It may be a whole lot quieter than its neighbours to the east, but Sai Ying Pun still has plenty of places where you can get a good drink. Indeed, Hong Kong's residential oasis even has a couple of top cocktail spots, including one of the best gin joints on the island in Ping Pong 129 and an outpost of Bali's coolest beach club, Potato Head. Who would've thunk it? Actually, if you've spent any amount of time in Sai Ying Pun at all, the answer to that (rhetorical) question would be you. From colourful street art to high-quality coffee to a measure of authenticity in the form of bustling wet markets and dried seafood shops, this neighbourhood has it all. If you're looking for an alternative to the nightlife in Central and Sheung Wan, head out to Sai Ying Pun and see what this district has to offer.
RECOMMENDED: Don't stop at Sai Ying Pun. Drink your way across our SAR, seeing how many of our favourite bars you can visit without going broke or battering your liver into oblivion.
Best bars in Sai Ying Pun
The second outlet in town opened by Taiwanese craft brewery Zhang Men offers an impressive selection of beers on tap — the darker offerings, including the black IPA and Russian imperial stout (Professor X), are excellent. Drop by before 7pm to enjoy fantastic happy hour deals, with beers as much as 50 percent off. If you’re early or lucky enough, you might also score a seat at the porch, which has the best people-watching views.
Turning an old ping pong hall on the remote and unassuming streets of Sai Ying Pun into a stylish Spanish gin bar is a stroke of genius. Everything about this place is cool, laid-back and thoughtfully curated. The atmosphere and roominess of the space are easily the main draws. But, thankfully, equal thought has gone into the drinks. There’s a huge range of gins and tonics to choose from, including classic Spanish brand Gin Xoriguer and locally owned Perfume Trees.
The sister establishment of the famous Bali bar and restaurant packs quite a punch: one part dining (Kaum), one part drinks (Eksotika Bar) and one part music (the Music Room). We suggest grabbing one of the tropical, Balinese-inspired cocktails from the bar and settling into the wood-panelled music room for a next-level sonic experience.
This intimate neighbourhood eatery serves a curated menu of creative sharing plates. While the food merits a visit in its own right, Brut! deserves just as much attention for its stellar wine programme, which shines the spotlight on natural, organic and biodynamic wines from around the world. The wines change frequently, and they’re always interesting: from unfiltered German rieslings to chardonnays from the Willamette Valley and Aussie pinots.
The 200-metre stretch of Second Street adjacent to Centre Street and Eastern Street on either end has a lot to offer. Among the many cosy little places to sink your teeth into is Crispy Bistro. This eclectically decorated bar-restaurant is an excellent place to enjoy a drink or two in the company of friends. The options won't blow you away — more Peroni and prosecco than Mikkeller and Moët — but the prices are right, clocking in at around $60 for a drink outside of happy hours.
Located at the base of the towering Island Crest condo, this gastropub is a classic, down-to-earth neighbourhood joint. There’s no service charge here and cocktails come in at a pocket-friendly $68. Beers and wines by the glass fall in the same $50-$60 range. That’s not a knock on their quality, though. Everything here is reliably delicious, from the Aperol spritz to the margarita. Second Street also puts on a hearty brunch with the option of cocktail pairing. Traditional English breakfast with a Bloody Mary, anyone?
Up on High Street, Pete’s Place and partner venue TM's by the Den offer an utterly unpretentious atmosphere, which is a breath of fresh air in this city. Don’t expect bells and whistles — it's your standard small joint with an open-air porch and a bar that takes up a lot of the interior space. But the food is tasty and the booze is affordable (drinks start at $38 during happy hour). Taken with the warm vibe, this place has 'regular' written all over it.
You can easily spot Winstons Coffee on Queen’s Road West by its black facade and retro cinema signage. This trendy coffee joint boasts some well-brewed classic coffee, innovative snacks – acai bowls, biltong, flaxseed power bites, matcha tarts and focaccia – and encourages day drinking by serving cocktails from 11am onwards. Espresso martini, anyone?
Located in a renovated shopfront in the Warehouses on West, The Winery is almost always packed with people. In fact, if you ignore busy Connaught Road in the background, you might think you're in Central. That's a testament to the quality of the food and drinks — wines by the glass, prosecco, craft cocktails, brunchy dishes to share — as well as the buzzing social atmosphere. If you're looking for a low-key yet very cool space to get a drink, this is your spot in Sai Ying Pun.