Tired of the same old Lan Kwai Fong bars? Can’t face another round in a dingy Wan Chai sports bar? We feel the same — that’s why we’ve compiled our 14 favourite cocktail and speakeasy bars in Hong Kong, located in and around busy Central, trendy Soho, and party district Wan Chai.
These venues are a fantastic way to spice up date night, after-work cocktails, or enjoy a much classier version of Saturday night on the town. Experience the thrill of Prohibition-era drinking with these hidden-away venues serving crafted cocktails dreamt up by master mixologists, and get ready to sip in style in a speakeasy. Cheers!
This relatively new entrant on the city’s bar scene has generated a lot of buzz for its theme — a speakeasy inspired by Hong Kong’s social distancing restrictions during the Covid-19 pandemic that saw restaurants close at 6pm, and bars shut down for months altogether. The entrance to the venue is marked by a toilet on Hollywood Road, a nod to the hard times that the city’s F&B industry faced between 2020 and 2022. The cocktail menu of this intimate 30-seater features around 25 handcrafted concoctions divided into three categories: Experimental, Vintage, and Remastered Classics.
Mizunara: The Library, which is among the top 100 best bars in Asia for 2023, is modelled on a Ginza whiskey bar. Its sophisticated interiors — think plush leather seating, a Japanese garden, and an imported wood bar — are a stark contrast to its nondescript entrance in an uncharacteristically quiet corner of Wan Chai. Once you take the elevator up to the fourth floor, settle down and take in Mizunara’s 700-plus stock of whiskey imported from India, Taiwan, Japan, and Scotland. And if you want to jeuje up your experience, make sure you’re here before 8pm to get in on an omakase tasting session.
Tel:+ 852 3571 9797
Sip a glass full of New York chic at this Mandarin Oriental speakeasy. There’s a fabulous late-night cocktail menu alongside plenty of wine and nibbles, with an added air of luxury as you dine in style at the Landmark’s most renowned hotel. We’d recommend PDT for a classy date night or special celebration, with a food menu curated by the Mandarin’s head chef. To find the entrance, you may want to look for a quiet place on the mezzanine level of the hotel to make a phone call.
Tel: +852 2131 0110
The iconic 001 — billed as Hong Kong’s first speakeasy — closed at its long-time subterranean location on Graham Street and recently reopened at new digs above Tai Kwun. It’s a hard-to-find spot as its doors look almost exactly the same as the historic prison’s original doors, and only visitors with a keen eye will be able to quickly spot the vintage doorbell on 001’s entrance that distinguish it from the other doorways. The drinks are curated by Sky Huo, one of 001’s original bartenders from its initial opening 12 years ago, and feature in a seasonal-changing menu.
Tel: + 852 2810 6969
Sai Ying Pun’s trendiest spot for a cool belowground gin & tonic is definitely one to add to the happy-hour list — speciality gins and exciting flavours await you at Ping Pong, and you’re a stone’s throw from other Hong Kong watering holes and local foodie haunts nearby. We’d recommend getting there early as tables fill up quickly — visit, and you’ll know why! If you’d like to find the gintonería the organic way, look for a bright red door on Second Street that may seem ‘off limits’.
Tel: +852 9835 5061
Know a whiskey lover? Treat them well with a trip to Stockton, where each drink is crafted to perfection each night. Aside from fine whiskey, Stockton’s cocktails take us back to the Neolithic era with everything from Avocado Liqueur to Ghee-infused Tanquerey (we’ve never heard of that, either). But don’t be mistaken, there’s nothing primitive about the time and craftsmanship behind each drink at Stockton, so make sure to visit for an unforgettable speakeasy experience. On the corner of Wyndham Street and Glenealy, go into the dark hallway by the barber shop that’s least likely to lead to something interesting — you’ll be rewarded for your curiosity.
Tel: +852 2565 5268
Just what the doctor ordered: everything at Penicillin is zero-waste, so you can sit back and sip responsibly at this concept bar in the heart of Central, which bagged the No. 26 spot on 2023 Asia’s 50 Best Bars List. The sustainable menu is a twist on classic French and Italian cuisine with fusion elements to boot. Stop by for lunch, dinner, or drinks and take a peek at the in-house fermentation lab where food waste is given new life again and turned into exquisite cocktails and treats. To find Penicillin, look under Paisano’s Central for the plain sign and tiled entranceway.
Tel: +852 9880 7995
Combine dinner and drinks at Hugger Mugger, the speakeasy that sits in front of Pirata Group’s renowned Indian-style Chaiwala restaurant in Central. You’d definitely walk past the entrance on Wyndham Street if you weren’t looking for it — the colourblock entrance bears little evidence of the bar behind it except for a subtle sign and the numbers 43-55. The bar transports you back in time to British India, with the salon creating cocktails with eclectic drinks inspired by Pink Floyd, Shakespeare, and other British cultural greats.
Tel: +852 2362 8998
This cosy 18-seater tucked away in the Winner Commercial Building on Lockhart Road is best known as a sake speakeasy — they do, after all, have 30 labels of the famed Japanese rice wine — but you can also knock back shochu, whisky, fruit liquor, and Suntory beers on draft if you like. Pair your drinks with their ever-changing Cantonese-style soup or even bring your own food at no extra charge.
Tel: + 3188 9201
One of Hong Kong’s classic night-out cocktail bars, Le Boudoir is known for its funky decorations and great music provided by trendy live DJ sets. In Central, look for the small, inconspicuous doorway under a yellow umbrella on Wyndham Street. If you’re past Pastis, you’ve gone too far! Personal favourites at this secretive party spot include the delectably moreish Dirty Martini cocktail as you dance the night away under UV lights with friends.
Tel: +852 2530 3870
The Diplomat is known for its chintzy decorations and wide range of classic and modern cocktails that suit all palates, with master mixologist John Nugent providing something for everyone. Go inside and into the depths of the Car Po commercial building, which is across from the red-bricked seating area on Pottinger Street.
Tel: +852 3619 0302
The Pottinger’s walk-in speakeasy offers a fun twist on the hotel experience. Simply pick up your keycard from The Reception on the third floor, and tap the card to access Room 309. We’ve enjoyed their ‘invisible menu’, where the bartenders create clear cocktails so that your preconceptions about colour and flavour don’t influence your tasting experience. This is an intimate location and perfect for date nights and catch-ups with friends.
Tel: N/A – walk-ins only!
A delectable wine and whiskey bar in the heart of Soho, serving up Japanese classics and tasting sets for the most experienced connoisseurs among us. French wines are in vogue at this speakeasy, with curated bottles old and new. There are cocktails on offer making use of Nocturne’s many malts, but we’d recommend sticking to the classics and sharing a bottle of something special with your loved ones — it’s so worth it. Hidden in plain sight among the bars of Peel Street, look for a grey facade and wood sliding door.
Tel: +852 6464 1598
Not just another speakeasy, The Poet is an innovative hidden bar with everything from whiskies, gins, wines, and cocktails inspired by the classics. There are often guest mixologists on hand, offering new and innovative drinks for adventurous customers, and free-flow cocktails at their Saturday Brunch at The Langham. To get inside The Poet, look carefully on Staunton Street for the chrome door with a small window in the middle.
Tel: +852 9880 1550 (WhatsApp only!)
A truly harmonious marriage between dim sum and drinks happens at Foxglove, with an ever-changing menu and rare cognac spirits hailing from the 1930s onwards, meaning that there’s always something new to try. Look for the Foxglove umbrella store on Ice House Street, Central. Once you enter through the secret door, the décor is equally lush, with antique umbrellas adorning the walls. Make sure to look the part as Foxglove’s dress code means you should look as classy as their interiors!
Tel: +852 2116 8949
No, Money Heist was not filmed in Sheung Wan, yet, behind that large bank vault on Queen’s Road Central, is hidden an intimate whiskey bar, with an impressive collection of liquor that connoisseurs will love. As the name suggests, our thirsty friends will also find wines, champagnes, and cocktails prepared by a bartender who will love to share about the spirits and drinks you can enjoy there. Snacks and cheese platters are available for the hungry ones!
Tel: +852 2505 9988
Taking its inspiration from Ernest Hemingway, author of multiple acclaimed classics and titan of the literary world, The Old Man is inspired in concept and design by the great man himself with an adventurous range of cocktail ingredients that draw on Hemingway’s travels and accumulated culinary expertise. To find the entrance in Soho, look for a warm yellow glow a few steps from a stairway off of Aberdeen Street. Hint: Why can a cat jump from such precarious heights?
Tel: N/A, contact email@example.com for reservations.
Header image credits: Punch Drink