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Mizunara
Photograph: Courtesy Mizunara: The Library

The best bars in Wan Chai and Admiralty

No longer a hive of scum and villainy, Wan Chai is now home to some seriously good bars. Admiralty has a couple too. Here are the best

By Time Out Hong Kong
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Once infamous for being the seedy heart of Hong Kong Island, Wan Chai has shed much of its sleazy reputation. Sure, it’s still not entirely wholesome – there remains a good number of bars on Lockhart Road that don’t count as ‘family friendly’ – but the neighbourhood has come a long way and is now home to an increasing number of top-tier bars complete with brilliant cocktails and amazing rooftop views, not to mention some awesome cheap eats too. Admiralty next door is no slouch either when it comes to offering good places to drink, so join us as we bring you our round-up of 20 of the best bars in these adjoining neighbourhoods.

RECOMMENDED: While you're here, you might want to consider checking out the winners of our second annual Time Out Bar Awards!

Best bars in Wan Chai and Admiralty

1. Back Bar

Bars and pubs Cocktail bars Wan Chai

With Ryan Nightingale now long gone, the cocktail menu at Back Bar is completely different from the one of yore. The old movie-themed favourites like Ron Burgundy and Reservoir Grogs are no more. The more Chinese-themed tipples that have replaced them aren’t as good but the intimate surrounds of Back Bar still make this a solid option worth considering.

Bar Q88
Photograph: Courtesy Bar Q88

2. Bar Q88

Bars and pubs Hotel bars Admiralty

Okay, it’s in Admiralty, but still. Q88 is a sleek place to chill. The lineup of cocktails is sound but of special note is the ability to order some 40 choices of wine by the glass and nearly 200 by the bottle, making it one of the top spots in town for some vino.

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3. Djapa

Restaurants Brazilian Wan Chai

Although the food at Djapa is nothing special, the whisky list is fantastic. There are more than 300 options when it comes to Japanese whiskies alone. Combined with the funky decor and the windows opening out onto Lee Tung Avenue, this a great spot to enjoy a tipple or two.

4. Hoppy Junction

Bars and pubs Craft beer pubs Wan Chai

Hoppy Junction is an unpretentious, down-to-earth drinking hole that serves an especially good range of locally brewed suds – as well as your Gweilo and Young Master, expect to see Seven Brews, Citi Brew, The Brew Commons and more.

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5. La Piola

Restaurants Italian Wan Chai

It’s been a while now since La Piola moved from Lyndhurst Terrace to its new digs beneath The Pawn and finally, it looks settled. Although its northern Italian cuisine is mighty fine, La Piola makes for a fine drinks spot too. The owners like to claim they popularised the Aperol spritz in this town and true or not, the bar serves a range of delectable spritzes including ones made with artichoke and mandarin liquors. If that’s not enough to tempt you, the traditional Italian cocktails – everything from a bellini to a sgroppino – and range of vermouth surely will.

Le Quinze Vins
Photograph: Courtesy Le Quinze Vins/Harold de Puymorin

6. Le Quinze Vins

Bars and pubs Wine bars Wan Chai

Le Quinze Vins offers patrons a long list of French labels as well as traditional cheese and cold cut platters and other wine-enhanced nibbles. A cosy space, LQV is an authentic slice of Paris in Wan Chai.

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Lobster Bar Island Shangri-La
Photograph: Courtesy Lobster Bar

7. Lobster Bar

Bars and pubs Hotel bars Admiralty

Long established as one of the finest bars in Hong Kong – Lobster Bar has been a fixture on Asia’s 50 Best Bars list since it started – the cocktails here are measured perfectly and the beers come in frosted pewter mugs to add an exceptionally classy touch.

Mirage – 'No Monkey Business' cocktail
Mirage's No Monkey Business cocktail

8. Mirage

Bars and pubs Cocktail bars Wan Chai

The Renaissance Harbour View Hotel Hong Kong’s lobby bar is an airy and elegant space. The pleasant-on-the-palate drinks go nicely with the stunning views afforded by the 25ft-tall windows and the unobstructed harbour vistas. A great date spot.

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Mizunara
Photograph: Courtesy Mizunara: The Library

9. Mizunara

Bars and pubs Cocktail bars Wan Chai

Headed by award-winning ‘bartender-in-chief’ Masahiko Endo, Mizunara is a Japanese-style bar hidden away on the fourth floor of a random commercial building on Lockhart Road. Yes, the atmosphere is often restrained, so this is no place to go large, but if its exquisite cocktails, an extensive whisky list and attentive service youre after, you cant do much better.

10. Ophelia

Bars and pubs Wan Chai

Although this Ashley Sutton concept doesn’t match the exceptional standards set by J Boroski – Sutton’s best bar in our city  the exotic atmosphere (unabashedly overdone) and fabulous cocktails nonetheless make for a strong experience.

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11. The Pawn

Restaurants Wan Chai

The Pawn is another venue often considered more for food than drinks (the shadow cast by culinary director Tom Aikens). However, bar manager Tunny Grattidge’s recent revamp of the The Pawn’s drinks menu has deservedly won wide acclaim and made the heritage building a go-to spot not just for lunch or dinner.

12. Pirata

Restaurants Wan Chai

Better known for its pretty fab Italian food, Pirata also serves up a mean series of cocktails. The drinks menu is small but focused and nearly everything on it is a winner, whether it's the the fruity Dolce & Banana or the fiesty Germano Mexicano made with mezcal and fresh ginger. Did we mention theres a dedicated vermouth bar too?

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Sake Beya Masu
Photograph: Courtesy Sake Beya Masu

13. Sake Beya Masu

Bars and pubs Izakaya Wan Chai

It’s like a scene out of a Japanese film. The main characters go to a watering hole that stocks excellent alcoholic choices but it’s quiet, so the friends can mull over their latest big problem.  Sake Beya Masu aims to be that exact bar, with a unique atmosphere and great selection of sakes to put the world to rights.

Tai Lung Fun
Photograph: Calvin Sit

14. Tai Lung Fung

Bars and pubs Wan Chai

‘Tai lung fung’, in modern-day slang, refers to the showy and ostentatious. It’s an ironic name for this laid-back establishment that serves reasonable cocktails, beer, wine and food. Our suggestion is to gather your friends, order a round, grab the Cards Against Humanity box from the back of the bar and settle in for a while.

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15. Thaiwan

Bars and pubs Craft beer pubs Wan Chai

A quaint, friendly spot at the less fancy end of Ship Street, the drinking at Thaiwan often spills out onto the cul-de-sac outside. The bar offers up a surprisingly decent range of beers and Asian bar snacks that are none too shabby.

16. TED's Lookout

Bars and pubs Wan Chai

Tucked away at the end of Moon Street, Ted’s is the ideal place for a quiet drink away from Wan Chai’s almost inescapable hustle and bustle. Focusing on Prohibition Era, South American-inspired cocktails, the bar offers solid libations but even better bar food.

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17. Trafalgar

Bars and pubs Wan Chai

Trafalgar isn’t going to win any awards for most stylish bar in HK or for its mixology, but it’s a damn solid boozer all the same. A no-nonsense kind of gaff, there are 50 beers on offer and a cracking atmosphere whenever there’s any sports on. 

Handover Hallelujah at The Wanch
The Wanch

18. The Wanch

Music Wan Chai

True, The Wanch is much more famous as a live music venue than a quality drinking den. Nonetheless, it’s a local institution for good reason. And if it’s a reasonably priced drop of booze you’re after in an unpretentious setting that comes with live music, you can’t do much better than here.

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19. Worth The Fuss

Bars and pubs Cocktail bars Wan Chai

WTF, standing for ‘Worth The Fuss’, is a surprisingly cosy neighbourhood bar with regular live music and DJ nights. The menu has a decent range of whiskies, and the signature and classic cocktails aren’t bad either.

Looking for a drink elsewhere?

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