Hong Kong has arguably become Asia's whisky capital, with ex-pats and locals alike adopting the dram as their drink of choice – especially when socialising with friends and colleagues.
The city also boasts some wonderful whisky bars, many of them tucked away from plain sight – which makes them only more appealing, and more impressive when you bring a guest.
On your next business trip trip to Hong Kong, take time out to sample the extensive collections at these 15 great whisky bars.
Angel's Share (2/F, Amber Lodge, 23 Hollywood Rd) is one of the classics. Cosy but large and open, with a fine selection of drams (with a focus on Scotch), and even their own cask. A popular spot for tastings and reasonably priced (considering that good whisky is expensive everywhere in Hong Kong).
Club Qing (10/F, Cosmos Building, 8-11 Lan Kwai Fong): a relative newcomer, but owned and managed by people who very much know their whisky. The selection here spans multiple countries and their old and rare bottles (keep an eye on their Facebook page) are incredible. Prices are reasonable, staff are incredibly engaging, and the bar caters equally well to whisky fans and newbies alike. One of our favourites in HK.
Nocturne (35 Peel Street, Soho) is all about Japanese whisky (and wine). Intimate and dimly lit, with an interesting industrial-yet-warm interior, you'll find a great range of Japanese drams, all ordered from a Samsung tablet. The prices aren't cheap, especially for those who aren't used to HK whisky prices, but their selection is excellent.
Butler Shelter (29/F, Asia Pacific Centre, 8 Wyndham St) is an outpost of Kowloon's original Butler Bar in Tsim Sha Tsui. Small, quiet and very Japanese, the selection is limited but well-curated, the cocktails are expertly made – we once watched one of the bartenders spend 20 minutes just getting air bubbles out of the ice mould he was about to freeze!
Chinnery (Mandarin Oriental Hong Kong, 5 Connaught Rd): intimate and old-school whisky den in the equally intimate and old school (yet unmistakably luxurious) Mandarin Oriental hotel.
001 (97 Wellington St officially, although the most common entrance is via a hidden door in Graham St's wetmarket): located under popular whisky shop Liquor and Liqueur, 001 is probably most well-known as a cocktail bar, but don't overlook its whisky credentials. Single cask bottlings and rare, hard to find drams are commonplace here. Pricing is on the higher end for HK whisky bars, and get in early as it gets busy on popular nights.
Ronin (8 On Wo Lane, Sheung Wan): probably the place to go for Japanese whisky in Hong Kong, but be prepared to pay for the experience. Seeking out a rare Karuizawa, limited edition Yamazaki (such as Bourbon Barrel), single cask Akashi or the like? There's a good chance you'll find it here. Ronin is small and incredibly popular, so if you're planning to visit on a Friday or Saturday, book early.
Malt Whisky Bar (19 New St, Sheung Wan). Tucked away in New St (although it's not hard to spot the orange facade), Malt has – like an increasing number of HK whisky bars – two collections of whisky. There's one that appears to be for show, or perhaps those with deep enough pockets, including rarities like Balvenie TUN1401s, Hibiki 30s and some OB Port Ellens. There's also the collection behind the bar, consisting of a more wallet-friendly selection spanning a good part the globe.
Ginger (G/F, 12 On Wo Lane, Sheung Wan). Ginger is only a few doors up from Ronin but focuses more heavily on Scotch than Japanese whisky. A warm yet funky interior, a decent selection of drams, a nice upstairs area that's good for groups and a great selection of Ardbeg (they're an official Ardbeg Embassy) make this a decent bar to visit.
SAFE Bubbles and Malt (Shop 2, 1/F Manhattan Avenue, 255 Queens Rd Central, Sheung Wan). While boasting one of the most insane collections of rare/expensive whisky you've ever seen in one place outside of perhaps Macau's Macallan Bar or the Diageo Claive Vidiz collection, the concrete flooring, coloured lights and acres of polished metal ditch the traditional whisky bar vibe for a funky modern feel, with prices to match
Wan Chai / Causeway Bay
Mizunara The Library (4/F, Kiu Yin Commercial Building, 361-363 Lockhart Rd, Wan Chai). This is about as 'Japanese' a bar as you can get in Hong Kong. Impeccable drinks (including cocktails) and service, but very, very expensive – especially when it comes to the 'library' of incredible malts around the room.
b.a.r Executive Bar (27/F, Bartlock Centre, 3 Yiu Wa St, Causeway Bay). Part of the old brigade and touted as a 'private bar', although in our experience anyone respectable can get in, provided you make a reservation. A great selection of Japanese, Scottish and even a few Aussie varieties and a good spot to find a few rare drams you might be seeking (for us, it was the 2009 Ardbeg Supernova).
Kowloon / TST
Tiffany's New York Bar (Lobby Level, InterContinental Grand Stanford, 70 Mody Rd, TST East). Tiffany's doesn't get the respect it deserves in the HK whisky scene. A large and ever-expanding list, great staff, comfortable settings, low ceiling, regular jazz, frequent tastings and their own cask-aged whiskies all come together to make this one of Hong Kong's greats. Prices are fair and they also have good deals on bottles, including 2-for-1 on certain nights.
Butler Bar (6/F, Mody House, 30 Mody Rd, TST). One of Hong Kong's original whisky bar. Quiet and unassuming, with typical Japanese perfection in bartending. Cocktails and drams alike are all excellent here. Prices are about middle of the road for HK.
Whisky Stables (Hullett House, 1881 Heritage, 2A Canton Rd, TST). Hong Kong's first 'Whisky Ambassador'-accredited bar offers a decent selection (including a few Mackmyras rarely seen elsewhere in HK), comfortable seating and great staff. Ideal for drinks before/after dinner at one of the Hullett House restaurants or just for a dram on its own. The heritage building adds to the charm and the terrace, albeit small, is a nice addition not often seen in the city whisky bars.
Also read: Three great whiskies to buy duty-free
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