotel bars like the Lobster Bar & Grill and The Artisan have not only captivated our palates but also acted as nurseries, training and inspiring the next generation of bartenders and filling the ranks of the city’s fledgling mixology movement. If you’re looking for beautifully-crafted classic cocktails, imaginative new libations, and some of the most refined spaces in town, you should be heading to one of these leading hotel bars.

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Caprice Bar - From classics done right, to signature libations that will blow your mind, these are the hotel bars that are driving the city's cocktail scene.

Caprice Bar

While we often think of the Blue Bar when we think Four Seasons Hong Kong, you might consider heading for the more intimate Caprice Bar, set adjacent to the hotel’s Michelin-starred French restaurant. The bar, which recently made the 34th spot on the Asia’s 50 Best Bars list, is one of the city’s best-kept secrets.

Helmed by acclaimed cocktail maestro Lorenzo Antinori, who also oversees the cocktails menus of all Four Seasons properties in North Asia, Caprice Bar has just four cocktails (and two non-alcoholic concoctions) on the menu.

You’ll come here for the ritual and the authentic tributes to the French classics, which showcase the best produce of different provinces and can be paired with the city’s most indulgent bar snacks, including a range of caviars, boutique French cheeses, cold cuts, pata negra croque-monsieur, and Wagyu beef burgers.

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Red Sugar - From classics done right, to signature libations that will blow your mind, these are the hotel bars that are driving the city's cocktail scene.

Red Sugar

Located at the Kerry Hotel Hong Kong, Red Sugar is the city’s rooftop garden hideaway and in addition to its spectacular views of Hong Kong Island, it also drives the local cocktail scene with innovative and inspiring libations. The bar’s new cocktail menu, created by mixology Simon Kong and dubbed Our Little Time, showcases a collection of drinks that hark back to the post-war era and the eight industries which defined Hong Kong in the 60s to 80s.

Look out for the likes of A Golden Age, a modern take on the Bee’s Knees that pays tribute to the city’s agricultural roots and which combines Sichuan green pepper-infused gin, lychee, tomato water, lemon juice, honey, and dried squid shreds; and My Wife is (Always Right), a curious take on the Manhattan with local staple lemon cola, slow-cooked Coke Zero, and vanilla bitters.

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Lobster Bar & Grill - From classics done right, to signature libations that will blow your mind, these are the hotel bars that are driving the city's cocktail scene.

Lobster Bar & Grill

As we’ve reported earlier, this iconic bar, located at Island Shangri-La, recently introduced a new cocktail menu called The Archivist. However, the Lobster Bar & Grill has been maintaining classic cocktail traditions and also acting as a nursery of sorts for the city’s bartending ranks for decades. Despite its jewellery box interiors, the Lobster Bar is an unashamedly masculine space (although there’s no doubt it attracts its fair share of alpha ladies), and whether you’re taking up a perch at the bar, on the expansive patio, or at the blue-hued lounges you’ll drink well.

At the Lobster Bar the classics are always made with respect and reverence, seasonal additions like the Fish House Punch – with Martell Noblige cognac, Appleton Estate rum, peach brandy, Benedictine, fresh lemon juice and a soda top – are awesome thirst quenchers, and with one of the most expansive spirit selections in town, there’s something for every palate.

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The Envoy - From classics done right, to signature libations that will blow your mind, these are the hotel bars that are driving the city's cocktail scene.

The Envoy

Although probably not technically a ‘hotel bar’, The Envoy, located at boutique hotel The Pottinger in Central, is the brainchild of acclaimed local mixologist Antonio Lai so you know the drinks will be perfectly executed and always imaginative. Inspired by the city’s rich maritime trade history, this is a cocktail lover’s dream, with eye-catching libations, although they do tend to be sweeter and more instagramable than classic and booze laced.

The Envoy’s menu ranges from the cooling and quenching Waterfalls, with thyme-infused Absolut Elyx, elderflower cordial, homemade thyme syrup, yuzu juice, and soda water; to the Stranger Fruit, with coriander-redistilled gin, passionfruit puree, simple syrup, egg white, Angostura bitters, and seven-spice powder.

However, the bar has also just launched A Settler’s Memoir, a new colonial-themed seasonal cocktail collection, which takes inspiration from the colonial era of the 1600s through to the 1900s. Look out for the Unfinished Puzzles, with hop-infused pisco and cachaça, mango juice, honey, lemon juice, Earl Grey and butterfly pea teas, blackberry and mango glass, and mint; or the Black Mirror, with tequila, mezcal, ancho chilli-infused chocolate liqueur, Maraschino liqueur, black walnut bitters, Angostura aromatic bitters, and a spiced chocolate rim.

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Vibes - From classics done right, to signature libations that will blow your mind, these are the hotel bars that are driving the city's cocktail scene.

Vibes

The sexy watering hole at The Mira in Tsim Sha Tsui, Vibes recently launched a new cocktail series dedicated to the elements (and not the music act) Earth, Wind, Fire, and Water. Primary forces of nature, these elements have been guiding and defining our lives for millennia and now the bar’s mixologists have presented these powerful forces for your drinking pleasure.

Drinks from the new list, which is available until September and are best enjoyed in one of Vibe’s breezy courtyard cabanas, includes Earth, with Chairman’s spiced rum, Mancino Amaranto vermouth, Taylor’s fine tawny port, Fleur Figue liqueur, and Bitter Truth Orange & Chocolate bitters; and Fire, with Mina Real Mezcal, homemade cinnamon syrup, Boiron passionfruit, and guava puree, and fresh guava.

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Darkside - From classics done right, to signature libations that will blow your mind, these are the hotel bars that are driving the city's cocktail scene.

Darkside

A sexy, dark, and seductive jazz bar at the Rosewood Hong Kong, Darkside is the city’s newest hotel bar and one that takes its mixology seriously. The venue’s dark spirits menu is extensive, to say the least, and includes some choice drops ranging from the single-harvest tawny port from 1969 to Grande Champagne cognac.

The cocktails, created the hotel’s Director of Bars Arkadiusz Rybak continue the Darkside (a nickname for Kowloon) theme and focus on time-honoured traditions updated with innovative techniques. There’s a host of classic cocktails, some of which you won’t easily find elsewhere in the city, as well as inspiring signatures like The Yamen, with Pierre Ferrand cognac, wax, raw honey, bee pollen, osmanthus, and frankincense – not exactly ingredients you can pop down to Wellcome to buy when you run low.

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Sugar - From classics done right, to signature libations that will blow your mind, these are the hotel bars that are driving the city's cocktail scene.

Sugar

One of Hong Kong’s sexiest rooftop bars, Sugar has been the place to see and be seen at since the EAST hotel first opened, with a talented and award-winning team behind the mahogany always looking for innovative ways to recreate classic concoctions.

The bar recently launches a duo of healthy cocktails for lads looking to watch their GI intake. Siu Tim 2.0, named for the Chinese word for “less sweet”, is a citrus-forward blend of Tanqueray gin, green apple, red and white grapes, a hint of lavender, and honey. The sweetness and sourness of the natural fruits balance perfectly with the use of honey, an alternative to high GI sweeteners.

For something a little headier, try the Pumping JUD, an elevated take on the whisky highball with Jack Daniels Honey Whiskey, agave, fresh lemon juice, and high-quality soda water. The agave not only reduced the GI levels of the drink but also accentuate the natural nutty notes of the honey whisky to perfection.

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Cafe Gray Bar - From classics done right, to signature libations that will blow your mind, these are the hotel bars that are driving the city's cocktail scene.

Cafe Gray Bar

Long one of Hong Kong’s sexiest and loftiest hideaways, Cafe Gray Bar, adjacent to acclaimed restaurant Cafe Gray Deluxe, has pioneered many a drinks trend in the city – it was home to the city’s first decent pisco sour. This is a great place if you’re looking to impress; the views are awesome, the service is crisp and professional, the vibe – especially at the bar – is always bright and welcoming, and the classics are crafted with dedication and attention to detail.

The bar does some great non-alcoholic drinks – the Empty Pocket, with black tea, lemon, passionfruit, elderflower, and red dates is especially refreshing – as well as a series of its own signature libations. Try the Earl Grey Martini with Beefeater gin and demerara; or the Copper Storm, a soul-warming mix of Gosling’s Black Seal rum, Sailor Jerry Spiced Rum, falernum, lime, ginger, and ginger beer. If you’re more of a day drinker, the bar’s weekend brunch includes bottomless Bloody Marys, the bacon-infused rum version of the classic.

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Ozone Hong Kong - From classics done right, to signature libations that will blow your mind, these are the hotel bars that are driving the city's cocktail scene.

Ozone

The lofty cocktail bar atop The Ritz-Carlton Hong Kong has been a place of pilgrimage for lovers of great views and even better cocktails since it opened, and while Ozone regularly does pop-ups, guest bartending shifts and seasonal additions, it’s the bar’s signature Five Elements cocktails that most people want to try.

Crafted by Mexican bar manager Oscar Mena, the five creations are named for the Chinese elements – metal, wood, water, fire, and earth. While some of the drinks are a little light and fluffy for our taste, you might like to try the Wood (above), made with Alipus Mezcal that’s aged in wooden barrels and which includes chocolate bitters and Fernet Hunter. Alternatively, Earth features shiitake mushroom-infused rum, which gives an earthiness to the drink, as well as non-alcoholic Seedlip Garden, and pandan syrup.

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PDT Hong Kong - From classics done right, to signature libations that will blow your mind, these are the hotel bars that are driving the city's cocktail scene.

PDT

The overseas outlet of New York’s acclaimed Please Don’t Tell speakeasy, PDT Hong Kong, located at the Landmark Mandarin Oriental, is one of the city’s top hotel bars. Gain access to this cocktail divan via a hidden door placed in a phone booth and prepare yourself for some of the best drinks you’ll find anywhere in Hong Kong.

Not only does PDT pay suitable homage to the classics, but award-winning mixologist Kervin Unidohead, the venue’s new head bartender, is also lending his inspiration to the bar’s signature libations, which range from the Cooler, Calamansi & Collected, with Lustau Manzanilla sherry, Tanqueray 10 gin, lemongrass-ging tea, calamansi shrub, and club soda; to the Mezcal Mule, with Del Maguey Vida mezcal, lime juice, passion fruit, ginger, agave, cucumber, and chili.

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Artesian Hong Kong - From classics done right, to signature libations that will blow your mind, these are the hotel bars that are driving the city's cocktail scene.

Artesian

A Hong Kong import from the Langham London, where the Artesian bar is one of the city’s most lauded cocktail corners, the Artesian at The Langham Hong Kong is the epitome of elegance and sophistication. With Art Deco lines and an enviable selection of boutique bourbons and gins, the bar is helmed by some of the city’s top mixologists and serves a wide array of drinks, ranging from an entire menu dedicated to gin and tonics using small-batch spirits and boutique tonics with insightful garnishes, through to the bar’s own formulated and barrel-aged negronis, which are served with a selection of tapas dishes.

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About Author

Nick Walton is a Hong Kong-based photojournalist and Group Managing Editor for Artemis Communications, producers of Alpha Men Asia, JETSETTER Magazine, Explorer Magazine, The Art of Business Travel, Mirandus, IKHLAS, The Journal and The Edition.

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