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Hong Kong is a city that takes networking to new heights, and sealing those business/friendship deals is usually done over a glass or three. Or quite often a lot more. Here are some of the most stylish places to make friends and influence people… or just have a fantastic night out.
Newly opened, Duddells is the new China Club. An avatar of the beloved old member’s club, it takes the former’s art gravitas, timeless décor and local cuisine, and reinvents them with changing exhibitions (currently the M K Lau Collection and more), Ilse Crawford’s fashion forward interiors, sexy and comfort Canto dishes by master chef Siu Hin Chi (previously of T'ang Court) and punchy cocktails by mixologist Alexandre Chatte. The leafy terrace is a highlight, although surprisingly it’s very chilled, almost a quiet zone. Everyone is flocking here, so keep your eyes on stalks; the clientele is as fascinating as the art on the walls.
Bonnie Gokson’s restaurant for the high- and well-heeled is home to one of Hong Kong’s most spectacular bars, made spectacular for the clear view over downtown Hong Kong looking east, and out to Victoria Harbour. This is the place to bring friends from overseas for a rather expensive glass of champagne or wine, time it so the sun’s setting, and then watch the magic of the city dawn on them as it gets dark. There are clusters of sofas and tables to make snacking easier if you get here early enough to nab them, but just standing around watching the traffic snaking below is entertainment enough.
Honi Honi Tiki Cocktail Lounge
Dress to impress to get into this Tiki themed bar, as although the concept is super-relaxed, the doormen are not. But once you’re past the fashion police you’ll find yourself in a roomy bar with cool booth seating inside, plus a leafy decking terrace outside. The cocktails at Honi Honi (‘kiss kiss’ in Polynesian) are quality all the way. Conjured up by Max Traverse, with an emphasis on their shelves of rum, the signature Honi Honi Kiss (which must mean Kiss Kiss Kiss – uhuh!) is a wowser of vodka, passion fruit, vanilla syrup, guava juice and champagne.
As more and more French expats pour into Hong Kong, the number of affordable (thank goodness) French bistros continues to rise, and La Cabane is one of the city's most rustic, friendly and delicious best. No surprise that its small interior of a handful of wooden and barrel tables and stools or swing chairs is always packed. Ask the staff for their wine recommendations, and for an outstanding snack pair the results with their incredible platters of charcuteries and cheeses, served with their very moreish bread.
The closest Hong Kong comes to a speakeasy, 001 is to be found (or missed) behind an unmarked door in the middle of one of Central’s most popular wet markets. After 7pm the stalls have been packed away and the bar's clientele tiptoe past the odd vegetable leaf or piece of fruit, to knock on the door and wait to be identified and let in. Down the stairs and you’re in a dark bar of warm chocolate furnishings, red walls and cosy booth seating. The earl grey martini is heaven in a glass and strangely the very best thing to eat here is their not-so-humble grilled cheese sandwich. Just do it. (No website, it’s a speakeasy. But call ahead on 2810 6969 for bookings and directions.)
I almost always bring visitors to Sevva, the sleek rooftop bar in the Prince’s building, for well-crafted cocktails amidst some of HK’s most iconic landmarks.
It will take some effort to find 001, a sort of speakeasy, but you’re rewarded with a cool crowd, serious drinks, in a room designed for actual conversation more than rowdy revelry. The entrance is on Graham Street; call +852 2810 6969 for reservations and directions.
In true tiki bar tradition, rum is the spirit of choice at kitschy-chic Honi Honi, but there’s more to the menu here than Mai Tais. Consider booking ahead, and bring close friends to share one of the gargantuan fruity concoctions.
Beer lovers should make a beeline to The Globe for an unmatched selection of craft brews from around the world. A good choice for something casual and convivial (though it can be loud, especially if there’s a big match on the screen).
Above the fray of Lan Kwai Fong, Wyndham the 4th features drinks formulated by award-winning mixologist Tom Wood, in an elegant, intimate setting.