We’ve already dished on the hottest male chefs in Hong Kong, with a post coming soon for the hottest female chefs, and now – you’ve guessed it – it’s time to recognise those on the other side of the kitchen; the ones that shake, stir, pour and serve us our favourite cocktails day in, day out. From awkward first dates to dancing on the bar, they’ve seen it all, and we can only imagine the wild stories they’ve got on the residents of HK. Without these talented men and women, our weekends wouldn’t be half as fun. Here’s our Sassy seal of approval for Hong Kong’s best bartenders:
Beckaly Franks and Ana Souza - The Pontiac
The two sassiest girls on the bartender scene have to come up on top! Beckaly and Ana have been painting the town red ever since the launch of The Pontiac just 7 months ago. Their fierce attitude and damn-right hotness have seen them gain somewhat of a fan club in the city. In an industry otherwise saturated with male bartenders, these gals are leading the way for the females and are absolutely owning it. They are not afraid to belt out their favourite songs to the jukebox, pour shots into un-expecting customer’s mouths, or tell stories of the wild bartender life. They have also recently taken 19th place in Asia’s Best Bars – an enormous achievement bearing in mind how long they have been open. We salute you, Sassy Girls!
Ryan Nightingale - Back Bar, Ham & Sherry
When he’s not at The Pontiac heading up the fan club, he’s found at his second home – Back Bar at Ham & Sherry! Canadian-born Ryan has been the main man behind the creative menu at Back Bar for a few years and has made quite an impression on the booze scene here in HK. His latest cocktail menu at Back Bar is inspired by bootleg DVD’s and boasts some creative titles such as ‘Ron Burgundy’ (a blend of rum, burgundy syrup and perfume bitters, served in a perfume bottle decked with a “sex panther” label) and ‘There’s Something About Sherry’ (made with Amontillado, amaretto, rum, lemon, and bitters served in a hair gel tub). We also particularly like his bartender swag, aka trouser braces.
Isabelle Vannoni - The Optimist
With 10 years experience in hot spots across Italy, Alicante, Ibiza and London, she may be new to Hong Kong, but she is definitely is not new to the bar scene. Isabella’s specialties over at The Optimist are the creativity of her concoctions which are inspired by her travels, places she has visited and cultures experienced. There’s also no denying how beautiful in appearance and character she is. We love heading down at happy hour for a good old gossip with her!
Suraj Gurung - Blue Butcher and Stockton
Nepalese-born Suraj came to Hong Kong with a dream of making it in one of the most exciting culinary cities in the world. Just a few years ago, Suraj discovered his passion for bartending during his first day on the job at the multi-award winning restaurant and bar, Blue Butcher. Suraj developed the signature Fig and Cheese cocktail that is a unique elixir made with Sharp Blue Cheese Foam and Homemade Blue Fig Syrup Infusion (plus Scotch, Cointreau, Wormwood Bitters and Citrus). Did someone say cheese and alcohol? Yes please! You can find him stirring up a storm at Sassy favourites Blue Butcher and Stockton.
Audrey Eschemann - Aberdeen Street Social
She may have just moved to Hong Kong, but she knows the vibe of the city like no other, giving the punters exactly what they need – creative, on-point cocktails. Hailing from France with bar experience in Argentina and Paris, Audrey is a welcome change to the Aberdeen Street Social bar. With legends like Jason Atherton and one of Sassy’s hottest male chefs, Chris Whitmore as her colleagues, she manages to come out on top as the sassiest member of staff at Aberdeen Street Social. Go Audrey – you’ll see us all down there soon queuing for one of your ‘God Save the Gin’ cocktails (Beefeater 24 Gin, apple cinnamon syrup, and lemon juice).
Pawel Mikusek - Lily & Bloom
A native of Poland, Pawel has worked in some of the top cocktail bars around the world. Combining his experience in London with a classic New York approach, his cocktails at Lily & Bloom are simply the bomb! He has recently created 13 new cocktails for the menu – and any man that can come up with 13 different ideas for deliciousness is alright in our books. We love how well dressed and happy he is all the time, and he never fails to put a smile on our face after one too many at the Bloom!
Amanda Wan - Tastings Group
Amanda says: “Making someone a drink is a sign of respect and acceptance. It’s about people, and the moments shared over these delicious liquid concoctions — be it a coffee or a cocktail.” And we love her for that! Starting in the beverage industry in 2005 as a barista, her passion turned from coffee to cocktails and became the first female bartender to represent her country, Malaysia, at the DIAGEO Global World Class Bartender of the Year Competition in 2010.
James Barker - 208 Duecento Otto
Originally from the UK, James has many years’ experience working behind the bar, and even worked as the Manager of Ril’s Bangsar, which was named “Best cocktail bar in Kuala Lumpur 2015”. His new move to 208 Duecento Otto sees him shaking up the cocktail menu like never before. Expect big things from James – but don’t expect any moody bar manager attitude. He’s one of the sweetest guys we know and a real attribute to the JIA group (Ham & Sherry, 22 Ships, Mak Mak and more).
Victoria Chow - The Woods
Okay, so we may have a slight girl crush on this talented lady. Victoria is the brains behind one of our absolute favourite bars, The Woods, located on Hollywood Road. Her creative eye and desire to experiment with unusual flavours and textures creates a unique experience like no other. From the interior to the decor to the glassware to the ingredients, the attention to detail that Victoria puts into every aspect of The Woods makes it a truly special (and Instagram-able!) bar. Don’t miss the evenings with special guests, the amazing food and drink pairing menus, and the seasonal cocktails. We’re such fans of this mixology mistress that we even made her our That Girl last year.