Header image courtesy of The Aubrey
Never short of speciality cocktail bars, artisanal spirits, wine lodges, or new-fangled alcoholic concepts, Hong Kong surely boasts one of the greatest collections of watering holes in the world. Amidst all of these spectacular options, the dangers of choice paralysis might seep in, making it difficult to find the libation to land on. Fortunately, there is a growing number of bars in town that take matters into their own hands, offering up omakase cocktails that will suit your favourite aromas and flavours, all the time, every time.
What once stood as Sai Ying Pun’s neighbourhood izakaya joint Okra has now been transformed into a hybridised and one-of-a-kind bar concept helmed by award-winning mixologist Ezra Star. Located on the second floor of Korean noodle bar Dam:a, the stripped-down, white-tiled walls exhibit the names of regular patrons and seasonal offerings in marker scribbles, setting the tone for a divey atmosphere.
Spotlighting locally farmed ingredients from Hong Kong-based farmers as well as unique seasonal produce, Mostly Harmless shakes up delightfully fresh and bespoke cocktails that make the most out of the market’s best pickings.
Mostly Harmless, 2/F, 110 Queen’s Road West, Sai Ying Pun
A card-carrying member of the Asia’s 50 Best Bars list, The Aubrey at the Mandarin Oriental brings a cocktail-focused experience to match its elevated Japanese izakaya fare. Cordoned off into a bar section on the twenty-fifth floor of the luxury hotel, the plush surroundings ensconce guests in a beautifully designed drinking den that offers an intimate ambience alongside first-class views of the Victoria Harbour.
Brandishing custom concoctions from behind the bar, the head of the bar programme and in-house mixologists Devender Sehgal showcases top distilled Japanese spirits, including shōchū, umeshu, and Okinawan awamori—a rare and antique choice.
Sehgal also offers some delightful and uncommon sparkling sake varieties, which have been marked as the in-house signature to try. Reserve your spot early to guarantee a seat at the bar for an evening of splendid, made-to-measure libations.
The Aubrey, 25/F, Mandarin Oriental, 5 Connaught Road, Central
Head up this seemingly unremarkable commercial building along Lockhart Road and push past the doors of the fourth floor to find a Ginza-style wonderland of artisanal whiskies.
Carrying a “library” of around 700 selections from premium Japanese distilleries, aged barrels, as well as lesser-known independent producers, rest assured that every sip you take has been chosen and poured with precise and passionate care. Reflecting its beverage sensibilities is the outdoor terrace area, with wooden furniture crafted from the ultra-rare mizunara wood (Japanese oak) used to make distillation barrels.
Its usual menu is comprised of reinterpreted classics like the Mizunara Negroni and the martini, alongside exclusives that utilise handpicked whiskies and spirits, such as the elderflower-and-hazelnut-tinged Nagomi with Japanese whisky or the Omugi, spun from Campari and Hachi Mugi sherry. Look to award-winning bartender Masahiko Endo to enjoy omakase cocktails that showcase the fragrances, flavours, and dynamics of Japanese and Scottish whiskies, all the while attuned to your personal taste.
Mizunara: The Library, 4/F, Kiu Yin Building, 361–363 Lockhart Road, Wan Chai
From its streetside shopfront in Wan Chai to Basehall in Jardine House, Crew is one of the many well-known names rotating in and out of the dazzling food hall. Once the lights dim and the clock hits 5 pm, coffee cups are replaced with cocktail shakers, and the selection of wines, champagnes, and scotches make an appearance.
Melding together aromas and ingredients from the café-slash-bar’s daytime curation, Crew’s flair for clever pairings is demonstrated in the Earl Grey G&T, which is infused with house-made Earl Grey gin, plus the Nutty Highball, which shows off the nutty undertones of blended coffee against the smoke of a deep whisky.
On top of expertly flitting between brews and alcoholic bevvies, Crew also offers the one-of-a-kind Serious Hangover package that consists of bespoke cocktails, potentially resulting in what its harbinger of a name insists. Don’t say we didn’t warn you!
Crew, LG9, Basehall, Jardine House, 1 Connaught Place, Central