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The best bars in Wan Chai

No longer a hive of scum and villainy, Wan Chai is now home to some seriously good bars. We count down the best

Deligator, on Johnston Road

Once infamous for being the seedy heart of Hong Kong Island, Wan Chai has shed much of its sleazy reputation in recent years. Sure, the western end of Lockhart Road is still less than salubrious but the wider neighbourhood is now home to an increasing number of top tier bars – which come with some of the best cocktails and amazing rooftop views  as well as some awesome cheap eats, too.

We count down the top 20 bars in Wan Chai and guarantee no solicitation, just celebrations.

The best bars in Wan Chai

20

The Wanch

It’s true, The Wanch is much more famous as a home of live music than a quality drinking den. Nonetheless, it’s a local instituion 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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Wan Chai
19

Thaiwan

A quaint, friendly spot on 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.

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Wan Chai
18

TED’s Lookout

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, Latin-inspired cocktails the bar offers solid cocktails but even better bar food.

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Wan Chai
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17

Moonshine & The Po Boys

This Cajun- and Creole-themed bar and restaurant is another winner in the Star Street precinct. The seedy kind of Southern gothic charm is something Hong Kong could do with more of and the cocktails  now the opening kinks have been ironed out  are appealing takes on the classics.

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Wan Chai
16

Mirage

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 offered by the 25ft-tall windows and the unobstructed harbour vistas. A great date spot.

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Wan Chai
15

Tai Lung Fung

‘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 and to grab Cards Against Humanity from the back of the bar.

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Wan Chai
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14

Djapa

Although the food at Djapa is nothing special, the whisky list is fantastic. There are over 300 options when it comes to Japanese whisky 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.

 

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Wan Chai
13

Bar Q88

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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Admiralty
12

Stone Nullah Tavern

The famous $1 happy hour may be no more but Stone Nullah Tavern is still worth checking out even when the drinks are full price. The USP these days is the wide variety of bourbon available  supposedly the largest selection in Hong Kong. 

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Wan Chai
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11

Djiboutii

A neat little spot tucked down an unassuming back-alley on Landale Street, Djiboutii is one of Wan Chais hidden gems (though its fame has grown since its unassuming opening in 2015). The drinks lean towards the tiki, so expect a lot of juice with your spirits. Don't think they lack a punch, though. 

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Wan Chai

The best bars in Wan Chai

10

Le Quinze Vins

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

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Wan Chai
9

Ophelia

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 (admittedly, perhaps a little overdone) and fabulous cocktails nonetheless make for a strong experience.

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Wan Chai
8

Baijiu Bar at Deng G

China’s ‘fire water’ doesn’t have a great reputation outside of the Mainland but Deng G is doing stirling PR to soften the often brutal spirits rep. The strong collection on offer here results in cocktails with surprising fruity notes and original flavour combinations.

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Wan Chai
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7

Deligator

Look past the delibertately down-at-heel décor and you’ll find some of the city’s best daiquiris at Deligator. The regular version here is just straight up Havana three years, lime and sugar syrup, and it’s divine. The Cuban sandwiches arent half bad either.

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Wan Chai
6

Saké Beya Masu

Despite the city’s plethora of high-end Japanese restaurants, a good saké bar is hard to find. Saké Beya Masu is one of the best and certainly one of the most welcoming. The location is like something straight outta Kyoto and both the range of saké and small bites are top notch.

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Wan Chai

The best bars in Wan Chai

5

Pirata

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 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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Wan Chai
4

The Pawn

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.

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Wan Chai
3

Lobster Bar

Although we left it off of our Best Bars in Central feature – it is in Admiralty, after all – we couldn't ignore Lobster Bar any longer, geographical fudge or not. Long established as one of the best bars in Hong Kong, if not Asia, the cocktails are measured perfectly and the beers come in frosted pewter mugs to add an exceptionally classy touch.

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Admiralty
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2

Mizunara

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

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Wan Chai
1

Back Bar

Ham & Sherry is a cut above most restaurants but its alcholic adjunct, Back Bar, is the real star. Former bar manager Ryan Nightingale may recently have moved on but the house he helped build has shown no drop in quality since. Every cocktail on the menu is an inventive standout and there are few places better for creative mixology.

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Looking for drinks in Central?

The best bars in Central

The only trouble with all the bars in Central is knowing where to start. Let us solve that problem for you with our guide to the very best in the neighbourhood.

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By: Douglas Parkes

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