Hong Kong chronicles 01

In this post, I will start telling about Hong Kong. For now, bars. I stopped working in bars around autumn 2019. Miss those days very much.

Boulivardier

1. The Diplomat.

Location: Central (HK Island).

This bar is among those recommended by many websites. The bar requires scanning QR code in the app LeaveHomeSafe. The security guard asks for the vaccination record.

The bar is small. The counter is also small. The tables are small and two-three people may sit there. The location is on the ground floor of the office/residential building in the downtown area, so, the view is not very cool here. The visitors are usually business people or couples — upper-middle class. The bar is perfect for a date.

The cocktails are fine: classics and signature drinks. They use good alcohol, the bartender works fast, mixes and shakes two cocktails at the same time. The bartenders are young but watched closely by the owner/manager.

Some cocktails’ garnishing I did not like though — ground chocolate on the huge chunk of ice is a failure. The chocolate sticks to the lips and it’s awkward to drink. The drink is cool though.

The prices are average high — 110 and higher per cocktail, especially signature. A service fee is included. The venue does not allow apps like AlipayHK, but allows paying with Union Pay. Overall, I liked the place.

2. Room 309.

Location: Central (HK Island).

This bar is also among the recommendations. The bar is in the business building, it is better to book the sit at the counter. There are no tables. Every two seats are separate from the screen. Nobody checks the vaccination record but needs to scan the QR code.

The bar is also small and narrow with a long bar counter. There are no windows except the waiting room. The design and interior are amazing.

The cocktails are very good. There are signatures, classics, many house spirits they used are not colored. Perfect for mixology. The bartenders work not only at their station but move around. It depends on the number of guests and orders. It is nice to talk to them. No problems with garnishing.

The prices are high — 120 and higher. But it’s worth it. A service fee is included. The venue does not allow apps like AlipayHK, but allows paying with Union Pay.

I loved the place, but I’m broke, cannot go there often.

Dry Martini

3. Butler Bar.

Location: Tsim Sha Tsui (Kowloon).

There are many Japanese-style places in that neighborhood. Upstairs in one of the buildings on the 7th and 5th floor, there are two different rooms of the Butler Bar. You must scan QR code. No need for the vaccination record.

The interior reminds Japanese and Shanghainese whiskey bars. The owner is Japanese. He opened the bar in Moscow btw. So, the work style of the bartenders is Japanese. Though, they are a bit careless about the bottles on the shelves — do not put them in the right order and position.

Cocktails are amazing. All classics are cool. Very good communication with bartenders. I have even applied for a job there but to no avail.

The prices are average high. 100-110 HKD. Worth it. A service fee is included. Better book the table. UnionPay and AlipayHK are accepted.

Buonasera.

There are no pictures from Buonasera. It is upstairs, above the Butler. I did not really like Buonasera because of its pricing policy. The cocktails are fine, but why should I pay more if I can go for the same or maybe even better drinks downstairs? For design? No, thanks.

4. Good Optimist.

Location: Wan Chai (HK Island).

It is more like a cafe/restaurant neither than a bar. It is located on the side of the house, easily seen from the street.

The restaurant has a nice food menu. Drinks are cool. Green, blue design pleases the eye, feels like spring there. This place is perfect for friendly gatherings and lunchtime. The cocktails are fine. Not the best ones but fit the format. There are happy hour positions on weekdays.

Prices are average high. A service fee is included. Alipay HK and UnionPay are acceptable.

Jack Rose

5. Boticario.

Location: Tsim Sha Tsui (Kowloon).

You need to scan QR code. No need for a vaccination record. One of the best places I’ve visited. It is a restaurant with a terrace and a view of the bay. There are plenty of such venues in the building there. There is live music at 9 PM. You can sit on the terrace and enjoy the view.

The food menu is cool, there are plenty of wine positions. And cocktails, of course. Even though the drinks are not top-top the bartenders are the big deal. Open-minded, polite, share experience. If made mistakes — give free drink. I asked them to make me several classics they were excited.

Prices are average. 90-100. A service fee is included, no fee for live music. Alipay HK and UnionPay are acceptable.

Darkside.

Nearby in the hotel, you can go to the fancy Darkside bar listed on many recommendations and websites. However, it’s a fancy place for a business dinner or to celebrate an anniversary or whatever. The main problem is the line — it takes forever to get in because they are «fully booked, even at the bar.» If you’re fancy then make a nice booking system and be polite to ask visitors to sit at the bar counter with a glass of water. Otherwise, it’s just a fuss.

Will never go again.

Paper Plane

6. Armoury Bar.

Location: Central (HK island).

It is located in a very peaceful location with a fountain and square. People sit around on the terrace, enjoy meals, lunchtime, etc. A nice gathering place. All you need is to scan the QR code. And find the venue you like.

The bar has happy hours Mon-Thursday. The cocktail menu is limited but they have nice classics.

The price is average high. A service fee is included. AlipayHK is allowed as well as Union Pay. It’s a nice place to go together with friends or parents.

Pontiac.

Just nearby there is an LGBTQ+ friendly place that plays rock music. I guess rock music is the only good side of the bar. The service is pretty bad for the price of the drinks they have. They do not accept any kind of payment except cash that is ridiculous in all forms. I doubt I will go there again because nearby you can find a lot better places. If you’re a rock fan — surely can check it out. It’s not that crowded even on weekends.

Been to several other places. But they are not worth mentioning. Too small or too loud and shitty with shitty drinks. Or just better to go to the ones I mentioned above.

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