Originally published on 4 May 2019 by Amy Lam. Last updated on 4 December 2019 by Inés Fung.
Drinking whisky is so much more than just sipping on a glass—it’s a whole experience, from the swirling of the smooth liquor to the clinking of ice cubes and the heavy aroma as you take that first deep breath. To help you enjoy your single malt or blend, we present you with the best whisky joints Hong Kong has to offer.
ThirtySix Bar & Co
Located on the second floor of Amber Lodge on Hollywood Road, ThirtySix Bar & Co oozes 1920s nostalgia, with an elegant interior inspired by luxury train carriages from the Art Deco era, which proved to be popular settings in which to enjoy highball cocktails while travelling across Europe. Those who appreciate tradition will enjoy a refreshing Highlander ($140) or zesty El Mismo ($100) highball, while more adventurous punters might be tempted to try the smoky, mezcal-based 21st-century California ($140) served with a dark chocolate, or the B for Mayor’s Boilermaker ($120) topped with a layer of beer foam. While you’re there, be sure to check out the Vault, a luxurious, neon-bathed bottle keep where regulars are known to store their most precious spirits.
ThirtySix Bar & Co, 2/F, 23 Hollywood Road, Central | (+852) 2336 1411
Whisky & Words
Tucked away behind an easy-to-miss door on the steps of Shin Hing Street, this understated watering hole offers a laid-back, intimate vibe and purposely shies away from the grandeur of many of Hong Kong’s whisky bars in an attempt to make the spirit more approachable. With muted tones, a high ceiling, and wallpaper which resembles a library of books, the bar offers a refreshing take on the whisky experience, boasting a menu of expertly balanced cocktails without the flashy presentation, and a fantastic happy hour which features the likes of a Coffee Old Fashioned ($88) for a bargain. Regular drinks include the must-order Tangy and Smoky ($150), made with Talisker 10-year-old single malt and topped with rich foam made from egg white powder, and—for those who love their gin—the Dr Dre ($140), which blends Hendricks gin with homemade rose orgeat syrup, lime juice, and green apple. The perfect spot to relax with friends with excellent drinks and zero intimidation.
Whisky & Words, G/F, 7–9 Shin Hing Street, Sheung Wan | (+852) 9889 8590
Safe Bubbles & Malt
Safe Bubbles & Malt is definitely a whisky bar that shouldn’t be missed. As you press the button at the entrance, the gigantic steel door slides open to reveal a safe containing some of the best whiskies you will find. Being a modern whisky bar, Bubbles offers more than 700 types, including some of the rarest on the market, meaning you will get to explore a taste you have never experienced before—we love the 21-Year-Old Glenfarclas ($198), with its incredibly smooth and long-lasting notes.
Safe Bubbles & Malt, Shop 2, 1/F, Manhattan Avenue, 225 Queen’s Road Central | (+852) 2505 9988
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Enjoy your glass of whisky surrounded by hundreds of lush, green plants at The Pawn’s Botanical Bar. Alternatively, you can have it overlooking the passing trams, while lounging in one of the venue’s leather chairs. The Pawn has some of the best and most unique cocktails in town, but what perhaps you didn’t know is they also have an impressive selection of whisky, from 12-Year-Old Highland Park ($130) and Monkey Shoulder ($150) to Old Malt Cask, Sherry Butt ($270) and 12-Year-Old Hakashu ($300).
The Pawn, 62 Johnston Road, Wan Chai | (+852) 2866 3444
Concrete walls, wooden furniture, leather sofas—Ginger is more than your regular whisky bar. Owner Tony Leung is highly knowledgeable and passionate about whisky and travels the globe to learn about how to customise the different tasting sets (prices here range from $120 to $ 480). If you like smoky whisky, then you have to try the Islay Island with Heavily-Peated Port Charlotte Scottish Barley, 12-Year-Old Caol Ila, and Kilchoman Loch Gorm 2014.
Ginger, G/F, 12 On Wo Lane, Central | (+852) 2868 0486
Mizunara: the Library
Dark wood, dim lights, and jazz—Mizunara: the Library definitely stirs up a good old-fashioned, if tradition is what you’re after. You can choose your whisky from its impressive collection of over 700 bottles, and the cocktail comes with a sugar cube at the bottom of the glass, which slowly melts for slow-releasing sweetness. But if you’re after something a little different, the Smokey Manhattan ($250) is a must-try. Then it’s time to sit back, relax, and sip the night away in style and comfort.
Mizunara: The Library, 4/F, Kiu Yin Building, 361–363 Lockhart Road, Wan Chai | (+852) 3571 9797
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Hidden down a small alleyway in Central, Stockton will charm you away with its dark, elegant, and comfy atmosphere—not to mention its incredible selection of fine whiskies. If you’re up for some quirky whisky-based cocktails, be sure to try the Psycho Bunny. Personally, though, we like to keep it simple with a glass of Hibiki 21, while sitting quietly on the sofa and listening to the live music.
Stockton, 32 Wyndham Street, Central | (+852) 2565 5268
Executive Bar is the place to be if you’re looking for a relaxing drink after work. All you need to do is describe your ideal whisky to Ichiron, the bartender, and he’ll take you a step further to finding your perfect whisky. Offering over 300 imported whiskies, including a great range from Japan, each one is served with a hand-chipped ice cube in a whisky tumbler. It gives you the most incredible sensation when you swirl your glass of Ichiro’s whisky blend Hou-Oh while looking at Hong Kong’s stunning skyline.
b.a.r. Executive, 27/F, Bartlock Centre, 3 Yiu Wa Street, Causeway Bay | (+852) 2893 2080
Chin Chin Bar
Chin Chin Bar at the Hyatt Regency boasts a cosy lounge bar area with one of the most unique traditional Chinese-style interior designs, as well as a cool, minimalist outdoor patio. Kick back with a glass of Auchentoshan Three Wood ($125) or Benromach Sassicaia 2004 ($125) as you overlook the bustling streets and neon lights of Tsim Sha Tsui. This is truly an amazing place to unwind and relax while having a chat with your friends.
Chin Chin Bar, Hyatt Regency, 18 Hanoi Road, Tsim Sha Tsui | (+852) 3721 7722
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A well-hidden whisky bar with some top-notch, rare whiskies, Club Qing offers whisky lovers the chance to explore different styles and distilleries in the heart of Hong Kong Island. If you want to be impressed, then try its Hanyu Playing Card whisky series—it’s delightful!
Club Qing, 10/F, Cosmos Building, 8–11 Lan Kwai Fong, Central | (+852) 9379 7628
Though Nocturne is a small bar, it certainly doesn’t lack in atmosphere and great whisky. The venue gives whisky lovers a sense of relaxation and tranquillity that is most needed at the end of the week. The Brun Steward Whisky Tasting Set ($380) is one of the best on offer, as you get to enjoy a 12-Year-Old Deanston Single Malt, 10-Year-Old Tobermory, 12-Year-Old Bunnahabhain, and 10-Year-Old Ledaig. The subtle hint of sweet cinnamon and twist of orange from the Deanston 12 Years Old is unforgettable, while the soft sherry and nutty coastal freshness of the Bunnahabhain linger on your taste buds.
Nocturne Wine & Whisky Bar, 35 Peel Street, Central | (+852) 2884 9566
Photo credits to @missnomnomz
Butler Whisky Bar
Butler was established by award-winning master mixologist Masayuki Uchida, and meticulousness is the key here. Uchida brings Japanese precision and quiet passion into the 20-seat whisky den, where he stocks an impressive collection of single malts and blends from all over the world. Japanese mainstay Hibiki is a highlight here, best served with a single crystalline hand-chipped orb. The recently popular Nikka and Yamazaki brands are also on the menu. For those who are loyal to their Scotch tipples, Butler is one of the only whisky bars in town that serve the 15-year Usquaebach, a complex scotch that’s reminiscent of a rich and spicy apple pie. Feeling peckish? There’s also a Japanese-focussed snacks menu. As typical in Japanese bars, there is a minimum charge for a seat at Butler ($200 per person) as well as a $30 cover fee.
Butler Whisky Bar, 6/F, Mody House, 30 Mody Road, Tsim Sha Tsui | (+852) 2723 4318
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Tiffany’s New York Bar
Visiting Tiffany’s New York Bar is a trip down memory lane with its Roaring Twenties-inspired decor and vibrant line-up of live music. There’s a whisky for everyone at Tiffany’s, with more than 300 labels of fine Bourbon, Scotch, Single Malt and beyond. Tiffany’s also matures their own signature cask whiskies for 6-months to create finishes like Irish double-barrel finish and sherry blends. When you’re here, you’ve got to try the decadent Whisky Chocolate Cake, a layered chocolate cake covered in whisky chocolate ganache and aged single malt. And who could forget a sturdy cigar at Tiffany’s cigar garden to really elevate your whisky swilling?
Tiffany’s New York Bar, G/F, InterContinental Grand Stanford Hong Kong, 70 Mody Road, Tsim Sha Tsui | (+852) 2585 2545
An intimate and warm club that brings back memories of colonial Hong Kong, the Chinnery in the Mandarin Oriental was one of the first English gastropubs in Hong Kong and is home to one of the world’s largest collections of single malt whiskies. The whisky flights at the Chinnery are perfect for novices and connoisseurs alike, each consisting of three one-ounce samplings of a different Scottish whisky that reflect different techniques and ageing processes. The Chinnery is also home to an extremely rare collection of Lombard, non-chill filtered, non-caramelised, and non-tampered bottles that are known as the Jewels of Scotland.
The Chinnery, Mandarin Oriental, 5 Connaught Road Central, Hong Kong | (+852) 2825 4009
Once you figure out which one of the many elegant umbrellas that line the umbrella shop exterior to push, you’ll be transported inside to the sophisticated ‘Old World’ speakeasy that is Foxglove. All your favourite classics from the States, Scotland, and Japan are on the extensive menu, but what truly stands out is Foxglove’s collection of iconic vintages from the 1930s to 1950s. The rarest and priciest of which include the Linkwood 48 Years, a limited release highland malt, and Mannochmore 25 Years, a Speyside single malt. The whisky-based cocktails at Foxglove are also innovative delights, such as the Old Fashioned Cinema, a tribute to old-world cinema houses made with Bulleit Bourbon infused with popcorn and served with fresh-popped popcorn.
Foxglove, G/F, 18 Ice House Street / 6 Duddell Street, Central | (+852) 2116 8949