Some days you just need something out of the ordinary to remind you why living in Hong Kong is one big adventure. Just because we love people watching street side, or taking in the views from a rooftop terrace, doesn’t mean we don’t seek a little mystery or an out-of-the-ordinary experience. Expect to head down alleyways, look behind thick curtains, or venture up spiral staircases to get to Hong Kong’s speakeasies and hidden bars. Finding them is an adventure in itself, so we’ve rounded up the very best (and included instructions on how to locate them!). It’s time to get moving.
Tucked away on the quiet streets of PoHo you’ll find Chateau Zoobeetle, an edgy Parisian concept store. Within the unique venue you’ll not only be able to shop a high-end selection of jewellery, clothes, books, artworks and interior decorations, but also enjoy a glass or two at the wine bar! Combining shopping and drinking, it’s the perfect spot to pop into when you’re in the area. Pick from the peculiar selection of wines, with in-house sommelier, Charlotte, on hand to offer unique recommendations, and complement your glass with a range of classic Parisian finger foods. With everything from French cheese, truffle carpaccio and cold cuts on offer, you’ll be able to build your very own sharing platter while enjoying a drink in this chic and discreet place. And if you’re organising an event, be it a farewell do, birthday party, workshop or baby shower, you can book out the Château Zoobeetle space by emailing [email protected].
Sassy Perk: Until 31 December, 2019, Sassy readers visiting Château Zoobeetle will be able to enjoy a complimentary glass of Champagne!
Hours: Tuesday and Wednesday, 11am to 8pm; Thursday to Saturday, 11am to 10pm; Sunday, 11am to 6pm; closed on Mondays. Happy hour every Thursday from 5pm.
Château Zoobeetle, 38 Sai Street, Sheung Wan, Hong Kong, 2559 8555, www.facebook.com/chateauzoobeetle
This new speakeasy at Rosewood Hong Kong hasn’t even officially opened its doors yet, so watch this space for an Autumn launch! XX is women-only (the name comes from the XX sex chromosomes that distinguish females from males) and we have it on good authority that it will provide a discreet and intimate oasis for socialising (no doubt in the stylish surroundings Rosewood is famous for). Expect elegant, easy-drinking cocktails and bite-sized snacks. We have a feeling this one is going to be very popular…you heard it here first!
Sassy tip: Reservations are required so make sure you call XX’s private number 5239 9219 to book in advance. The line is open daily between 3pm to 4pm and 6pm to 7pm.
Hours: Tuesday to Sunday, 6pm to 1am; closed on Mondays
XX, Rosewood Hong Kong, Victoria Dockside, 18 Salisbury Road, Tsim Sha Tsui, Kowloon, Hong Kong, www.rosewoodhotels.com
A hidden gem within The Landmark, Dr.Fern’s is an absolute must for gin lovers. Using organic and locally-sourced ingredients and botanicals, and only premium gin, Dr. Fern’s cocktails are sure to cure any ailment. Tucked away in a corner, you’ll find two tiny office doors – one full-sized and one Alice in Wonderland-style –all that hint at the doctor’s office behind. It also whips up seasonal cocktails, and if you can’t decide what to go for, the doctor is always on hand to prescribe the perfect tincture.
Hours: Sunday to Thursday, 12pm to 1am; Friday to Saturday, 12pm to 2am
Dr Fern’s Gin Parlour, Shop B31A, First Basement Floor, Landmark Atrium, 15 Queen’s Road Central, Central, Hong Kong, www.mingfathouse.com
Hidden away on a corner of Aberdeen Street is The Old Man, a speakeasy inspired by Ernest Hemingway’s The Old Man and the Sea. Led by bartender Agung Prabowo (previously of Lobster Bar and Mandarin Oriental and named one of Asia’s Top 10 bartenders in 2017 ), cocktails on offer have a Hemingway-Asian theme and are priced from $90. Claiming the number 10 spot on the World’s 50 Best Bar list in 2018 and number one on Asia’s 50 Best Bars 2019, it’s a must-try.
Hours: Monday to Saturday, 5pm to 2am; Sunday, 5pm to 12am
The Old Man, Lower Ground Floor, 37 Aberdeen Street, Central, Hong Kong, www.theoldmanhk.com
Hidden behind what appears to be an umbrella store on Duddell Street, Foxglove oozes old-school luxury and charm. Vintage inspired, expect live jazz nights, a decadent menu based on traditional Cantonese favourites and a refined atmosphere. Drinks buffs will love the menu that features a rare selection of cognacs and spirits, along with fine whiskies and expertly crafted cocktails.
Hours: Monday to Thursday, 12pm to 3pm and 5pm to 1am; Friday, 12pm to 3pm and 5pm to 3am; Saturday, 5pm to 3am; closed on Sundays
Foxglove, GF, 18 Ice House Street/ 6 Duddell Street, Central, Hong Kong, www.mingfathouse.com
Above MO Bar at the Landmark Mandarin Oriental sits a telephone box reminiscent of 1940s New York. With sides lined with green felt, you’ll find an old-school payphone inside. At the push of a button (or specifically, the “1” key), a petite, exquisitely-decorated bar is revealed. A sister venture of the NYC’s iconic speakeasy of the same name, PDT (Please Don’t Tell) is an intimate cocktail bar backed by renowned mixologist Jim Meehan and Mandarin Oriental’s culinary director Richard Ekkebus. Staying true to the New York original, MO’s PDT serves up both classic and creative cocktails as well as gourmet hot dogs and bar snacks, jazzed up by Ekkebus with flavours unique to Hong Kong. Also reminiscent of the NYC bar are the dressed-up taxidermied animals, the gorgeous copper-lined bar and herringbone-patterned wooden ceiling.
Hours: Monday to Thursday, 5pm to 1:30am; Friday & Saturday, 5pm to 2am; Sunday, 5pm to 12:30am
PDT, Landmark Mandarin Oriental, 15 Queen’s Road Central, Central, Hong Kong, www.mandarinoriental.com
Read more: Please Don’t Tell Cocktail Bar: NYC’s Worst Kept Secret Opens in Hong Kong
Concealed down a dark alleyway off Wyndham Street, Maximal Concepts’ Stockton is a dark, broody and sophisticated whiskey and cocktail bar. This secluded spot oozes old-world glamour, with dim lighting, vintage furniture, intriguing antiques and tucked-away private corners. Not only does Stockton offer specially-crafted cocktails and a selection of high quality whiskey, it has a regular roster of live music acts and guest bartender series’ (follow Stockton on Facebook to be one of the first to know about the events). Don’t miss out sampling its late-night food menu, featuring mac and cheese bites, buttermilk fried chicken and more.
Sassy tip: When walking down Wyndham, look out for the hanging lightbulb – you’ve found the alleyway to Stockton!
Hours: Monday to Wednesday, 6pm to 2am; Thursday to Saturday, 6pm to 4am; closed on Sundays
Stockton, 32 Wyndham Street, Central, Hong Kong, www.stockton.com.hk
Read more: Late Night Eateries In Hong Kong
Without any signage and only an easy-to-miss doorbell signalling you’re at the right place, 001 is well worth the hunt, as it’s known for making some of the best cocktails in town. Notoriously difficult to find, walk down Wellington Street, turn onto Graham Street (toward Queen’s Road Central) and look for the dark door on your right that signals you’re in the right spot. There are no windows, just the aforementioned doorbell that you ring to be let in. A throwback to 1930s New York, this concealed and mysterious speakeasy offers clandestine wining and dining, a refined food and beverage menu, and the sultry sounds of classic jazz. It’s also where you can find one of the best grilled cheese in town!
Hours: Monday, 6pm to 1am; Tuesday to Thursday, 6pm to 2am; Friday, 6pm to 3am; Saturday, 7pm to 3am; closed on Sundays
001, 97 Wellington Street, Central, Hong Kong, www.facebook.com/001
Found within acclaimed Mexican restaurant, 11 Westside, The Wilshire is perfect for a post-meal night cap. The brainchild of 11 Westside’s beverage manager, Daniel Eun and Boba Bear’s Jon Chan, the bar’s no-nonsense approach delivers only the best concoctions to guests, serving five iconic drinks with a touch of modern flair.
Hours: Tuesday to Sunday, 7pm to 2am; closed on Sundays
The Wilshire, 1/F, 11 Davis Street, Kennedy Town, Hong Kong, www.facebook.com/thewilshirebar
Read more: The Best Mexican Restaurants In Hong Kong
Another speakeasy that can be found within a Hong Kong favourite, Frank’s Library is hidden inside Foxglove. The tucked away and discreet space is found behind a hidden door in the bar and restaurant, and serves a menu of ‘Travel Diary Cocktails”, inspired by the namesake character, Frank Minza. Drinks start at $140 and include the inventive Confectionary, with marshmallow infused gin, cacao white liqueur, mint liqueur, orange bitters and Champagne.
Sassy Tip: Find the hidden elevator buttons and hit the right number to gain entrance to Frank’s secret library!
Hours: Monday to Thursday, 6pm to 1am; Friday and Saturday, 6pm to 3am; closed on Sundays
Frank’s Library, 18 Ice House Street, Central, Hong Kong, www.facebook.com/frankslibrary
Found inside boutique hotel, The Pottinger, ROOM 309 is an intimate and one-of-a-kind speakeasy bar. From the outside it appears to be a seemingly ordinary hotel room, but once inside the bar is richly decorated and intricately detailed. To gain entry, guests must first check in at “The Reception” to receive a keycard and then tap the card on the wall to enter. Expect classic libations alongside the mysterious “Invisible Cocktails” – colourless creations that are full of flavour, complexity and mystery.
Hours: Monday to Thursday, 5pm to 1pm; Friday and Saturday, 5pm to 2am; closed on Sundays
ROOM 309, Shop 309, 3/F, The Pottinger Hong Kong, 74 Queen’s Road Central, Central, www.room309.hk
Tucked away on Peel Street, Nocturne is an understated, Japanese-inspired whiskey bar. The bare concrete walls and minimalist décor add to its mysterious vibe and hidden-gem appeal, and the whiskey selection is as enormous as you’d expect, with over 100 different types on offer. Think soft jazz, dim lights and a vibe that makes you want to stick around for another drink, Nocturne is the perfect place for conversations that last long into the twilight hours.
Sassy tip: Nocturne also has three unique whiskey tasting sets to choose from.
Hours: Monday to Saturday, 6pm to 1am; closed on Sundays
Nocturne, 35 Peel Street, Soho, Central, Hong Kong, www.nocturnehk.com
Mizunara is a welcome respite from the Ladies Night specials and sports bars that Lockhart Road is (in)famous for. One of the few hidden bars with an outdoor terrace, Mizunara is a celebration of all things Japanese; from the peaceful terrace garden, to the furniture made from Japanese Oak Wood (Mizunara), and the use of natural, minimalist materials – think glass, solid timber and rich leather. Its bar boasts over 700 different types of whiskey, making it an absolute haven for the whiskey connoisseur, and the talented barmen are known for creating refined cocktails that showcase distinctive Japanese flavours and qualities.
Hours: Monday to Saturday, 6pm to 3am (last order at 2am); closed on Sundays
Mizunara The Library, 4/F, Kiu Yin Commercial Building, 361-363 Lockhart Road, Wan Chai, Hong Kong, www.mizunarathelibrary.com
Find a small red door with the words “Ping Pong City” inscribed in Chinese, and you will have found the ever-popular Ping Pong 129 Gintonería. This old ping pong supply store has been transformed and updated into an incredible Spanish gin and tonic bar. Down the concrete steps, you’ll find the “living room”, where the concrete walls, low lighting and living room atmosphere are at once hip and inviting, and the combination of Mediterranean influence and Hong Kong nostalgia works beautifully. Ping Pong has one of the most comprehensive lists of gins from all over the world and the menu now features rare and premium gins new to the Hong Kong market and exclusive to PP129.
Sassy tip: Check out the art pieces that are quite an ice-breaker and convo starter!
Hours: Monday to Sunday, 6pm to 11:30pm (last order at 11pm)
Ping Pong, 129 Second Street, Nam Cheong House, Sai Ying Pun, Hong Kong, www.pingpong129.com
Read more: Your Neighbourhood Guide To Sai Ying Pun
Missy Ho’s is hidden away on Kennedy Town’s Forbes Street and serves a menu of “funky fusion flavours”. Without any signage on the outside, stepping into Missy Ho’s feels like you’ve been let in on an exclusive secret. Inside, the bar is filled with references to Hong Kong traditions, such as birdcages, Union Jacks and historical photographs, alongside an envious collection of other weird and wonderful trinkets and some contemporary graffiti art. With dishes such as satays, salad, sushi rolls and tacos and a delectable dessert selection, there is definitely something for everyone at Missy Ho’s.
Sassy tip: You can find costumes in a dress up box for those Insta snaps.
Hours: Monday to Saturday, 4pm to 11pm; Sunday, 10am to 6pm
Missy Ho’s, G/F, Sincere Western House, 48 Forbes Street, Kennedy Town, Hong Kong, www.casteloconcepts.com
Hidden speakeasy, Back Bar, can be found through a door in the alleyway next to Ham & Sherry on Wan Chai’s Ship Street. Pick your poison from a witty and intriguing menu of creative cocktails inspired by the city’s famed cha chaan tengs created by Bar Manager Laetitia Roudaut. With an atmosphere that is simultaneously moody and lively, Back Bar is definitely worth finding.
Hours: Monday to Thursday, 5:30pm to 1am; Friday and Saturday, 5:30pm to 2am; Sunday, 5:30pm to 12am
Back Bar, 1-7 Ship Street, Wan Chai, Hong Kong, www.hamandsherry.hk
Amongst a stretch of lurid neon signs lurks the entrance to this little gem of a cocktail bar. The shiny Mody House building is easy to spot but gives no hint that it’s a gateway to sleek minimalist Japananese-inspired space in the form of Butler (a cosy 20-seater Japanese whisky and cocktail bar). A bow-tied waiter is on hand to help you navigate its extensive whiskey and cocktail menu; drop hints about what you like (and what you don’t), and then sit back and watch the experts mix your bespoke drink. Go thirsty and peckish with plenty of time to savour the experience, because this is more than just a cocktail pit stop.
Hours: Monday to Friday, 6:30pm to 3am; Saturday, 6:30pm to 2am; closed on Sundays
Butler the Japanese Cocktail Bar, 5/F, Mody House, 30 Mody Road, Tsim Sha Tsui, Kowloon, Hong Kong, www.facebook.com/Bar-Butler-The-Japanese-Cocktail-Bar
“Mixsultant” Joseph Boroski brings his iconic Bangkok “creative cocktail space” to Central, Hong Kong. Once you’ve bagged yourself an invite to the secret location, you’ll be treated to a dedicated “cocktail concierge service” experience. Mysteriously located somewhere off Hollywood Road and down a hidden alley, J. Boroski guarantees only the best when it comes to cocktails. Designed by Ashley Sutton (of Ophelia and Iron Fairies fame), his renowned extravagant décor is toned down here to focus on the drinks (apart from the curved ceiling that’s adorned in hundreds of shiny beetles!). There is no menu, it’s all about what you want as a customer and the skill and creativity of the bartenders. Tell them your favourite spirit or your favourite ingredients and they’ll whip up something unique to suit your preferences.
Sassy tip: All guests are welcome to request an invitation to J. Boroski. Simply contact 2603 6020 or email: [email protected] for location details and booking. Joseph welcomes guests to contact to him about the cocktail space or location details as well.
Hours: Sunday to Wednesday, 6pm to 2am; Thursday to Saturday, 6pm to 3am
J. Boroski, Ezra’s Lane, Central, Hong Kong (click here for a map), www.diningconcepts.com/restaurants/JBoroski
Unlike many of the other hidden bars around Hong Kong, Ginger is unique in that it is dedicated to whiskey, and pretty much whiskey only. While there is a small selection of craft beers, wine and other spirits, don’t arrive expecting a cocktail. That said, who needs cocktails when you’ve got some of the finest whiskey from Scotland, the USA, Japan and even India, ready to be enjoyed in a cosy, intimate setting on one of Hong Kong’s traditional old streets?
Hours: Monday to Thursday, 5pm to 12am; Friday and Saturday, 4:30pm to 1:30am; closed on Sundays
Ginger, G/F, 12 On Wo Lane, Central, Hong Kong, www.facebook.com/barginger.hk<
Another New York import, Employees Only is a low-key, sophisticated bar, hidden behind a nondescript grey wall among the loud facades of its flashier neighbours in the centre of Lan Kwai Fong. Marked only by a neon red sign saying “Psychic”, it’s very easy to miss the entrance if you don’t know what to look for. Despite its discreet exterior, the inside is anything but– tucked behind a fortune teller’s lair is a snazzy narrow space, decked out with geometric ceiling lights and a curvaceous bar. Employees Only’s bartenders free pour with amazing speed and precision– serving up to four cocktails in mere minutes! Apart from offering an extensive list of cocktails, Employees Only also serves a good range of food from bar nibbles to mains, making it a great spot for both dinner and drinks. Critically-acclaimed with a strong international presence (its American sister has been featured as one of the World’s 50 Best Bars eight times), Employees Only in Hong Kong is a worthy addition to its locations in Singapore, Panama City, Miami and, of course, New York.
Hours: Monday to Saturday, 6pm to 4am; Sunday, 8pm to 4am (last order at 3:30am)
Employees Only, 19 Lan Kwai Fong, Central, Hong Kong, www.employeesonlyhk.com
Although this Parisian-inspired bar is located in one of the most popular places for drinks and nightlife in Hong Kong, it can be a tricky one to find! From an inconspicuous entrance on Wyndham Street, venture down a dark, winding staircase and you’ll find the intimate, Moulin Rouge-esque, Le Boudoir. Expect an eclectic mix of furnishings that includes masks, paintings and vintage knick-knacks, as well as the occasional jazz singer. Step into Le Boudoir and you’ll feel worlds away from the bright noisy lights of Wyndham Street.
Hours: Tuesday to Sunday, 7pm to 2am; closed on Mondays
Le Boudoir, Basement, 65 Wyndham Street, Central, Hong Kong, www.french-creations.com
Inspired by the Dadaist art movement, Dada Bar & Lounge is a celebration of irony and contrast. Imagine wild shapes, fabrics and patterns with a cocktail menu to match, and you’ve got Dada. With its décor and delicious drinks, Dada adds a little surrealism to the Hong Kong hidden bar scene.
Hours: Sunday to Thursday, 4pm to 1am; Friday & Saturday, 4pm to 2am
Dada Bar & Lounge, 2/F, The Luxe Manor, 39 Kimberley Road, Tsim Sha Tsui, Kowloon, Hong Kong, www.dadalounge.com.hk
Editor’s Note: This article was originally published on 21, June 2017 and was most recently updated on 12, September 2019.