Picking the right location for your date night is very important to set a romantic mood, for some they skip the awkward eating out ('cos you won't be able to eat anyway, especially not for first dates) and head straight for some liquid courage. Would you go somewhere fancy to impress your date, somewhere chill and quiet for good conversations, or a speakeasy with a great selection of drinks? We've asked Hong Kong locals to recommend their tried and tested venues for a great date night.
RECOMMENDED: Take your pick from our round-up of the best Hong Kong bars.
Best Bars for dates according to locals
Crowned as 2019's Best Bar for Asia's 50 Best bar awards, The Old Man is a go-to bar among cocktail enthusiasts in the city and a highly recommended date venue by the locals. "The Old Man has that all-around balance in terms of atmosphere, drinks, and service – a low-key yet sophisticated, intimate experience that doesn’t feel overly pretentious," shares 34-year-old marketing consultant, Vinz Wu. "Whatever your date’s choice of poison is they’ll almost certainly be impressed by the list of innovative cocktails and the staff’s expertise in crafting them." For the cocktails, Vinz recommends the refreshing Perfect Whiskey Highball and the gin-based The Winner Takes Nothing.
If you're looking to impress your date, then walk into this speakeasy bar hidden behind an umbrella shop at Duddell Street. "It’s romantic, sophisticated, glamorous, and very different – not your typical speakeasy bar," shares 37-year-old, senior marketing manager, Jackie Chow. "If you haven’t been, you’ll be mesmerised by their interior, and will be reminded of the film Kingsman. It's very vintage – a perfect place to be with your date for something that you cannot find in other bars in HK," she adds. "The jazz music is one of the biggest reason that makes this place so unique. The atmosphere inside is cosy and relaxing." She suggests ordering a La Femme cocktail made with red-pepper-infused gin, kaffir, yuzu, lime, and Prosecco. And depending on your palate, you may try rum-based The Bitter Truth, or the dependable whiskey sour. Jackie recommends to hit the dance floor after a few drinks, and to check out yet, another, hidden VVIP room inside.
For fun cocktail libations that cater to your personal taste, it might be fun to discover various concoctions with your significant someone. "It’s dimly lit setting, tasteful décor, and bespoke cocktail makes it the perfect romantic date spot!," says 24-year-old marketing executive, Yumi. "I like how there’s no drinks menu. The bartenders create a cocktail tailored to your taste buds. Each drink is a surprise which makes it even better."
Another hidden gem, the bar lies inside the Pottinger Hotel, and you need to get a key from “The Reception” to enter. If your date likes an adventure, he or she might be up for some palate discovery as here they serve colourless drinks in various notes. "Celebrity mixologist Antonio Lai runs room 309, so you can expect that all cocktails are worth trying," shares director Karrie Bitanga. "They are great for intimate chats and sweet nothings." For cocktails, Karrie recommends the Crystal Old Fashioned, a little bitter but sweet.
For oenophile couples, they can head to their Wan Chai, Mid-Levels, or Central locations. The place offers various French wines which can then be paired with meats and cheeses. "LQV is the perfect spot for any wine lovers, their simple French menu is a bonus," says Yumi. "Their menu is like a dictionary of French wines and would take you a good 30 minutes just going through the whole list." If you'll be going on a first date and starting a journey on wines, the place provides a team of French cheese masters, butchers, and sommeliers to help you get the best food and wine pairing for your romantic evening.
"I never realise how late it is when we spend the evening at Potato Head!" Karrie enthuses. If you're up for some cool vinyl music and a one-of-a-kind listening experience, then head down to Potato Head's Music Room. "It's one of my favourite places when it comes to music. The vibe is fun, and the DJs play groovy or lounge-y tunes," Karrie adds. She recommends The Barong Zombies for drinks, "it tastes like a punch, but boy will you get struck by this drink!" she exclaims. "Lots of memories for sure after just two orders of this drink, which is their limit by the way."
A secret cocktail bar hidden within the speakeasy Foxglove, the bar is great for intimate romantic dates. "Frank’s Library feels like I’m in a private den with my personal bartender and cocktails are very good," says Karrie. The bar’s concept is based on travels of fictional Englishman Frank Minza, the cocktail menu inspired by his globe-trotting adventures. Expect premium cocktails a cut above Foxglove’s usual offerings and potent barrel-aged tipples.
From the creators of Mrs Pound and Foxglove, this speakeasy houses over 250 showcasing premium gins from around the world and also shakes up an array of creative cocktails. "It's a great place to start with some gin-based cocktails and intimate enough for a bit of a chat, catch up on the day," shares 37-year-old senior mortgage broker, Jason Lam. "You need to keep an eye out for the Porcelain Shanghai Dry Gin! I had an opportunity to go to a private tasting of this on another date night, and it was awesome."
If your date is a budding whisky enthusiast, then Club Qing might be an excellent venue to explore. The bar specialises in rare and old whiskies, and they offer over 30 curated whisky tasting sets of Japanese whiskies. "It's dark and romantic," shares 36-year-old cafe owner, Gary Wong. " They have quite a bit of privacy as well. Customers can hang out by the terrace to smoke, or chill. Try out their tasting menu too, which is always a good starting point to open conversations," he adds.