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The annual Asia’s 50 Best Bars celebrates the best and most innovative bars in the region. For its eighth edition in 2023, the ceremony was held in Hong Kong for the first time, in partnership with the Hong Kong Tourism Board. This event marked the first full-scale gathering of the bar community in Asia since 2019.
Taking the top spot for three consecutive years is COA, an Oaxacan-inspired bar located in Central. Seven other local bars have also made it on the prestigious list. The ranking is compiled from the votes of over 260 drinks experts from across Asia, and it includes bars from 17 cities throughout the region. Keep reading to find out all about the eight honoured Hong Kong bars.
COA continues to hold the top position of the list for the third consecutive year. Founded by agave spirits expert Jay Khan, the Oaxacan-inspired bar in Central takes its name from the agave harvesting tool. It boasts a vast collection of over 200 bottles of agave spirits including tequila, mezcal, raicilla and sotol. Immerse yourself in the world of Mexican spirits, sip on creative cocktails, and find out for yourself what makes this local bar the best in the region.
Taking the eighth place is Argo, a modern cocktail bar located inside the Four Seasons Hotel. Named after a ship in Greek mythology, the bar showcases innovative spirits and a conceptual cocktail programme featuring traditional Hong Kong ingredients, including soybean, XO sauce, vegan char siu (Cantonese-style barbecued pork) and black vinegar. Be sure to check the bottom of your glass for a cute gummy bear when you enjoy the welcome champagne.
Rosewood Hong Kong’s flagship bar is the only Kowloon venue that made it on the Asia’s 50 Best Bar 2023 list. Helmed by Director of Bars Simone Rossi, DarkSide’s cocktails focus on time-honoured traditions integrated with innovative techniques. Their conceptual menu, ‘The Art of Mahjong’, spotlights the Chinese tile-based game mahjong and translates the game’s elements into a new cocktail experience, complemented by sultry live jazz music.
Rising from number 38 in 2022 is The Aubrey at the Mandarin Oriental, Hong Kong. Led by award-winning mixologist Devender Sehgal, the bar not only offers mesmerising views of Victoria Harbour, but also an eccentric Japanese izakaya experience, complete with vintage furniture and quirky decorations. Expect a creative cocktail menu that provides an exciting exploration of the world of shochu.
Penicillin on Hollywood Road is Hong Kong’s first sustainable bar with a closed-loop production process. Founded by tandems Agung and Laura Prabowo and Roman and Katy Ghale, the bar is dedicated to utilising locally sourced and upcycled ingredients while striving to minimise its carbon footprint. In addition to its eco-friendly practices, the bar offers the ‘One Penicillin, One Tree’ cocktail, where a portion of the proceeds goes to reforestation of the endangered Kalimantan rainforest in Indonesia.
Helmed by renowned local mixologist Antonio Lai, Quinary in Central is decked out like an immaculate factory with concrete floors and retro-bulb lighting. Prepare yourself for a multisensory experience that usually involves a rotating glass, smoke-filled edible bubbles or popping candy. Among their iconic cocktails is the Earl Grey Caviar Martini, their best-selling drink for more than a decade. It is made with Cointreau, vodka mandarin, elderflower syrup and Earl Grey caviar before it’s topped with foam.
Mostly Harmless is a new omakase cocktail bar in Sai Ying Pun, and makes its way to the Asia’s 50 Best Bars list on its first year of opening. Headed by Ezra Star, the bar is decked out in white tiles, where the guest’s names and the ever-rotating menus are scribbled in magic markers. Supporting Hong Kong local farms and featuring seasonal ingredients in their cocktail offerings, Mostly Harmless is unlike other omakase-style cocktail bars with a ceremonial presentation; it’s a relaxed bar with a fun atmosphere that serves well-crafted cocktails.