Last night was a big one for the Hong Kong bar scene. Eight of our most prized cocktail joints were recognised at the Asia’s 50 Best Bars awards with The Old Man crowned as the best bar in Asia. (Cue the slow clap across Hong Kong.)
The Hemingway-themed hideaway has been well-regarded since opening its doors in 2017. It even landed at number five on last year’s 50 Best list. But this is quite a coup for a bar team that has kept itself extremely busy in the interim, first by opening The Old Man in Singapore and then by making Papa Hemingway proud with the partner bar and follow-up to The Old Man: The Sea.
The empire-seeking bar group wasn’t alone in its success. The equally tremendous Quinary came in at number 10, with COA, Hong Kong’s agave spirit specialist, close behind at number 12. One new face among the crowd was The Wise King at number 18. The independently owned spot in Soho pays homage to Alfonso X of Castile, the Spanish royal who is often credited with creating tapas (thanks, Fonso). On top of serving excellent drinks, The Wise King is quite the looker, decked out as it is in Damask wallpaper as well as crimson and gold décor.
No-holds-barred joint The Pontiac came in at 32, with Admiralty institution Lobster Bar & Grill at 33. Rounding out the list for Hong Kong were long-standing favourite Stockton at 36 and 8 ½ Otto e Mezzo Bombana — one of few places with both kitchen and bar bona fides — at 38.
Not surprisingly, all these venues are located on Hong Kong Island, and almost all in Central. In fact, if you take a look at the map, you'll see that Admiralty is as far off the path as the tasting panel went. That begs the question: who’s coming up with this list anyway? Not that we'll quibble with any of the entries. Far from it. But it is important to know how the sausage gets made.
What do you think? Did the Asia's 50 Best panel get it right with these picks?