Header images courtesy of @littlefoodiejojo and @sundaysspirits (via Instagram)
We’ve all been there; you’ve dropped by your local bar for “just one drink” after work, which quickly turns into two, then three—and suddenly, your stomach is grumbling and you settle for whatever crisps or peanuts are on hand.
But it doesn’t have to be that way—there are plenty of drinking establishments out there where there’s equal focus on both the drinks and the nosh. Gastropubs, restobars, brewpubs—whatever you want to call them, here are our favourite casual-fun drinking spots where the food is great, regardless of whether you’ve got your beer goggles on.
Instead of tacos and guac, the latest venture from Westside Hospitality—the team behind 11 Westside, The Wilshire, and Westside Taqueria—dishes up hearty Korean fusion fare. Inspired by Korea’s streetside pojangmacha (포장마차; Korean food stall) culture, OBP (or “Old Bailey Pocha”) is a casual, fun spot that delivers on the kind of punchy small plates that go so well with a cold drink—think spicy rice cakes ($88), boneless fried chicken ($108), and short rib dumplings ($98).
If you’re prepping for a long night of soju and makgeolli, check out the spicy braised pork ribs ($328), which comes on a stove to keep it piping hot while your server carves raclette cheese over the dish.
Prefer cocktails to neat spirits? Try group beverage director Daniel Eun’s inventive menu of Korean concoctions—the Dokdo (sour apple) gimlet ($120) is a sake-based twist on the classic gin drink, while the Negroni-inspired Red Devil 02 ($120) marries Bols genever, Mulassano sweet vermouth, and bitters with persimmon, ginger, and cinnamon.
OBP, 3–5 Old Bailey Street, Central
If you’ve spent any time nosing through the crystal eggs and Mao memorabilia on Sheung Wan’s famous Upper Lascar Row, chances are you’ve noticed Blue Supreme and its gorgeous neon-lit corner spot opposite Chiu Kee Metal Works. This beloved after-work hangout is famed for its wide range of craft beers, with a special focus on “live beers”—a.k.a. beers bottled with live yeast and culture—from Belgium and the US.
The food menu is similarly well-thought-out, with plates like the kimchi shakshuka ($140) and buttermilk chicken waffle ($148) making it a hit with the brunch crowd. Every dish is designed to go with a specific beer, but you can also taste the selection in case you feel like creating your own pairing—just don’t dunk their signature chocolate chip cookies ($60) in anything other than the accompanying mint-infused milk.
Blue Supreme, G/F, 21 Tung Street, Sheung Wan | (+852) 5998 3088
Canto gastropub 65 Peel left a vacuum when it abruptly closed its doors at the end of 2020, but thankfully the team is already back at it with a brand-new location just down the road in Central. Streamlining their Chinese and English names under the cheeky moniker Ho Lan Jeng (if you know, you know), the new space is bigger, brighter, and just as playful when it comes to the modern Cantonese fusion cuisine on offer.
While the menu is not a carbon copy of 65 Peel’s, there are some familiar favourites—namely the fried chicken with hot sauce ($78) and 24-hour slow-cooked Iberico char siu egg rice ($178)—as well as some tasty-sounding new additions, like the sage chicken breast with dan dan-style cold tofu ($118). They’re still waiting for their alcohol licence to come through, but you can expect the same dedication to excellent local craft brews as at their old location—and there are 12 taps behind the bar, meaning that you’ll have your pick of draughts!
Ho Lan Jeng, 2/F, LKF29, 29 Wyndham Street, Central | (+852) 2342 2224
Passionate pub-goers will need no introduction to The Globe—this Soho institution has been slinging pints and pies to happy regulars for over 17 years. Enter through its deceptively narrow entrance on Graham Street to be transported into a bona fide British pub with a warm, inviting ambience, a shockingly extensive menu of beers and ciders (including the hard-to-find Crabbies ginger beer!), and footy on the telly.
The food, however, is a step above your run-of-the-mill pub grub, with refined plates like smoked mackerel pâté, steak tartare with artichoke & parmesan salad, and sake and mirin braised pork belly featuring on their ever-changing food menu alongside those famous pies. If you’re not much of a beer drinker, there’s also a concise list of well-thought-out cocktails—including one of Hong Kong’s best Bloody Marys!
The Globe, 45–53A Graham Street, Central | (+852) 2543 1941
As casual late-night drinking dens known for serving good food, izakayas (居酒屋; drinking house) are essentially Japan’s answer to the gastropub, and one of our favourite under-the-radar izakayas around is Jimoto Sakaba in Causeway Bay. With its convivial atmosphere, wide selection of sakes and small plates, and lantern-lit balcony over-looking Times Square, dining at this little izakaya feels like visiting a friend’s restaurant after-hours.
It’s a cosy spot that would be equally suitable for a date night or catch-up with friends—especially with people who appreciate interesting and lesser-known sakes. Both the drinks and food menus are ever-changing, but the mentaiko-stuffed chicken wings and grilled yakitori are perennially popular, while the dried cod chips go down a treat with whatever yuzu or citrus sake is on offer. If you’re a fan of espresso martinis, you may also enjoy Jimoto Sakaba’s homemade coffee shochu!
Jimoto Sakaba, Unit 2D, 2/F, Percival House, 38 Percival Street, Causeway Bay | (+852) 5702 6228
When it comes to putting equal focus on food and drinks, what better pairing could you ask for than a beer company and a celebrated chef? This joint venture from the folks at Young Master Brewery and chef-entrepreneur May Chow (of Little Bao fame) takes Chow’s flair for modern Cantonese grub and pairs it with the homegrown brewery’s easy-drinking beers.
Signature dishes include the mapo burrata ($148) and flower crab pasta ($298), but the cumin-dusted Tai Hang fries ($78) are perfect for snacking on if you need a moment to pore over the extremely detailed beer and cocktail menu. Besides brews from Young Master, you can also find beers (bottled, canned, and draught) from other local and international breweries, such as Yardley Brothers, Heroes Beer, and Behemoth Brewing Company.
Second Draft, G/F, 98 Tung Lo Wan Road, Tai Hang | (+852) 2656 0232
Inspired by the Cornish fishing port of the same name, Padstow is a charming sea-blue three-storey pub in Sai Kung serving modern British pub grub. Of course, considering its namesake, homemade Cornish pasties ($158) are a given—and the ones here are stuffed with beef, swede, onion, and potato, then baked to order and served with gravy and chips.
Other pub classics like steak & stout pie ($158) and bangers & mash ($138) are also available, though we’ve got our eye on the fresh fish goujons ($88) for that Cornish seaside experience (sans chip-nicking seagulls). The tipples range from imported ciders and beers to an extensive wine menu of Italian, Australian, and Spanish wines.
Padstow Restaurant & Bar, 112 Pak Sha Wan, Sai Kung | (+852) 2335 5515
If you’re a fan of the “high-low” style of food that brought us gourmet mac and cheeses and refined spam musubis, then you’ll love The Madhouse CWB. You can’t miss this Causeway Bay-based spin-off of Mong Kok’s Madhouse Taproom, with its carnival-themed décor and faux merry-go-round bar that literally lights up the intersection of Leighton Road and Sports Road.
Like with its sister establishment, the food here is a wholly indulgent affair, with lobster Madnedict ($158) featuring the brunch classic with lobster tails and fried mantou buns, as well as the whole roast chicken ($328) marinated in craft beer, and the evil spam fries with Yu Kwen Yick spicy mayo ($76).
In keeping with the Madhouse brand’s long-running partnership with Amundsen Brewery in Oslo, there are over 50 Amundsen bevvies available, including the famous “dessert in a can” series featuring beers like Rocky Road Ice Cream, Cookies and Cream, and Pistachio Cookie Ice Cream.
The Madhouse CWB, Shop 2, Chinachem Leighton Plaza, 29 Leighton Road, Causeway Bay | (+852) 2891 1948