Watch the video below for a first look at Bar Leone:
Hong Kong’s bar scene is continuously evolving, with new establishments popping up almost every month. As the weather warms up, even more, new bars are set to open in the city. Following the recent announcement of The Savory Project’s opening - the second project of renowned bar Coa – top bar at Asia’s 50 Best Bars list for 2021 and 2022 - another highly anticipated addition is Bar Leone - the first independent venture by award-winning mixologist Lorenzo Antinori, formerly the beverage manager at Four Seasons Hong Kong’s Argo.
Set to open by the end of June on Bridges Street in Soho, Bar Leone is a venue that aims to celebrate the community and spotlight classic cocktails. “We hope to become a reference point within Hong Kong’s F&B community, but also be known as a neighbourhood bar that you can come back to again and again,” shares Lorenzo. “Our aim is to create a curated experience which is unapologetically nostalgic whilst also having a bit of fun,” he adds.
Bar Leone aims to embody the spirit of the strong, sovereign lion, the symbol of Trastevere – Lorenzo’s hometown – and draw inspiration from traditional Roman bars that are integral to the city’s 21 neighbourhoods. The place is relaxed, homey, and fun, reflecting Lorenzo’s playful character. Expect burnt orange banquettes, a mahogany bar, church-style candles, posters of famous Italian personalities – including the pope – beats from an eclectic soundtrack that celebrates Italian pop culture from the 70s to 80s, and a lot of personal knick-knacks that Lorenzo collected over the years, including adorable pictures of him when he was a kid (some you’ll find staring at you on the bathroom walls!) and old calendar posters that he took from his brother’s wall.
The bar programme showcases revived classic cocktails using a ‘low-intervention’ approach and focuses on ingredients and seasonality. The bar features straightforward craft mixology without the use of modern machinery or distillation, less garnish, and no unnecessary presentation. “We are taking a step away from the current trends and proudly keeping it simple, allowing guests to fully understand the ingredients that go into a cocktail without the need of being gimmicky,” says Lorenzo.
The menu includes signature cocktails and a section called ‘Friends and Fam’, which is dedicated to brand partnerships and collaborations that features drinks like Apple Martini (10 percent of the sales will be given to More Good Foundation), and Truffle Sazerac made with Fernet Hunter Cacao – a bottle collaboration with Bar Leone. Guests can also order espresso ($15, one of the cheapest espresso servings in the city) or amaro and chow down on small dishes and snacks like house-smoked olives, polenta cacio e pepe, artisanal cold cuts, and Roman stuffed pizza with mortadella, one of Lorenzo’s personal favourites.
We're fortunate to be among the first to try their offerings, and the standout drinks on the menu include the refreshing Olive Oil Sour ($130), made using a milk shaker to achieve an extra frothy finish. The bar's signature Leone Martini ($130) is a floral, nutty, spirit-forward treat served with cashew-stuffed olives. Another noteworthy option is the Yuzu Bianco ($130), a boozy white Negroni that's easy to drink thanks to its refreshing yuzu notes.
Follow barleonehk on Instagram, for more updates. Watch this space for a first look video of the bar.