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The annual list of Asia’s 50 Best Bars showcases the best and most innovative cocktail bars in the region, and in 2022, Hong Kong once again nabbed the top spot. Popular bar COA in Central came first on the list two years in a row while several others were also included, marking the city’s bar scene as one of the best in Asia. Compiled from the votes of more than 200 drinks experts, including renowned bartenders and consultants, writers and cocktail specialists from across the region, the list honours eight local bars. Here they are, and here’s what you need to know.
COA in Central is the second bar to win the first spot on the Asia’s 50 Best Bars list two years in a row. Founded by agave spirits expert Jay Khan, the Oaxaca-inspired bar offers refreshing and thoughtfully-created cocktails that highlight COA’s extensive agave spirits collection, including raicilla, sotol, mezcal, and tequila. Mixologists at COA are known for making creative drinks from their collection of more than 200 different tequilas. Guests who want to deep dive into the world of Mexican spirits can consider this as the best place to visit in the city.
The Argo bar located inside the Four Seasons Hotel took third place on the Asia’s 50 Best Bars list. Named after the Argo, a ship in Greek mythology, the bar promises its guests a taste of the future with an AI-produced gin and molecular-aged whisky. One interesting cocktail is the Skynet Old Fashioned, a molecular whisky cocktail made from miso caramel, coconut shells, and olive oil. Another fun drink is the welcome champagne — be sure to check the bottom of your glass for a cute gummy bear!
DarkSide is the only bar in Tsim Sha Tsui on the Asia’s Best Bar list. Rising to number 13 in 2022, the flagship bar in Rosewood Hong Kong is one of the best in Kowloon. Helmed by talented mixologist Arkadiusz Rybak and Director of Bars Simone Rossi, DarkSide serves classic cocktails with self-sourced cognac and port wine, bringing guests the most original notes and fragrances from the barrel.
Quinary has been on top of the Asia’s 50 Best Bars list since it first appeared in 2017. Owned by renowned local mixologist Antonio Lai, the Central bar leaped to number 16 in 2022. Lai is known for creating multisensory experiences with molecular mixology — expect a lot of exciting tipples that usually involve a rotating glass, smoke-filled edible bubbles or popping candy. Earl Grey Caviar Martini, their signature cocktail made from Cointreau, vodka mandarin and elderflower syrup, is a must-try.
Hong Kong’s first zero-waste bar, Penicillin, is the brainchild of Agung Prabowo, his wife Laura and partners Roman and Katy Ghale. The accolade-heavy bar team has been making noise in the region and ranked 22 on the 2022 Asia’s 50 Best Bars list. The bar prides itself on pushing toward a sustainable and closed-loop model of production, aiming at alleviating waste by recycling and upcycling. They’ve also launched the ‘One Penicillin One Tree’ project, where they make donations to plant a tree in the endangered Kalimantan rainforest in Borneo, Indonesia, for every purchase of a particular cocktail. That means guests too can contribute to the environment simply by having a relaxing time.
Since opening in 2015, American-style dive bar The Pontiac has attracted a legion of loyal patrons and has also appeared on Asia’s 50 Best Bars list for consecutive years. The grunge aesthetic and lively atmosphere make this spot on Old Bailey Street one of the best venues to go to for a night of rock ‘n’ roll revelry. The all-female crew at the bar handcraft perfect cocktails and show you a different side of the bar scene.
Hidden in an alleyway on Staunton Street, The Wise King is inspired by the Spanish ruler Alfonso X of Castile, who is famous for being a scholar, a patron of the arts and the king who ‘invented’ tapas. The intimate lounge offers refreshing and spirit-forward drinks designed by head mixologist and co-founder Sandeep Kumar. It’s also a great hangout place for people who wish to blow off steam after work.
A new addition to the Asia’s 50 Best Bars list in 2022 was The Aubrey at the Mandarin Oriental, Hong Kong. The rooftop bar not only offers mesmerising views of Victoria Harbour, but also a sense of nostalgia completed by the vintage furniture, quirky decorations and beautiful lamps. Apart from a wide selection of Japanese wine, it is also famous for cocktails created from Japanese whiskies, awamori and shochu. Some recommendations include the Queen’s Gimlet, made from Roku Gin, chamomile, cardamom and citrus; and Banana & Champagne, made from sweet potato shochu, rice shochu, bananas and champagne.
Prefer low ABV drinks? Try these top 5 Hong Kong bars for mocktails and low-alcohol drinks.
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