The pre-date jitters have set in and you’re having a venue-related breakdown. But don’t panic, because cocktail connoisseur Abi Englefield has a tried-and-tested list of date-worthy bars and restaurants around Hong Kong to ensure your evening runs smoothly. Well, as far as the venue goes anyway – you’re liable for your own escape plan.
1. Any Ashley Sutton Bar
Australian bar designer Ashley Sutton is known for creating whimsical settings which are ideal for wooing your date. Aside from the creepy crawlies on display at J. Boroski, he’s nailed romance at his selection of bars across the city. Among my favourites for date night are Ophelia, The Iron Fairies, and Dragonfly in Tai Kwun. But if you really want to push the (love) boat out, then Dear Lilly (pictured above) has it all – floating love letters, fragrant blooms, and more vintage trinkets than a Disney princess can shake a magic wand at!
Ophelia, Shop 41A, 1/F The Avenue, Lee Tung Avenue, 200 Queen’s Road East, Wan Chai
The Iron Fairies, LG, Chinachem Hollywood Centre, 1-13 Hollywood Road, Central, (+852) 2603 6992
Dragonfly, Shop 10&13, G1, Tai Kwun, Hollywood Road, Central, (+852) 2777 2633
Dear Lilly, Shop 4010, Podium Level 4, IFC Mall, 8 Finance Street, Central, (+852) 2771 6060
Kennedy Town is fast becoming Hong Kong’s hippest foodie hangout, so what better way to earn some extra brownie points than by heading to Chino – the creation of former Nobu chef, Erik Idos. This Mexican restaurant uses Japanese ingredients and cooking techniques, resulting in a unique blend of two incredible cuisines. The Marinated Pork Tacos ($40) are addictive and there’s an impressive selection of Tequila ($110 – $330) to sample – just don’t go too wild, or you might not remember your date the next time!
Chino, 1B – 1C, New Praya, Kennedy Town, (+852) 2606 0588
3. Ham & Sherry: Back Bar
Ham and Sherry’s Back Bar, tucked around the corner from the main entrance, is an intimate setting for you and your date to get up close and personal, while enjoying a post-dinner cocktail or two. The bar staff shake up a storm with their menu of movie-inspired cocktails – take my word for it and give Energy Potion ($120) or Dumpling Martini ($120) a try.
Ham & Sherry (Back Bar), 1 – 7 Ship Street, Wan Chai, (+852) 2555 0628
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4. Scarlett Café & Wine Bar
Spread over two floors, this cosy and intimate Tsim Sha Tsui venue offers the perfect setting in which to enjoy some delicious wine, tasty tapas, and gorgeous fromage with that special someone. Open from 3pm on weekdays and 11am of weekends, there’s plenty of opportunity to enjoy the incredible menu of French delights and amazing happy hour deal. And if you swing by on a Wednesday night, you might even lap up some live acoustic tunes (keep an eye on the Facebook page). A perfect hidden gem for date night.
Scarlett Café & Wine Bar, 2 Austin Ave Tsim Sha Tsui, Kowloon, (+852) 3565 6513
5. Tipsy Restaurant & Bar
Located on the first floor of the Little Tai Hang Boutique Hotel, Tipsy is the ideal spot for dinner and drinks in the laid-back Tai Hang precinct. The Oyster and Wine Combo is the perfect way to kick start your date-night feast, serving up four freshly shucked Stella Maris oysters, paired with two glasses of house white wine. With must-order dishes like the Blistered Spanish Red Prawn in Sake and Sesame Oil ($188 each) and food-gasmic Truffle Toast with Parma Ham and Mozzarella ($88) on the menu, you know you’re in for a good time. The Tipsy Cooler ($118) and Sunset Moment ($108) are also delicious and best served outdoors on the terrace.
Tipsy Restaurant & Bar, 1/F, Little Tai Hang Boutique Hotel, 98 Tun Lo Wan Road, Tai Hang, (+852) 2818 8807
6. Honi Honi Tiki Cocktail Lounge
Nestled in the heart of Central, Hong Kong’s favourite tiki bar is a cheeky, laid-back venue with a selection of flamboyant cocktails (flames included) which are sure to impress. I definitely recommend the Bikini Girl ($120) – and if that doesn’t get your blood pumping, then a shot of rum from the bar’s 200-strong selection ought to do the trick. Make the most of Sunset Hour (between 4pm and 7pm daily) to enjoy discounts on rum cocktails, Prosecco, beer, wine, and spirits.
Honi Honi Tiki Cocktail Lounge, 3/F Somptueux Central, 52 Wellington Street, Central, (+852) 2353 0885
Read more! Find out what’s on in The Weekend Ahead
A popular choice with Hong Kong’s gin enthusiasts, this dimly-lit bar on Wyndham Street has a unique cocktail menu as well as a tasty selection of light bites. I recommend the Buttermilk Popcorn Chicken ($108) and Deep Friday Mushroom Bites with Truffle Tartar ($68). When it comes to cocktails, you have to try the KGB ($108). This mountain of flavoured foam, served in an adorable miniature bathtub, complete with mini rubber duck, is sure to win over your date.
Origin, 48 Wyndham Street, Central, (+852) 2668 5583
With regular Mermaid Nights, a stylish ambience, and some of the best seafood I’ve tasted in Hong Kong, Fishsteria is a winner for fans of ocean fodder. You can enjoy casual dining and drinks on the ground floor oyster bar or indulge in a full-on feast on the first floor seafood restaurant. I recommend sharing the Grilled Seafood Platter ($588) which gets you an assortment of scampi, calamari, scallops, and prawns. Delish!
Fishsteria, 111 Queen’s Road East, Wan Chai, (+852) 2343 8111
Who doesn’t love a good pizza? One of Hong Kong’s best-loved pizza restaurants, Motorino, never fails to impress with its consistently high quality and wide variety of flavours and toppings to suit all tastes. I highly recommend the Soppressata Piccante Pizza ($178) for spice lovers, and for the more cautious diner, the Meatball Pizza ($178) with Mozzarella and basil is always a winner.
Read more! Discover the Best Pizza Restaurants in Hong Kong
10. Netflix and Chill
Looking for a slightly more intimate evening? No problem, wow your date with one of these great takeaway options as you cosy up on the sofa.
Online store WINE MOMENTS has a selection of three fabulous wine boxes designed to keep couples happy, whatever type of date night they have planned. Whether they opt for the Kinky Wine Box or Netflix & Chill (which both come with five bottles of vino), or go for the Dinner for Two (which includes three), they’re definitely in for a treat. Ranging from $360 to $580, this is a very reasonable option if you’re looking to impress that someone special during a cosy night in.
WINE MOMENTS, (+852) 2111 9291
Orders over $500 are not charged with delivery across all of Hong Kong
If you fancy something a little more premium, then sift through the huge collection of wines on offer at premier wine retail and auction website Bidvino. You can order a bottle online from around $40 to the $3k mark, and if you’re looking for rarer, vintage wines then you’ll no doubt enjoy bidding for their bottles in the weekly auction and taking advantage of free delivery on all orders above $1k too. Cheers to that!
Bidvino, (+852) 6393 0679