Header image courtesy of ORI-GIN (via Facebook)
Originally published by Sophie Pettit. Last updated by Jen Paolini.
Whether you prefer a classic gin and tonic, a goblet adorned with the fanciest garnishes you can imagine, or even the occasional rubber duckie, we really have it all in the 852. So without further ado, we share the best gin bars around Hong Kong. Let the fun be-gin!
Although it’s just three years young, The Old Man is probably the most famous bar in Hong Kong now due to it being awarded the title of The Best Bar in Asia 2019. Inspired by Ernest Hemingway’s The Old Man and The Sea, the team at The Old Man came up with a list of libations inspired by the author’s favourite drinks, spirits, and flavours. This intimate speakeasy also offers one of the most innovative gin-infused cocktails in town, from curry-leaf-infused gin used in The Sun Also Rises—1929 ($120) to pink guava gin used in Winner Take Nothing—1993 ($120), they’ve got the most colourful and best-named collection of cocktails available in Hong Kong.
The Old Man, LG/F, 37 Aberdeen Street, Soho, Central | (+852) 2703 1899
Housing an impressive selection of gin, New Punjab Club takes us back in time to when gin reigned above all spirits in liberated Pakistan, something that they took away from British officers when the region was colonised in the nineteenth century. The gins are all lined up for display on a vintage wooden cart, surrounded by the smell of all kinds of different spices coming from the kitchen. The Monkey 47 ($268) is a house signature G&T, also because it uses one of the world’s finest botanical spirit, that blends 47 different botanicals so the flavour changes every year. There is also lavender, dried orange wheel, and Mediterranean tonic water to complete the picture!
New Punjab Club, G/F, World Wide Commercial Building, 34 Wyndham Street, Central | (+852) 2368 1223
While this reputable haunt prides itself on its high-end signature and premium cocktails created by award-winning mixologist Antonio Lai, it doesn’t take gin too seriously. Hence, gin lovers with a sense of humour will no doubt appreciate the famous KGB: Kyoho Grape Bathtub ($128). This best-selling creation is quite famous on the local bar scene, and for a good reason—it’s delightfully playful and damn delicious. Served in a special tea bubble bath, with gin and fruit juices, complete with edible bubbles and your very own rubber duckie—what’s not to love?
Whatever your preference, ORI-GIN has everything you could want in a gin bar—a seemingly endless menu of perfectly executed drinks (featuring 15 homemade gin infusion flavours), a classy and convenient setting, and dashings of fun! No wonder it was voted one of Asia’s 50 Best Bars in 2016.
ORI-GIN, Ground Floor, 48 Wyndham Street, Central | (+852) 2668 5583
A stone’s throw from ORI-GIN is Quinary, a long bar which is just as playful with its cocktails. This popular haunt boasts the same award-winning mixologist as ORI-GIN, which becomes apparent when you spot cocktails like the Cool Lagoon ($140) and Crystal 10 ($130) on the menu. Quinary is all about “multisensory mixology” and the bartenders go to great lengths to stimulate your five senses, so you can rest assured that you won’t be disappointed when your concoction arrives at the table.
Among our favourites is the strong and earthy Gum Zhum ($120), made with blaze-mushroom-and-lily flower-redistilled Tanqueray gin, Campari, Carparo Classico infused with coffee beans, Siberian ginseng, and goji berries over kombu block ice. Wonderfully creative and seriously tasty, this joint earns its number 15 spot on Asia’s 50 Best Bars for 2018.
Quinary, 56–58 Hollywood Road, Central | (+852) 2851 3223
Feeling a little under the weather? Maybe Doctor Fern can help you out with a stiff G&T. This quirky speakeasy completely wins us over with its impressive 20-page drinks menu and fictitious backstory, centring on the eccentric physician and his quest to create the most fabulous “remedies” for his patients. As you walk through the mysterious Waiting Room door of this basement bar in the Landmark, you are instantly transported to a whimsical wonderland filled with dreamy cocktails served by “physicians” in white lab coats.
Whether you prefer fruity, floral, spicy, or sweet, you’re sure to find the perfect “antidote” to cure your ailments. We personally find the Folkington’s Indian Tonic ($155) with Bauhinia Gin, grapefruit peel, juniper berries, and edible flowers very effective. The citrus-based London Essence Indian Tonic ($145), blended with Two Moons Distillery Gin and dusted with fresh lemon peel, pink pepper, and cardamom, also works wonders for a cold. Cheaper than an actual trip to the doctor’s office in Hong Kong!
Dr Fern’s Gin Parlour, Shop B31A, First Basement Floor, Landmark Atrium, 15 Queen’s Road Central, Central | (+852) 2111 9449
Concealed behind an ominous-looking red door in Sai Ying Pun, this converted ping pong hall is not only one of our favourite hidden bars in Hong Kong, but also one of the most generous when it comes to servings. You’ll need two hands to swirl the gigantic goblet of gin, weighed down by equally gigantic ice cubes. While these might not be the cheapest drinks in town (they range from $120 to $180), they certainly last a long time, and with a menu featuring 50 different gins, you’ll want to take your time choosing.
If that’s too overwhelming, though, we thoroughly recommend the Raspberry gin ($150) from Barcelona, combined with Fever-Tree elderflower tonic and fresh raspberries, or the zesty Pomada cocktail ($150) with lemon juice and mint. Then it’s time to settle down on the chic, leather couch and lap up the stylish Spanish gintonería vibes.
Ping Pong 129 Gintonéria, 129 Second Street, Nam Cheong House, Sai Ying Pun | (+852) 9835 5061
Make mine a goblet! With its flamboyant list of signature cocktails, each served in a glass as big as your head, it’s no wonder Spanish bar and restaurant, The Optimist, is a favourite among gin lovers across the city. We’re drooling at the mouth just reminiscing about the Windmill ($120) with Beefeater gin, Calabro Bergamotto liqueur, basil shrub, lemon juice, and habanero bitters. The Black Forest ($140) isn’t half bad either, blending Monkey 47 gin with pomegranate, grapefruit bitters, lime juice, tonic, and rosemary—and we haven’t even got to the list of 18 gin and tonics yet! From classic sips to over-the-top tipples—like the Tarte Tatin ($120) with Beefeater gin, caramel, and apple juice—the choices are seemingly endless.
The Optimist, 239 Hennessy Road, Wan Chai | (+852) 2433 3324
We’ve saved the fanciest till last. This luxury, award-winning bar concept from London takes centre stage when it comes to some of the finest classic cocktails and expertly made G&Ts in town. Whether you choose to play it safe with a classic London martini ($120) or get cheeky with a Hanky Panky Re-Invented ($110), there’s plenty of choice on the cocktail menu to keep you happy.
The G&T menu is just as impressive, packed with gins from England, Scotland, Germany, and beyond—plus your own choice of tonic. If you swing by from 6 pm any day of the week, you can enjoy Aperitivo Hour which gets you a complimentary Italian platter of meats, cheeses, and home-made artisan bread when you order two selected drinks. Oozing nostalgic romance and old-world charm, this sophisticated bar is the dream spot for gin lovers to unwind in.
Artesian, The Langham, 8 Peking Road, Tsim Sha Tsui | (+852) 2132 7898
Pulling double-duty as a coffee shop by day and a gin bar by night, West Kowloon Cultural District’s Rest Coffee Gin takes no rest at all. Don’t expect the average drinking experience here; with nearly a hundred varieties of different gins packed into this harbourside establishment, there are seemingly endless G&T combinations to be had. If the idea of customising your drink has your head spinning, fret not—there’s a small menu of specially curated libations. For something fruity and botanical, try the Clover Club ($98), with lemon, raspberry syrup, Bianco vermouth, and egg white. We would also recommend the Southside ($98), with notes of lime and mint. What can be better than taking in the panoramic views of Hong Kong Island across Victoria Harbour than with a gin cocktail in hand? Cheers!
Rest Coffee Gin, Shop G/F–04, Art Park, West Kowloon Cultural District, Tsim Sha Tsui | (+852) 2697 8938