Ah, Hong Kong. You’ve done the Wan Chai Wednesdays, the Peak, The LKF Fridays, the Big Buddha, Stanley Market, and you’re just like, dude, it’s way too hot and rainy and now I need to be in Bali pronto. But you can’t. Your cousins Rebecca and Kevin are in town and you have to show them around. So where do you take them?
Somewhere uniquely Hong Kong, that’s where. Anyone can find a crappy Irish Pub on the main street of any major city, but not everyone can find a hole in the wet market. Here are the recs:
Some people come for the steak, but that’s like reading Playboy for the articles. We go for the roof, the beautiful I’M IN HONG KONG rooftop bar. Cheaper than Sevva and more soulful than Armani Prive, Wooloomooloo provides great views that make you feel like you’re part of the urban pulse. Bring your guests here as soon as they land. Yup, like pronto. And have a gin and tonic. Maybe two.
Roof, The Hennessy, 256 Hennessy Rd., Wan Chai, 2893 6960
001 is a 1920s style speakeasy bar with jazz, well dressed waiters, and seats for everyone (no standing – call for reservations). It has pretty good drinks but we’re recommending it primarily for the experience of finding it. The address is 97 Wellington Street but might as well be the unmarked black door in the wet market. That novelty is what you gotta play up: take your guests to the wet market to buy some cherries. Then say, “oh, just one more thing” and ring the doorbell in front of a random door. When they open it, head down like a boss and order an Old Fashioned. Garnish with your freshly bought cherry.
L/F, Welley Building, 97 Wellington St, 2810 6969
The Soho institution is at an unmarked blue door featuring inexpensive and delicious strawberry and banana daiquiris and chocotinis so strong we’re reminded of those one tequila two tequila three tequila floor t-shirts. It’s got a fun old Parisian vibe and is an excellent way to start your weekend. Make sure you arrive before 10 pm (they open at 9) or it will get packed and the vibe will change from French Salon to French Subway Car. Also, it’s like 70 bucks for a cocktail. C’est magnifique!
Shama Soho, 9-11 Staunton St 2857 2586
If you haven’t been here, you probably aren’t doing Hong Kong right because summer, beaches, and bars go together. Mavericks is legit and relaxed, features decent beachside food, and is a fantastic stopover on that hike you only do when your guests are in town so you can seem outdoorsy. Bring your guests and have a beer and relax, (don’t do it, where you want to go to it).
Pui O Beach, South Lantau Rd., Lantau Island, 5662 8552
We end on a spot for the drinks, not the ambiance – though that’s pretty good too. Butler is an old-school Japanese bar that makes classic cocktails the right way: classically. There’s not much to say except that it’s the best cocktail bar in Hong Kong. If you don’t know what to get tell them what base you like and they’ll whip up something delish. We like their perfect martini, Blood and Sand, and Aviation. But the standout is the Bloody Mary made with salt, pepper, freshly cut tomato (juiced), clamato juice (not as weird as it sounds). It’s like no Bloody Mary you’ve had before. And boom! you’ve just thrown down the cocktail bar gauntlet for your guests to reciprocate when you swing by their town.
5/F, Mody House, 30 Mody Rd., Tsim Sha Tsui, 2724-3828