A trio of new bars down the back streets of Central is adding even more color and sophistication to Hong Kong’s drinking scene.
Australian designer Ashley Sutton made his name with The Iron Fairies in Bangkok, and since then he’s been the force behind some of Asia’s most gorgeous bars. Yojimbo is his fourth outlet in Hong Kong in just two years, with a techno-neon-under-ground vibe pulled straight from the right kind of yakuza flick. Kimono-clad “geishas” weave through the crowd as dancers writhe above the bar. The drinks hold up too: head bartender Alberto Aldave, formerly of The Ritz London, creates cocktails that look as good as they taste. The namesake Yojimbo is a mix of gin, sake, yuzu, and champagne served in a ceramic sake bottle, while the Kill Bill–inspired Crazy 88—made with ginger-infused gin, passion fruit, and pineapple—comes topped with a katana-shaped piece of chocolate
More information here; 37-43 Pottinger St.; 852/2576-1717.
A smiling mural of Mayahuel, the Aztec goddess of agave, greets devotees at this temple to mezcal —tequila’s grittier, smokier, and infinitely more flavorful cousin. Owner and agave evangelist Jay Khan travels regularly to Oaxaca in southern Mexico to source the 90-plus artisanal mezcals arranged behind the counter; he even stocks a few bottles that have previously never been exported. If you’re in the mood for something light and bubbly, try Coa’s house-fermented pineapple and cinnamon tepache. Another standout? The Caffeinated Negroni, which mixes gin, mezcal, and coffee-infused vermouth to deliver a rich, smoky hit. If you’ve kept things simple and ordered a mezcal, just remember the golden rule—sip, don’t shoot.
More information here; 6-10 Shin Hing St.; 852/2813-5787.
3. Bar Sake Central
Hidden behind a curtain inside the Sake Central retail space at PMQ, this intimate 16-seat venue offers a rotating selection of 20 or so sakes sourced from across Japan, all served in exquisite glassware. Order some bar snacks to chow on—seasonal tempura, pork-belly agnolotti—and start working your way through the list. Of particular note is the draft sake on tap: grassy, slightly fruity, and as fresh as it gets, it’s an alcoholic revelation.
More information here; S109-113, PMQ, 35 Aberdeen St.; 852/2656-6552.
This article originally appeared in the February/March 2018 print issue of DestinAsian magazine (“Three to Get Ready”).