Unfortunately, it looks like it’s going to be a government-imposed Dry January.
The beauty of Dry January is this: it ends. There are no measures to be reviewed in two weeks; no rules that come with hefty fines. No sober days that bleed into February, into March. In fact, you can even cheat and have a cheeky little sip mid-way through the month — who’s counting? However, in light of the temporary bar closures and shortened dine-in hours, it’s likely you’ll have to really lean in during happy hours. Make the most of the daylight hours with glasses of your favourite spiked serve in hand; if this should set an example of what’s to come in 2022, we’re all going to need it. Good luck to us all. And see you at the bar — or, should we say: café.
As rules and regulations continue to change and fluctuate, make sure you call ahead before making your way to the following venues to avoid disappointment!
New Year, New Drinks:
MAJO Tapas Paella Bar
When you see “tapas” and “paella” smack-dab in a restaurant’s name, you pretty much know what to expect with said dining establishment’s drinks menu. Yes, there are sangrias galore at MAJO; on tap, in fact, with a red wine rendition with cognac, berry liqueur and seasonal fruit as well as a white wine version with gin, peach liqueur and seasonal fruit and a rosé with rum, berry liqueur and, you guessed it, seasonal fruit (HK$65 per glass; HK$275 per jug). But don’t sleep on the rest of the cocktail program, which includes The Adonis (HK$80), a handsome serve concocted with Amontillado, vermouth, orange bitters and accented with a lemon peel; Spanish Coffee (HK$80) a frosty rum-infused coffee martini; and the Majo Martini (HK$110), garnished with a Gilda skewer (see: a pickled onion, anchovy and olive combo).
MAJO Tapas Paella Bar, G/F, 22 Staunton Street, SoHo, Central, Hong Kong, +852 2529 3001
Maka Hiki Tropical Bar & Grill
Look, we all need a goddamn vacation. A tropical vacation, preferably, with soft, sun-warmed stretches of white sand as far as our eyes can see. Please! But until we can travel again, Maka Hiki in Tai Hing offers a temporary tiki respite — right here in Hong Kong. Complement restaurateur Maxence Traverse’s extensive island-inspired bites with a Maka Hiki Punch (HK$180) — made with tart maraschino liqueur, grapefruit and lemon — in hand; or dream of siestas and doing absolutely nothing whilst sipping on the Tik Tok Tiki (HK$130), which packs several punches with its tequila base and red-hot Thai chilli garnish. If you’re cruising into January not quite dry, but really looking for drinks that are better in all ways, you’ll be pleased to hear about Maka Hiki’s proud partnership with ecoSPIRITS. Any cocktail with an “eS” icon listed by its name on the menu saves “an average of 150g of emissions per serve”.
Maka Hiki Tropical Bar & Grill, 2/F, Little Tai Hang – The Corner House, 98 Tung Lo Wan Road, Tai Hang, Hong Kong, +852 2155 1777
Come for the corn dogs and the Southern hospitality, but stay for the drinks — and Hong Kong’s only vinyl-spinning jukebox. Graceland’s portfolio of booze, curated by Momentai’s Niko Smirnoff, ranges from craft beers and ciders — including hard-hitters like 2Towns Cosmic Crisp (HK$75 at a cool 8% ABV) and 2Towns Unfiltered Apple Cider (HK$70) — and cocktails inspired by none other than the King: Elvis Presley. Get your rock ‘n’ roll on with the Diamond Sole Spritz (HK$70), a heady concoction of gin, homemade peach soda, prosecco and vanilla. The Hound Dog High Ball (HK$70), a refreshing mix of lemonade, iced tea, cherry and vodka, will have your rubber legs dancin’ and swingin’ in the time it’ll take you to croon “Heartbreak Hotel”. And if you don’t particularly love any of those cocktails tender, well, some good ol’ Mountain Dew is always on tap at Graceland.
Graceland, Lisa House, Shop B, G/F, 12-14A Yim Po Fong Street, Mong Kok, Hong Kong, +852 6112 9448
wellwellwell’s TEAHOUSE / BARHOUSE
The second act of wellwellwell’s trio of “wells”, TEAHOUSE / BARHOUSE wields a chameleonic transformation as a café by daylight and a bar by starlight. Toasting a hearty ganbei to the very best of Chinese liquors, BARHOUSE’s Forbidden City (HK$118) tenders a delicate balance between bourbon and fine Shaoxing wine, while the Sweet Potato Sour (HK$128) headlines on the seasonal with fresh sweet potato puree. And if it’s a show you’re after, wellwellwell’s citrus-led Mirror Lake Mist (HK$118) comes to the table ready for its IG feature with a pretty bubble, misty at the rim. It’s really not a real Chinese meal without shared portions; a predicament easily remedied by an order of the Yangtze Blossom Tea Party (HK$438) for the entire table. Throw in some Xinjiang Lamb and Cumin Skewers (HK$108) and Guangxi Ginger Scallion Chicken Skewers (HK$98) while you’re at it. No drinking on an empty stomach!
TEAHOUSE / BARHOUSE, Shop 002, LG1, Pacific Place, 88 Queensway, Admiralty, Hong Kong
Bar Toshokan by Sunday’s Spirits
The Japanese bar experience is one that combines incredible precision, unmatched hospitality and, of course, damn good drinks to boot. The experience of ambling into a Ginza walk-up (or, even, a dimly-lit, off-the-beaten-path izakaya in Fukuoka) is one sorely missed by, possibly, the entirety of Hong Kong’s travelling population. Bar Toshokan’s residency at Frank’s Library — nestled in the depths of Foxglove — transports the intimacy of the Japanese bar experience into the heart of Central, with a drinks menu designed by Sunday’s Spirits brand ambassador Harley Ling and bar bites by Chef Matt Abergel of Yardbird.
Aside from the perfect highball, you’ll also have the chance to sip and savour the limited Sunday’s 7 Year Single Cask Whisky, created in collaboration with Elliot Faber, Ichiro Akuto and famed Scotch whisky bottler Duncan Taylor. A pure malt whisky with notes of corn pops, Hong Kong French toast, apple cider and hot tamale candy? We’re already salivating.
Bar Toshokan, Frank’s Library at Foxglove, G/F, 18 Ice House Street, Central, Hong Kong, +852 2116 2449
The Baker & The Bottleman
Some days, you need a really good cookie. And some nights, well, a chilled glass of white — always a great idea. Built precisely for both, The Baker & The Bottleman headlines as a modern, sustainable bakery during the day and by night, a destination for a casual, evening pour — be it a crisp glass of Riesling à la Vanguardist CVR 2019 (HK$290) or a fruity summer rosé in the dead of winter with a Susucaru Rosato (HK$245) serve — from 5pm onwards. And if eating (and drinking!) well is one of your many New Year’s resolutions, The Baker & The Bottleman’s wine list — a considered portfolio of natural, organic and biodynamic vinos curated by Master Sommelier Pierre Brunelli — will be sure to please.
But before you run off to Lee Tung Avenue, please note: “The Baker” portion of The Baker & The Bottleman is currently open, but the wine bar is set to open its doors later in January. Have a locally-sourced cuppa from Accro Coffee at the two-floor space while you wait!
The Daily Tot’s No Boundaries: Vol 3
Continuing The Daily Tot’s onwards mission to revolutionising preconceived expectations about rum on this side of Havana, No Boundaries: Vol 3 — the bar’s latest menu comprising ten new cocktails — uses the spirit in ways well beyond the tutti-frutti. Set sail, first, with 12 Miles Daisy, which remixes Havana rum with dry curcacao, citrus oil, fig jam, hazelnut and nutmeg. Then, keep the buzz going with the Caribbean Coco Milk Punch (The Daily Tot’s first-ever milk punch!), clarified with coconut milk and featuring the herbaceous flavour profile of pandan with a tingly hit of wasabi to top it all off. Other cocktails include a lemonade-infused serve garnished with a tiny rubber duck, award-winning bartender Martin Hudak’s Espresso Martiki and more.
And also, a warm welcome to The Daily Tot’s brand-new Lead Bartender Maikal Gurung!
The Daily Tot, Shop E, LG/F, Felicity Building, 58 Hollywood Road, Central, Hong Kong, +852 2366 6836