Header image courtesy of Zzura
From lush cocktail bars inspired by lost cities and desert oases to sparkling disco-slash-restaurants serving up Wagyu steaks alongside martinis by the bottle, here are the best places to drink in Hong Kong this autumn.
Located within the cavernous, subterranean space that previously housed Drop, this latest opening from the team behind Shady Acres—like everything else they do—defies definition. With full dinner service, a packed roster of live musical entertainment, (very) late hours, and a hefty sprinkling of Shady stardust, QGC is the kind of interesting, idiosyncratic nightlife venue that Hong Kong has been lacking.
The food menu is full of modern American comfort fare like truffle toasties ($128), vitello tonnato ($168), and Wagyu bavette ($288)—ask for the bone marrow sherry luge when you’re done—while an expansive wine menu comprises esoteric New and Old World labels in every variety imaginable.
On the cocktail front, a concise offering of eight signatures includes well-thought-out craft bevvies like the cognac mojito ($130)—a concoction of Pierre Ferrand 1840, Pernod absinthe, lime, mint—and the blood-red Goodie Two Shoes ($100), which also comes in bottle form ($500).
Quality Goods Club, B/F, On Lok House, 39–43 Hollywood Road, Central
Note: Enter down the steps on the corner of Hollywood Road and Lyndhurst Terrace
Regardless of whether you were able to get one of the coveted dinner bookings at Ami, the newly opened “bistronomie” restaurant’s on-site bar, Wood Ear, is well worth a visit. Stocked with over 400 labels of whisky, many of which are rare pours sourced from private collections and auctions, Wood Ear is a dream come true for those with a penchant for the water of life.
Located in the former Armani Privé space in Landmark Chater, the bar offers the same panoramic views of Central that made its predecessor so popular. While it is primarily a bar, visitors to Wood Ear can also enjoy a menu of refined brasserie-style bites like garlic snails ($200), steak tartare ($240), and truffle fries ($88) while sipping on whisky-based cocktails.
Try Whisperer ($148)—shiitake-infused Maker’s Mark 46, black fungus, honey syrup, and herbal bitters—for something deep and smoky, or It’s Complicated ($148), a Bulleit Rye-based concoction spiked with ginger and coriander, for something with a herbal, spicy kick to it.
Wood Ear, Shop 302, 3/F, Alexandra House, 18 Chater Road, Central | (+852) 3185 8396
Named after Zerzura, a lost city in the Sahara, Zzura brings a much-needed dose of Middle Eastern mixological representation to Hong Kong. Hidden in an upstairs space on a busy stretch of Hollywood Road, walking into Zzura feels like discovering the lost city for yourself, with a Bedouin tent-inspired canopied entrance, tapered arches, water fountains, and intricate cutwork screens creating the feeling of a serene desert oasis. Besides standard drinks, there is also a selection of nine signature cocktails and a varied shisha menu.
Designed by co-founder Gaggan Gurung and bar manager Princebir Singh, the signature cocktails are all influenced by the rich flavours of the Middle East, with two main categories—spice-inspired and fruit-inspired—spiked with ingredients like saffron, sumac, turmeric, dates, and figs. Within the former, we like the well-rounded Saffron Milk Punch ($130), made with rum, saffron, pineapple, cardamom, cinnamon, and clarified milk, while the beeswax gin- and green chartreuse-based Reincarnation ($120) is a must-order from the food-inspired half. The Middle Eastern flavours are carried through into the shisha menu, where chai masala, Kashmir spice blend, and rose sit alongside more standard options like mint, watermelon, and lychee (all starting from $420).
Zzura, 2/F, Amber Lodge, 23 Hollywood Road, Central | (+852) 2639 9155
From the outside, Dirty Laundry appears for all intents and purposes to be a laundromat—a groovy one, at that, with purple lights and a retro checkerboard tile—but pull open the door on the second panel to the left and you’ll find a drinking den bathed in the warm glow of a huge chandelier and neon lights. With jumbo-sized shots (nicknamed “longs”), beer pong, beer towers, and a stage-grade smoke machine, Dirty Laundry is the kind of place to have fun—a lot of it.
Sip on rich cocktails like the Dirty Coco, made from crème de cacao, Baileys, and chocolate syrup, or go for something lighter with the Dreams of Malibu, an alcohol-free combination of passionfruit, lemon, mint, and tonic. Settle in for the evening with a shisha pipe (starting from $420)—flavours range from the aptly named the classic (apple and mint) to more specialist options like cappuccino and peachy paan. Customise your pipe to your exact preferences with different bases—take your pick from gin, red wine, and milk—to better complement the flavour of your choice.
Dirty Laundry, 100 Lockhart Road, Wan Chai
For the first time since founders Agung Prabowo and Roman Ghale departed, acclaimed Hemingway-inspired cocktail bar The Old Man is set for its annual refresh of the drinks menu. In the hopes of creating an interactive, sensorial experience for customers thirsty for spectacle and escapism, operational director Nikita Matveev has veered away from “comfortable” drinks, choosing instead to push the menu into a more inventive, cerebral direction. Inspirations range from perfumery to Russian bread wine, Chinese sour plums, and of course, Hemingway, resulting in a diverse collection of drinks that work as a whole.
We like the Over-the-Hill ($120), a tangy and lightly carbonated cocktail that resembles a martini but tastes of baijiu, salted lime, and sour plum, while the vetiver- and tonka-scented Doomsday ($120) is an absolute gift for the fragrance lover, with a flaming garnish of steel wool that perfumes the entire glass with lush sandalwood. (Don’t worry, it never comes into contact with the actual drink.) The boundary-pushing approach continues in the physical menu itself, which affords each drink its own page with its own unique visual and tactile design.
The Old Man, Lower G/F, 37–39 Aberdeen Street, Central | (+852) 2703 1899
At Soho restaurant and bar The Joy House, one specific influence presides over founder Chanel Cheung’s cocktail menu—Japan. Besides utilising Japanese flavours and spirits—most notably, whisky and gin—Cheung has also taken inspiration from the characteristic Japanese attention to detail, with many of his 13 signature cocktails made with herbs and ingredients produced in-house.
Those who enjoy a good cuppa must try My Cup of Tea ($168), a two-course cocktail inspired by tea ceremonies, featuring hot green tea followed by a chilled concoction of elderflower liqueur, yoghurt, and apple juice. More experimental flavours can be found in the roe-topped King Crab Martini ($138), while a cloth wrapper, wooden box, and cloud of oak-scented smoke give the citrusy, whisky-based Jumanji ($148) an air of intrigue.
The Joy House, G/F, 11 Staunton Street, Soho, Central | (+852) 9781 6881
While it is technically autumn now, the balmy weather we are still experiencing calls for iced treats, and lots of them. Beat the heat at Aqua Spirit, where you’ll find a new, seasonal menu of icepop cocktails comprising five fruity and boozy ice lollies (starting from $128), each of which is served in a glass of sparkling wine. Flavour combinations include the tropical-tasting cantaloupe, mixed berries, and mango and a floral, berry-forward bouquet of blueberry, rose, lychee, raspberry, and white peach, which are paired with vodka and sake, respectively.
Downstairs at the restaurant proper, a new menu of internationally inspired “travel-tails” showcases Aqua’s Italian and Japanese influences through 10 cocktails and six mocktails. Light, crisp flavours of apple, sakura, and hojicha permeate the sake-based Fuji Fizz ($168), while the Grape Effect ($128) uses red grapes, orange- and sage-infused elderflower, lemon, and bergamot soda to evoke the vineyards of Tuscany.
Aqua, 29/F & 30/F, One Peking, Peking Road, Tsim Sha Tsui | (+852) 3427 2288