We know what it's like during a sweltering Hong Kong summer: many hours spent pondering what to wear out that you won't immediately sweat through, whether to don wellies and pack an umbrella or roam about in a sundress and espadrilles... On second thought, maybe staying in with the fan blasting right in your face and guzzling down a leftover bottle of wine is the easiest option. But we think these new bars are worth getting out of the house for.
Korean makgeolli at Ssal Bori Ssal
This new eatery slash bar in TST's Little Korea is the first and foremost authority on Korean makgeolli in Hong Kong, specialising not only in boutique makgeolli brands but also the award-winning Boksoondoga variety, which is artisan made and produced with natural carbonation. When at Ssal Bori Ssal, choose from original, flavoured and premium makgeolli and follow up with iconic pairing dishes. Spicy dishes and pork are the traditional choices. Ssal Bori Ssal's pancake selection does not disappoint: seafood ($80), kimchi ($80), potato ($52) and even more eccentric options like burdock root ($58) and stuffed sesame leaf ($52) are all on the menu. If you're in a sharing mood, the braised pork trotter ($260) and spicy seafood and fish cake soup ($170) will do the trick. Owner SJ is passionate about familiarising Hong Kong with this classic Korean beverage and hopes to introduce the recently revived makgeolli culture to local diners.
78 Kimberly Road, TST, 2736 8444
Prohibition-style drinks at Employees Only
The wait is over! NYC speakeasy Employees Only is now open in Lan Kwai Fong and ready to serve. What started off as a low-key spot for off-duty hospitality staff to get a taste of life on the other side of the bar and kitchen after hours, EO has since acquired a dedicated cult status and innumerable accolades, including a slot on the World's 50 Best Bars list eight times in a row. To our delight, EO Hong Kong follows along the same lines; we'll be getting the same acclaimed cocktails, with a side of exuberant spirit and fuss-free comfort food. Dinner is available until midnight, and late-night menus are available until 3am for when you get those post-drinking nibbles. The Ready Fire Aim, made with mezcal, lime, honey, pineapple and hellfire bitters, is a must-try.
19 Lan Kwai Fong, LKF, Central, 2468 2755
British-inspired cocktails at Gough's on Gough
If we had to guesstimate, we'd say that the news of Gough's on Gough's opening has been on our Foodie radar for quite awhile now. Almost a year later, interior brand Timothy Oulton's very first restaurant and bar is finally slated to open in late June. We'll be expecting vintage British-esque tipples and cocktails, including some inspired by national icon Sir Winston Churchill, and elegant seats at the glamorous crystal and marble bar. Modern British cuisine expertly prepared by Chef Arron Rhodes, previously of Dot Cod Seafood Restaurant and Oyster Bar here in HK and Restaurant André in Singapore, will also be on the menu.
15 Gough Street, Central, 2473 9066
Arabian delights at Lilya Moroccan Lounge & Bar
This Moroccan-inspired lounge promises to transport you to the vibrant streets of Marrakech and evoke sensations of Arabian nights, all without leaving well-worn Wyndham Street. Dining Concepts' newest venture, Lilya is an exuberant vision: bold colours, authentic accessories sourced from Moroccan souks, patterned fabrics and tasselled pouffes are just a few of the items used to settle you into this elegant, exotic hideout – the mosaic of babouche slippers in the entrance hall is sure to be an Instagram hit. Award-winning mixologist Younes Ateyah rules the roost with fruity cocktails, homemade syrups and traditional North African ingredients. We've been told that you can't go wrong with the Oriental Fashion ($120) and the signature mojito ($120).
2/F, 77 Wyndham Street, Central, 2526 2578
Cocktails in a can at KWOON by The Woods
Devastatingly creative tipples are a trademark of expert mixologist and Foodie Forks 2017 Best Mixologist winner Victoria Chow, and her newest project, KWOON by The Woods, is wholly reinventing how they're served to you. Stunningly designed aluminium cans, refreshing cocktail recipes and a minimalist aesthetic come together to form a concept bar on Staunton Street where customers can savour her new creations on tap – or canned on the spot for a takeaway experience (we know how you like to bar-hop when in SoHo). From the Thai-inspired Tom Yum Cooler, spiced up with vodka, bird's-eye chilli, lemongrass and kaffir lime, to the Barley Sunny, a citrusy thirst quencher made with gin, grapefruit, honey and dried tangerine peel, KWOON is serving up brews as potent as they are playful. And, really, it's just a cool space to hang out.
64 Staunton Street, SoHo, Central, 9862 8031