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The Wilshire
Photo: Calvin SitDrinks at The Wilshire

The best new bars of 2018

We count down to our Bar Awards with a look at the best new bars of the year

Written by
Douglas Parkes
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As the Time Out Hong Kong Bar Awards 2018 get ever closer we’ve been looking back at all the openings that have come our way. Sure, not every one was a winner but there have been some cracking new arrivals that have kept us thirsty for more. Here are our top 10 favourites, some of which are sure to be featured in our awards early in December. If you haven’t got your tickets yet, don’t miss out!

RECOMMENDED: To see all our other favourite bars, click here. And if it’s food you’re after, try our guide to all the best restaurants in Hong Kong.

Best new bars of 2018

Blue Supreme
  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Bars and pubs
  • Craft beer pubs
  • Sheung Wan

The concept: Swish craft beer bar with an equal emphasis on food.
Why we loved it: Blue Supreme is pleasantly decorated, is intimate without feeling cramped and both food and drink are pretty spot on.
Of special note: The fact that the bar sits on Cat Street means it’s in a fairly residential area, so it doesn’t stay open too late and it’s not a rowdy sort of place to go with your mates.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Bars and pubs
  • Sports bars
  • Causeway Bay

The concept: Hong Kong’s first ‘urban golf club’, complete with indoors mini golf, bar and restaurant.
Why we loved it: There’s mini golf, what’s not to love? But Strokes doesn’t rely on that alone for its appeal – both food and drink are a cut above similar venues.
Of special note: Don’t think the place is only open come evening. Strokes is actually open all day, with coffee and juices available in the hours before stiff drinks are socially acceptable.

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  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Bars and pubs
  • Hotel bars
  • Central

The concept: One of New York’s best speakeasies comes to the Landmark MO.
Why we love it: The cocktails are fantastic and the bar food just as good. The Takoyaki Tots and hotdogs are reason enough to visit.
Of special note: While the initial hype may have rested on the fame of the original PDT in New York, the team here have done an excellent job forging a menu sympathetic to local ingredients and tastes.

The Artist House
  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Bars and pubs
  • Craft beer pubs
  • Causeway Bay

The concept: Fancy schmancy craft beer spot that comes with all manner of extras.
Why we love it: The Artist House might seem a bit pretentious but the beers it stocks are actually mighty fine. They also cost a very reasonable $48 each for a 330ml bottle.
Of special note: Those extras we were talking about? You can tailor your beer with something from the fragrance library or alter its taste with an infusion from the microbrewery – and that’s just for starters.

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  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Bars and pubs
  • Tai Kok Tsui

The concept: Part live house, part bar and part restaurant. Hong Kong’s new generation of live houses are diversifying beyond just music.
Why we love it: Nowhere else in the city can you chomp on pasta while nodding your head to some fierce power chords. The cocktails and the food don’t disappoint either.
Of special note: If the live house tag makes you think of grungey basement venues, fear not. Lost Stars is a beautiful venue and worth visiting whether there’s music that you like or not.

Nexus
  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Bars and pubs
  • Kwun Tong

The concept: Huge sports bar in Kwun Tong with a massive rooftop area.
Why we love it: Nexus is like the best student bar ever. It’s got darts, karaoke, beer pong, billiards, VIP party rooms and TV screens all over showing whatever sport’s on.
Of special note: It’s huge, at least for Hong Kong. At 15,000 sq ft it’s one of those rare places where you can stretch your arms and not smack your neighbour right in the face. 

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  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Bars and pubs
  • Cocktail bars
  • Central

The concept: Secretive new cocktail bar by Antonio Lai.
Why we love it: Lai has lost none of his touch since opening VEA back in 2015. The cocktails are spot on here and the ‘invisible menu’ is more than just a gimmick – the cocktails have flavours to match their visual appeal.
Of special note: The centrifuge used to create a number of the drinks costs some $200,000. With that piece of heavy machinery, it takes an hour of work to conjure enough alcohol for 10 Gone Gimlets – so these are some special drinks indeed.

Whisky & Words
  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Bars and pubs
  • Cocktail bars
  • Sheung Wan

The concept: A more casual kind of whisky and cocktails bar.
Why we love it: Whisky & Words succeeds at what it sets out to do. The atmosphere is more laid back than almost every other establishment of this kind in Hong Kong, and the drinks are just as good – if not better – than most too.
Of special note: The bar has a surprisingly good happy hour. Ardbeg 10 year for $60 keeps us coming back again and again.

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  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Bars and pubs
  • Cocktail bars
  • Kennedy Town

The concept: Classic American bar hidden inside Mexican restaurant 11 Westside.
Why we love it: The menu is a short but laser-focused. There are only half-a-dozen drinks on it, but they’re all creative and made to a very high standard. We also dig any bar where the bartenders are happy to talk.
Of special note: That pool table is not for show. If you feel like having a game, don’t worry about picking up a cue and having a go.

The Dispensary
  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Bars and pubs
  • Central

The concept: Stylish cocktail bar in Tai Kwun done up like a posh police officers’ mess.
Why we love it: The decor is gorgeous and we’re particularly fond of the drinks menu, which reflects the complex’s eastern and western heritage.
Of special note: The Vet’s Antidote comes with an After Eight mint attached, which automatically makes the place a winner in our book.

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