Now that bars are open til 2am again, the only appropriate way to get back into things is to dive straight into the deep end with all-day drinking. Fortunately, Hong Kong has just the solution: cafes that also moonlight as bars.
As terrible a time as the fifth-wave lockdown was for Hong Kong’s F&B scene, one silver lining to come out of the gloomy months were cafe-bar hybrids. The product of inventive quick-thinking that allowed for bars to open up during 6pm curfews, cafe-bars, while not a revolutionary concept, were the shining light for idle bartenders and thirsty patrons who missed a sip of their favourite cocktail.
The idea is a simple one: cafes with your typical serves of caffeine, tea or fresh baked goods that ran by day, and at night, Cinderella into a fully stocked cocktail bar. With everything you’ll possibly need beginning from breakfast to lunch, then dinner and final night-caps, cafe-bar hybrids are the perfect spot for all your day-long drinking shenanigans now that bars are open past midnight again. You’re welcome.
The best cafe-bar hybrids in Hong Kong:
The Baker & The Bottleman
The hours will fly by at The Baker & The Bottleman, Roganic’s cafe-bakery-wine-bar at Wan Chai’s Lee Tung Avenue. Their freshly baked menu of British-style serves includes everything from an incredibly fluffy Irish soda bread loaf to breakfast muffins, coronation chicken sandwiches, cheese and ham toasties, sweet chocolate brownies and jam doughnuts; The Baker is a lovely place to begin the day. After that, move on to the bar bites — also a selection of British-style serves — that go hand-in-hand with The Bottleman’s list of natural, biodynamic and organic wines, curated by Master Sommelier Pierre Brunelli.
The Baker & The Bottleman, Shop G14-G15 & 1/F, Lee Tung Avenue, 200 Queen’s Road East, Wan Chai, Hong Kong
ION Café Bar
Central Market’s all-day cafe ION is split into three different sections: a cafe, tea room and cocktail bar. During the day, ION prepares a classic menu of casual serves featuring western-style dishes made with a Hong Kong twist, including corned beef scrambled egg croissants and barbecued cod fish. The tea portion covers a traditional afternoon tea experience that changes with the season — the latest being a collaboration with French GourMay 2022, highlighting traditional French fare. As for the cocktail bar, which comes to life after dark, ION’s extensive coffee and tea roster is shaken into creative tea- and coffee-based cocktails like COT, blended tea mixed with vodka and lemon and ION’s own version of the classic martini with coffee, matcha and gin.
I-O-N Café Bar, Shop 124, 1/F, Central Market, Central, Hong Kong, +852 9141 5863
If you didn’t know, you’d probably never guess it, but Barcode, the casual coffee shop on Glenealy’s, is also a speakeasy, serving a tantalising selection of cocktails shaken up by Tell Camellia‘s own Gagan Gurung. In daylight, expect all your cafe staples: hand-drip coffee, fresh-baked canelés and generously packed sandwiches. But by nightfall, and a step through the archway painted cobalt blue, Barcode is a swanky bar with an equally swanky menu of coffee-inspired cocktails paired to an indulgent menu of sweet desserts. Do the Peanut Butter Whisky Sour or Coffee And Yu, a boozy espresso tonic with Mr Black coffee liqueur and yuzu syrup, but definitely go for a side of the molten mocha tiramisu.
Barcode, G/F Glenealy Tower, 1 Glenealy, Central, Hong Kong, +852 6661 3161
Cool, cosy and on a corner on Aberdeen Street, Dio is unlike your typical white-washed walls cafe. It’s dim and dark, with sleek industrial-style fixtures which also makes its transformation into a boozy cocktail bar at night extra easy. There’s not a food menu, but the coffee here is fantastic, all made with freshly roasted beans. And the cocktails? Also a fabulous rota of inspired beverages, with the latest menu shining a spotlight on local Asian ingredients with creations like Dashi Dirty Martini, made with olives, bonito, kumbu, sun-dried mushrooms, dry vermouth and bail-infused vodka; as well as the Dried Fruit Presidente of local-sourced dried fruits.
Dio, Shop A, G/F, 8 Aberdeen Street, Central, Hong Kong, +852 9199 3956
Doubleshot by Cupping Room
Since its opening in 2011, Cupping Room is a beloved spot for any weekend brunch plans that involve avocado toast and a well-brewed cup of coffee. Doubleshot by Cupping Room is, then, the expanded version of this well-loved pastime; an all-day cafe equipped with fast wifi, a full dining menu and in the evening, an extensive beverage selections of cocktail and wines. Work your way through the easy-comfort dishes of katsu sando, chicken and waffle, smashed burgers alongside a simultaneous sip of the refreshing tipples: Summer Rose Spritz (gin, raspberries and rose soda) or Aeropress Negroni or Melon Oolong Highball (barrel nikka, melon and carbonated oolong tea).
Double Shot by Cupping Room, 1/F, Hilltop Plaza, 49 Hollywood Road, Central, Hong Kong, +852 9225 6639
Nordic-inspired cafe Hjem practices the same slow-living, laid-back lifestyle of its Scandi-inspired brand. So a day here is day well spent indeed. You’d want to come for its globally sourced coffee blends and quality brews when they open, followed by light Scandinavian bites of open-faced sandwiches to regional staples Smørrebrød, meatballs and marinated Baltic herring. Should you find yourself seated past dinner service, don’t hesitate to grab a drink off their beverage program which features a range of ever-changing classics — Cinnamon Bun Espresso Martini and Strawberry & Rhubarb Cosmo — amongst seasonal specials, including the newest Watermelon Sugar, Hei!, a watermelon juice-meets-Aperol-meets-lime cocktail created in celebration of Norwegian National Day.
Hjem, 151 Hollywood Road, Central, Hong Kong, +852 2362 9193
Lead image courtesy of Dio
The post 6 all-day cafes in Hong Kong that transform into bars at night appeared first on Lifestyle Asia Hong Kong.