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The Wise King
Photograph: Courtesy The Wise KingThe Wise King's Negroni

Where to drink Negroni in Hong Kong

Best bars for a Negroni in Hong Kong

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Written by
Tatum Ancheta
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More than a century ago, the bitter, sweet, spirited Negroni was invented by Count Camillo Negroni in Florence, Italy. Today, this Italian aperitif is more popular than ever, and it even has a week dedicated to it. 

Made with gin, vermouth, and Campari, the crimson-hued cocktail can be a bit of an acquired taste, but it has a stronghold status in bars all over the world. In Hong Kong, it's hard to find a cocktail bar that doesn't serve classic Negronis or at least offer a signature twist, and some like the hidden bar The Wise King and Italian restaurant 8 1/2 Otto E Mezzo Bombana even give it a headline billing on their drinks programme. 

From September 13 to 19, over 90 bars in the city – which include Argo, Veda, Apothecary, OzoneThe Daily Tot, Zzura, BarcodeThe Dispensary, restaurants Duddell's and Smoke and Barrel, and award-winning bars COA, Tell Camellia, The Old ManDarkSide, and Penicillin – will be serving their own renditions of this cult Italian drink to celebrate Negroni Week, which was made popular by Imbibe Magazine and Campari since 2013. The seven-day programme not only encourages partaking in this boozy cocktail, but the celebration also raises money for charities worldwide that address a wide array of causes, from the environment to racial justice to hospitality support and women assistance to animal rescue and rehoming. So, if you're looking to sip on Negronis this month, the search won't be so difficult because of the variety available in the city, but getting a perfect serve is an entirely different matter. To help you narrow down your quest, we've made a list of our favourite bars in the city that provide excellent serves of this bitter aperitif. Whether you are looking for classics or innovative twists, all of these bars make legendary Negronis, even after Negroni Week.  

RECOMMENDED: Looking for a change of scenery? Check out all these new bars in the city.

Best bars for a Negroni in Hong Kong

  • Bars and pubs
  • Cocktail bars
  • Central

Time Out Bar Awards 2020's Readers' Choice awardee Tell Camellia serves up signature tea cocktails, and that includes our favourite Darjeeling Negroni ($130) made with Darjeeling tea re-distilled gin, bitters, and rosso vermouth. Tea releases tannins to cocktails, and if not done right, adding it to classic Negroni recipes can result in a sharp, bitter drink that may not sit well on your palate, but Tell Camellia's rendition is just right. The zingy bittersweet taste of Negroni is complemented by musky-sweet notes of the Darjeeling tea. For Negroni Week, Tell Camellia is also serving up glasses of their new Lapsang Souchong tea-infused Smokey Negroni ($120). 

  • Bars and pubs
  • Cocktail bars
  • Soho

Award-winning bar The Wise King just celebrated their third anniversary, and Negroni is still the king when it comes to their perfect serves. You can choose from any of their seasonal menus, including this month's Negroni Week special called Olive Negroni ($128), a savoury twist made with green olive and Pecorino cheese-infused Gin, Campari, saline, Mancino Vermouth Rosso. If you're looking for a more zesty flavour, you can't go wrong with a glass of their mainstay Mandarino Negroni ($128) made with local N.I.P gin with Mancino Vermouth, Mandarinetto Isolabella, and Rinomato Americano Bianco. From September 13 to 19, get to try three Negroni recipes from Italian bars, including Freni e Frizioni, Piccolo Lago, and Cinquanta Spirito Italiano. 

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  • Restaurants
  • Italian
  • Central

Serving a decent Negroni is already second nature to renowned Italian restaurant 8 1/2 Otto E Mezzo Bombana. They have more than three Negroni serves, and aside from their signature 8 1/2 Negroni ($180) - made with gin, Campari, Antica Formula Vermouth, Barolo Chinato, orange and grapefruit – their Il Nome Della Rosa ($180), which swaps mezcal for gin mixed with Campari, vermouth, and rose blossom flower, is one of our favourites. The mezcal adds a subtle smoky spin to the classic aperitif. For Negroni Week, 8 1/2 Otto E Mezzo Bombana is serving up three Negroni cocktails, including two from their original menu and a ginger-infused version, to raise funds for their chosen animal rescue charity. 

  • Bars and pubs
  • Cocktail bars
  • Central

Hong Kong's OG hidden bar 001 makes well-balanced cocktails, and Negroni is no exception. We definitely miss their Smoked Negroni, which is temporarily unavailable on the menu because the pandemic stalled procurement of its ingredients like the plum bitters and the liquid smoke, but you can always get the classic Negroni ($148). For Negroni Week, they are also serving The Kingsman ($158), made with gin, Antica Formula vermouth, Campari, Amaro Averna, and celery bitters. Fifteen percent from every sale of The Kingsman will be donated to local charity Rainbow Project, which provides educational needs to children (age 3 to 11) diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD).

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  • Bars and pubs
  • Cocktail bars
  • Soho

Over at Staunton Street, enter hidden bar The Poet and check out various Negroni serves from their cocktail bible, 'The Poet's Book of Answers to Everything'. Beverage director Tony Hsu stirs up a well-crafted Negroni ($138) using a London dry gin, Italian amaro Amaro Nonino, and Dolin Vermouth de Chambéry Rouge. Unlike the usual classic serves, this version is subtle and nuttier because of the caramel notes from the amaro and herbal and sarsaparilla flavours from the Dolin vermouth. If you're looking for other renditions, must-tries include an oaky mango flavoured Boulevardier called the It Girl ($138) and a white floral version called Golden Negroni ($138).

  • Bars and pubs
  • Central

Time Out's 2020 Bar of the Year awardee Caprice serves up balance craft cocktails, and one of our favourites on their mainstay menu is the Truffle Negroni ($220). The flavours of the classic Negroni is elevated with the addition of black truffles as a tribute to the finest ingredients used in Caprice's French restaurant. This indulgent Negroni, made with Australian black winter truffle infused-gin, adds a nutty-earthy, savoury, and velvety complexity to the iconic Italian drink.

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  • Bars and pubs
  • Central

On the ground floor of Four Seasons Hotel, the hotel's beverage captain – Time Out's 2020 Bartender of the Year – Lorenzo Antinori, is also whisking some flavourful Negroni at innovative bar Argo that gives its sister bar, Caprice, a run for its money. You've probably tasted oak or clay pot aged Negronis, but Argo's rendition, The Single Origin Negroni ($140) – from the bar's 'Here Today, Gone Tomorrow' cocktail menu – uses cocoa pods to rest its Negroni, resulting in a well-rounded drink with subtle chocolate flavours.

Argo is also participating in Negroni Week; drop by from September 13 to 19 and order their Negroni flight serving up three variations of this Italian drink.

  • Bars and pubs
  • Cocktail bars
  • Central

Known for serving innovative twists on old classics, Soho's hip bar The Diplomat – Time Out Bar Awards 2020's Best New Bar winner – is one of our favourite stops for getting a perfectly stirred Negroni. Award-winning mixologist John Nugent serves up a rich and oaky Boulevardier ($120) that uses a rye-bourbon blend, Italian vermouth Punt e Mes, and Campari, which can hold its flavour even if the ice already added dilution to the drink. If, for whatever reason, you're not willing to commit to a full glass of a boozy Negroni, you can order a classic serve in a mini-sized coupette ($50). Drop by on September 19 and catch their special serves for a 'Night of a thousand Negronis'. 

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  • Bars and pubs
  • Cocktail bars
  • Wan Chai

If you're in Wan Chai and craving for this bitter aperitif, look no further than the Japanese-style bar Mizunara. Though whisky is the focus here, ‘bartender-in-chief’ Masahiko Endo serves classic cocktails to a tee, and you can never go wrong with a glass of perfectly stirred Negroni. Plus, you always have the option to choose which spirit you want to use, whether you want whisky or top-shelf white spirits; just point and Endo San will mix it up for you. 

  • Bars and pubs
  • Tsim Sha Tsui

Kowloon bar DarkSide offers an extensive selection of dark spirits and innovative cocktails twists, and that includes variations of Negroni. Though you can always order a classic serve, our favourite to order here is the earthy-sour rendition from their moon-inspired menu called Waning Cresent ($180) made with tequila infused with priprioca - a spicy and woody aromatic root from the Amazon - beetroot vinegar, Campari, vermouth, and coffee liqueur. This is a far cry from the classic recipe, but if you're looking for a sour Negroni descendant, we'd recommend giving this a try. 

More bars to check out in the city

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