Originally published by Abi Englefield. Last updated by Jen Paolini.
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!
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 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
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
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 3 pm on weekdays and 11 am of weekends, there are plenty of opportunities 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. A perfect hidden gem for date night.
Scarlett Café & Wine Bar, 2 Austin Ave Tsim Sha Tsui | (+852) 3565 6513
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
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 4 pm and 7 pm 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
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 a mini rubber duck, is sure to win over your date.
Origin, 48 Wyndham Street, Central | (+852) 2668 5583
This one’s for the ladies and their girlfriends. At XX, Rosewood’s female-only speakeasy, not only can you lap up spectacular harbour views, but you can do it alongside sophisticated cocktails and gilded light bites for a luxurious pampering experience. Slip your feet into velvety slippers and sink into a host of magnificently plush armchairs while sipping on whimsically named drinks like The Macho ($130) and Mr Right ($130). Reservations must be made in advance, as that’s the only way you’ll gain access to this exclusive and secretive boudoir.
Rosewood Hong Kong, 18 Salisbury Road, Tsim Sha Tsui | (+852) 3891 8888
Take your date to the Italian seaside at Osteria Marzia! This coastal-inspired Mediterranean restaurant draws upon the colourful and diverse cuisine that elevated Italian food to the forefront of international dining. With a menu that represents the flavours of Campania and Amalfi through to Puglia and Sicily, you can’t go wrong with the awe-inspiring Fire-Roasted Seafood Tower ($888) and zesty Tuna Tartare ($298) with celery, orange, and Calabrese crumbs. Share a Red Prawn Tonnarelli ($288) between two and finish off on a sweet note with their dolci selection. The dreamy, maritime décor and nautical design accents surrounding you will make anyone feel like they‘re on a sunny honeymoon!
Osteria Marzia, G/F, The Fleming, 41 Fleming Road, Wan Chai | (+852) 3607 2253
Many minds might turn to Amber at the MO when fishing around for the ideal romantic spot to bring your boo, but we want to do you one better: Check out quiet and humble SOMM instead, nestled in-between chef Richard Ekkebus’s famed restaurant and Sushi Shikon. Perfect for oenophiles, this understated restaurant and bar stocks over 1,600 different labels of whites, reds, rosés, sparkling wines, and more.
Signatures like Japanese Pork Belly, BBQ Sauce & Hakata Cabbage ($328) and Potato & Black Winter Truffle Gratin Dauphinois ($198) will keep you sated, while over 110 different wines and sakes offered by the glass will keep you happily imbibed. Though you may not be feasting on harbour views at SOMM, rest assured you will be soaking up a next-level kind of intimacy with your partner only afforded by such a private atmosphere.
SOMM, 7/F, The Landmark Mandarin Oriental, 15 Queen’s Road Central | (+852) 2132 0033