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Time Out Hong Kong Bar Awards 2021 winners
Time Out Hong Kong

Time Out Hong Kong Bar Awards 2021: Winners

The best of Hong Kong’s bar scene revealed.

Tatum Ancheta
Written by
Tatum Ancheta
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Since 2018, Time Out Hong Kong Bar Awards have celebrated the amazing talent and hard work that goes into the city's drinks scene. Now in its fourth year, the Awards continue to shine a spotlight on our local drinking establishments, honouring the movers and shakers who continue to inspire the city's cocktail scene. 

This year, we introduced new awards and invited some of Hong Kong's top spirits experts and industry leaders to join our judging panel and help us crown the winners in 14 categories. The Bar Awards culminated on December 7, 2021, with an award ceremony held at Zuma Hong Kong. Keep scrolling to see the champions of this year's Hong Kong's bar scene. 

RECOMMENDED: Get to know the judges who helped crown this year's winners. To learn about the full list of nominees and criteria, visit this page. Curious about last year's winners? See the full list of 2020 Bar Awards winners here. For your inspiration on your next bar crawl, check out our guide to the 50 Best Bars in HK

And the winners are...

After temporarily closing due to the city's bar restrictions, Rosewood Hong Kong's flagship bar, DarkSide, reopened this year with a bang. They introduced new cocktail menus – the forgotten classics and a conceptual moon-inspired menu, as well as an array of eco cocktails crafted with locally sourced ingredients and ecoSpirits' low-waste technology. DarkSide's talented duo Arkadiusz Rybak and Simone Rossi also launched mixology masterclasses and collaborated with other establishments and brands for guest bar shifts and exclusive drink programmes. It has been a busy and fruitful year for Darkside, and all their efforts and creative offerings make them stand out as the best bar in the city.  

Runner-up: Mizunara: The Library

It has been a challenging past two years for the bar industry and Wan Chai's hidden Japanese bar, Mizunara: The Library, has also suffered temporary closure due to the pandemic – but that didn't stop the bar from providing Hongkongers creative ways to serve their bar offerings. Aside from offering bottled cocktails, their award-winning 'bartender-in-chief' Masahiko Endo collaborated with various establishments to bring Mizunara's stellar bar service to its customers. The bar reopened once the ban was lifted and to this day, continues to serve well-crafted cocktails along with bar experiences that include drink workshops and collaboration with Wamono Art, fusing together art and the art of mixology. 

Devender Sehgal, Mandarin Oriental and The Aubrey's beverage manager, has won the 2021 Bartender of the Year award. Formerly from 8 ½ Otto e Mezzo Bombana, Devender has brought his expertise to the hotel's drink programme, launching not one but three bar experiences within newly opened The Aubrey. His passion, knowledge, and execution make him the reason we keep coming back to the bar. 

Runner-up: Simone Rossi

This year, not only did Rosewood's flagship bar DarkSide nab the Bar of the Year award, but the bar's beverage manager Simone Rossi was also runner-up for the best bartender of 2021. The past year has been another challenging time for the industry, and ​​Simone's continued effort in promoting DarkSide can be seen in bar programmes, guest bartender shifts, and educational platforms that they've championed throughout the year.  

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Legends Award is a special award that recognises the personality who has left an indelible mark in the industry, and for this year, this honour goes to the founders of the first eco-conscious bar in HK, Penicillin's Roman Ghale and Agung Prabowo. This influential duo continues to shape the way we drink in the city. They were the former founders of the multi-awarded bar The Old Man Hong Kong who put Hong Kong bars on the map as one of Asia's best as well as in the world. Their new bar, Penicillin, has proven that bars with a purposeful mission are the future of the cocktail industry. 

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One of the newest additions to this year's awards is the Best Sustainability Initiative, and Hong Kong's first eco-conscious bar, Penicillin, took home the award. This special award was chosen by the Bar World of Tomorrow, Pernod Ricard's educational platform aimed at upskilling bartenders on sustainable and responsible practises. Penicillin's sustainable practises set a new model for the hospitality industry. One of the highlights of their sustainability initiatives is the One Penicillin, One Tree cocktail, a climate-positive cocktail that plants one native tree in the endangered Kalimantan rainforest in Borneo, Indonesia, for every cocktail served. 

Runner-up - Draft Land

Draft Land disrupts the cocktail scene by serving excellent cocktails on tap. Their pragmatic approach in offering premixed cocktails minimises water use and energy wastage, which is more environmentally sustainable and helps increase profits for the venue.

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You've named Four Seasons' new bar, Argo, as your favourite bar in the city this year, and it's easy to see why. Designed to emulate a conservatory with tiny terrariums and mirrors flooded with natural light, this stylish hot spot is perfect for impressing clients, romantic dates, celebrating a special occasion, or indulging in some after-work drinks. The bar's drink menu boasts some of the finest signature cocktails Hong Kong has to offer, along with an extensive selection of novel spirits that you can't find anywhere else in the city. 

Runner-up - The Daily Tot

Next to Argo, Caribbean-inspired bar The Daily Tot also received a lot of votes from our readers. Named after the centuries-old ritual of handing out a daily rum ration to Royal Navy sailors from 1850 to the 1970s, this popular bar on Hollywood Road offers niche rum bottles from Barbados and Trinidad and signature cocktails that highlight rum's versatility. 

It's no surprise that everyone's favourite bar is also the recipient of this year's Best New Bar award. Helmed by 2020 Time Out Bar Awards Bartender of the Year and Four Seasons beverage manager Lorenzo Antinori, Argo has been making waves since they opened in the city, even grabbing the top spot at Time Out's 2021 Coolest Bar in the world. Along with a great cocktail programme, Argo's atmosphere, design, and service stand out from the rest of the new kids on the block. 

Runner-up - Penicillin

Penicillin, Hong Kong's first eco-conscious bar, has been shaking up the city's bar scene since they opened and are now entering the 'best lists' in the world, proving that bars with a purposeful mission are the future of the cocktail industry. In August, Penicillin also made it to Time Out's list of coolest bars in the world, representing establishments that go above and beyond the call of duty and push the boundaries of today's drinking culture, one drink at a time.  

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Another new addition to the roster of this year's awards. The Best Cafe Bar award goes to Rest Coffee Gin. It's the perfect place to chill with coffee by day and gin by night while enjoying harbour views at the West Kowloon Art Park. In the morning, coffee is brewed from one of 10 different kinds of single-origin coffee beans, and after sunset, you can sample almost a hundred different gins from their collection with an equally interesting and flavourful tonic. 

Runner-up - Dio

Co-founded by restaurant industry veterans Bar Buonasera bar manager Nick Tse and former Shangri-La Group F&B marketing manager Billy Ha, Dio serves artisan cuppa by day and curated wines and cocktails at night. Expect pour-overs of single-origin coffees and spirit-forward cocktails crafted by their resident bartender Bone Cheng. 

This year's Rising Star award goes to Ovolo Hotels' assistant beverage manager, Art Fatkullin. Fatkullin's foray into the bar industry began in his native St Petersburg, where he fine-tuned his palate as a tea sommelier before discovering a passion for mixology. He worked in numerous bars from Russia to Asia and collected accolades as quickly as late-night stories. This year, Fatkullin competed for the Diageo World Class Hong Kong and Macao and was crowned the 2021 Bartender of the Year. 

Runner-up - Joe Wong

Formerly of J. Boroski and Coa, Joe Wong has made significant progress through the ranks and have just taken the reins at one of the latest openings on Wyndham Street, Apothecary. As its head mixologist, his talents behind the bar is reflected on Apothecary's creative menu called The Herbalist's Notebook, which offers 12 cocktails focused on using herbs and spices.

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The city's newest whisky bar Wood Ear, not only boasts a wealth of rare whiskies – over 400 labels sourced from auctions and private collectors from Scotland, Japan and beyond – their menu also offers an extensive selection of well-crafted zero-alcohol drinks that matches its cocktail programme.  

Runner-up: Roganic

The Hong Kong branch of Simon Rogan's London restaurant, Roganic, is one of the leading figures in the city's farm-to-table movement and also the city's first Michelin Green Star. Their drink offerings include wines and cocktails, as well as delicious craft zero-alcoholic drinks. 

We introduced this category last year because restaurants were the only establishments where we could get a stiff drink due to the restrictions. With so many new restaurants-bar openings in the city for the past year, we decided to keep this award to recognise the venues serving up an exceptional bar experience in equal measure to its food, and this year's award goes to Ice House Street's Margo, Kyle & Bain. Created by the group behind La Rambla and The Diplomat, guests can book a seat at the intimate brasserie-esque European restaurant Margo helmed by chef Mario Paecke (the former chef de cuisine of Somm and sous chef at two-Michelin-starred restaurant Amber) or head to the restaurant's mezzanine floor for a seat at Hong Kong's first Martini-centric bar led by The Diplomat's co-founder John Nugent. 

Runner-up: Ami Wood Ear

One of the city's newest multi-concept establishments, Ami Wood Ear celebrates elevated yet approachable Parisian cuisine and fine whiskies.

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This award recognises a destination bar that offers the same quality service, drinks, and atmosphere as their hotel accommodations, and this year's honour goes to Rosewood Hong Kong's DarkSide, also the winner of this year's Best Bar. 

Runner-up: Argo, Four Seasons Hotel Hong Kong

This year's Best New Bar Argo came in second place as one of the city's best hotel bars. Its service, stunning interior, atmosphere, drinks selection, and food all contribute to making it a must-visit spot in the city. 

TAP: The Ale Project has returned to Hak Po Street in Mong Kok, and its elevated selection of craft beers, newly revamped food menu, relaxed atmosphere, and quirky vibes made them this year's Best Beer Bar. Its locally and internationally brewed beers and esoteric brews fermented from wild yeast make it one of the best joints to discover some new brews in the city. 

Runner-up - Second Draft

Brought to you by the same owners of TAP: The Ale Project, Second Draft is a popular craft beer gastropub located in Tai Hang. Apart from serving some cracking locally brewed beers on tap, the gastropub is also heavily influenced by local flavours when it comes to the grub with dishes like nuts with spicy Mala seasoning and dried oyster croquettes on the menu. 

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This year's Best Rooftop Bar award goes to the highest bar in the world, The Ritz-Carlton's Ozone. Sitting sky-high on the 118th floor of the ICC, Ozone offers one of the finest wine lists in town and a great cocktail programme complemented by incredible views of Hong Kong.  

Runner-up - Cruise Restaurant & Bar

Hyatt Centric Victoria Harbour Hong Kong's Cruise Restaurant & Bar is a great spot to enjoy sundowners and spectacular views of Victoria Harbour. If not for the views, friendly service, and modern Asian fare, Cruise's popular large format sharing jug cocktails are what draws people to this North Point bar. 

Instead of honouring one particular cocktail, this year, we recognised the cocktail programme that caters to varied tastes and reflects the brand philosophy of the bar, and Argo nabbed the award for their 'Here today, gone tomorrow' cocktail menu that celebrates six staple ingredients – coffee, honey, rice, cacao, vanilla, and apples – at risk of becoming endangered in the future because of climate change. 

Runner-up: The Moon Menu, DarkSide

DarkSide's high concept menu features eight cocktails inspired by the phases of the moon. Each cocktail is presented in unique vessels crafted by Ryan Foote of R L Foote Design Studio and Polish abstract resin artist Magdalena Klim, making the drinking experience a lot more fun. 

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