Best sake bars in Hong Kong
Located inside PMQ, Sake Central is home to the widest range of sake in Hong Kong. An incredibly cool space from the team behind Yardbird, one of the city’s trendiest restaurants, there are hundreds of different types of sake to choose from here, whether you want regular brews or something more special like a bottle from Taikoku Shuzo, Okinawa’s one and only sake brewery. A tip: sitting at the bar will restrict you to a specific menu of sake. Drink in the retail area if you want access to Sake Central’s voluminous full range.
Lan Kwai Fong may have a reputation for being Hong Kong’s party central but there’s more to the neighbourhood than loud club nights and jello shots. Take Sake Bar Ginn, for example. Located four floors above the throngs of D‘Aguilar Street, the homey, terraced bar stocks more than 70 bottles of sake, close to 40 of which are available in single-glass tasting pours. Ginn’s founder, Ayuchi Momose, has gone to extra lengths to source lesser-known sakes from small, boutique breweries around Japan – so you’re getting only the best ‘nihonshu’ here.
Looking like something straight out of Kyoto, Sake Beya Masu is a picturesque sake bar hidden within Wan Chai’s Star Street precinct. With its simple, black-toned, wooden tables and sparse Japanese design, this is a cosy space to hunker down, sip your sake and enjoy some excellent small plates. The staff are incredibly helpful in suggesting the optimal sake pairing for whatever food you order and the results are never less than impressive. A small space, the bar only sits 14, but that merely heightens the intimacy of your visit.
The latest venue from Elliot Faber and co. is nestled behind Nojo in an alley off Pottinger Street. Saketen diverges from Faber’s other projects in a few notable ways. For one, it’s a bar, plain and simple, that stays open until 2am. Saketen also focuses on one-on-one service. The staff can give you a primer or deep dive into the seasonal, limited-edition and mainstream offerings available from each producer. The bottles are kept cold – stored between -5 and 0 degrees Celsius – in a custom fridge, but try the sake on draft. This is one of few places anywhere in the world serving it.
A yakitori joint imported from Tokyo, Toritama has legions of fans both here and in Japan. Although its delicious skewers are the primary draw – the chicken meatball (tsukune) is among the best in Hong Kong – the drinks menu is equally impressive. There are more than 80 different types of sake available here, with bottles costing from just a few hundred dollars all the way up to many thousands. If you’re not looking for that big of a hangover, don’t worry, there’s still a fine selection of sake that you can order by the glass for around $50-$80.
An earlier venture by Sake Central founder Elliot Faber, Ronin does more than just serve excellent contemporary Japanese cuisine – there’s a fine sake (and Japanese whisky) list here, too. It’s not the largest in the city but it’s quality over quantity here, with Faber a man who makes regular trips to Japan to visit smaller breweries. There are more than 20 types of sake available, from Sunday’s Grocery junmai (another Faber enterprise) up to the more fancy Rairaku Daiginjo, which costs some $3,500 a bottle. There’s even a small selection of warm, room-temperature sakes available if you need something to heat you up during the winter months.