dio west kowloon
Photograph: Instagram/@dio.cafebar

Hong Kong’s best cafes that turn into bars

Espresso or liquor shots? Why not both?

Written by: Cherry Chan
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Be it artsy, minimalist, stylish, or quirky, Hong Kong is never short of new coffee shops and novelty cafes for you to visit. Nowadays, shop owners are going all out to maximise the potential of their single storefront – and that’s how cafe-bars were born. Whether you’re in need of a caffeine fix or a tipple after work, here are numerous cafes that transform into bars that have you covered for all your drinking desires.

RECOMMENDED: Planning your next bar crawl evening? Brush up on our list of the best bars in Central!

Hong Kong’s best cafes that turn into bars

  • Cafés
  • Prince Edward

Adding to Sham Shui Po's forever-expanding community of cafes and coffee shops comes Slash, a stylish cafe with a modern, industrial design. Their menu provides an array of dishes suitable for all-day dining which span from croffles and pastries to pastas and hearty open-faced sandwiches. When it comes to their tipple, Slash offers a few signature drinks like their tom yum-inspired cocktail; as well an omakase-style menu where you can request a cocktail based on your desired spirit base, flavours, intensity, and temperature.

  • Tea rooms
  • Shek Tong Tsui

Aside from cafe-bars that serve coffee, tea-focused spots like Plantation Tea Bar in Sai Ying Pun serve up quality cuppas and seasonal tea varieties from their a la carte menu during the day. Once the clock hits 6pm, Plantation’s customers can choose from six tea-based cocktails – all made with Plantation’s premium teas. Try out their Tangerine Puerh Rum, which uses puerh slow-cooked rum, tangerine peel syrup, and hawthorn cordial; and Da Hong Pao Whisky, a combination of da hong pao slow-cooked whisky with angostura bitters, a homemade ginger syrup, and liquorice air.

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  • Bakeries
  • Wan Chai

The Baker & The Bottleman is a bakery by day and resto-bar by night, offering gourmet British bakes and natural wines on Lee Tung Avenue in Wan Chai. Run by the team behind British restaurant Roganic, this spot provides a wide array of pastries like scones, cakes, bread, sandwiches, and cookies from their bakery on the ground floor. Once the clock hits 6pm, the second floor opens as a casual wine bar, where guests can enjoy a selection of natural wines which can be paired with charcuterie and various warm and cold dishes.

 

  • Cafés
  • Causeway Bay

If you’re ever on the north side of Hong Kong Island, you can drop by pet friendly cafe Esc Coffee – located beside serviced apartment Stanford Residences Victoria Harbour – for hot or cold brews in the morning and come back in the afternoon for some drams of whisky at the back of the shop where hidden whisky bar A.P.E (A Perfect Escape) is located. The cafe offers a range of single origin beans originating from Brazil, Ethiopia, and Costa Rica, while the bar serves a great selection of whiskies from Independent Bottlers Douglas Laing, Thompson Bros, Elixir Distillers, and Asta Morris.

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  • Sheung Wan

Located at the tip of Aberdeen Street and Gough Street intersection, Dio is an intimate bar serving spirit-forward classics with an Asian twist, refreshing cocktails and a selection of liquor, sake, and wine, including back vintage wines which customers can buy to consume on the premises or to takeaway. They offer classic cocktail twists like savoury Dashi Dirty Martini ($128), Lavender Aviation ($138), and spicy Mezcal Negroni called Sicilian Rosita ($148). Dio regularly hosts guest bartender shifts from various brands and bars, so be sure to drop by to catch limited-edition cocktails when they hold these events.

  • Sham Shui Po

If you want to beat the crowd, Dio also has a sister venue located all the way in Lai Chi Kok. During the morning, customers can enjoy coffee offerings and Dio’s signature beverages like Earl Grey Cafe Latte or Coconut Sensation. Unlike other cafe bars, Dio’s West Kowloon branch allows customers to start enjoying cocktails from 1pm onwards. Enjoy classic cocktails like gin & tonics, whisky highballs, or amaro spritzes at happy hour prices; or sip on original cocktails with local flavours such as Salted Soy Milk Martini.

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  • Tsuen Wan

Located at The Mills in Tsuen Wan, Tankyu Distillery is a cafe bar concept from local gin brand Perfume Trees. The venue doubles as a tasting room where guests can sample and learn more about the local craft gin. Aside from gin, the venue also serves a range of cocktails featuring creative uses of Perfume Trees, coffee, and tea crafted by Perfume Trees Gin co-founder Kit Cheung together with bartenders Fei Lee (former bartender of Bar Buonasera) and Mandy Mok (first runner-up of HK Brewers Cup Championship and Hong Kong Coffee in Good Spirits Championship). Also serving omakase cocktails, tell the bartenders your drink preferences, and they’ll whip it up for you. Be sure to catch Tankyu Distillery’s regular tasting workshops that run on the weekends.

  • Café bars
  • Sham Shui Po

If you're a fan of both caffeine and alcohol, Sō Coffee and Gin is the perfect hang out spot for you. The cosy joint in Sham Shui Po offers great coffee brews along with a range of local and imported craft beers. For something punchier, it also carries an extensive gin collection from Hong Kong, Italy, France, Japan, and even Finland, using them to create exotic gin-based cocktails.

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  • Cafés
  • Prince Edward

A must-visit for whisky buffs. This cool cafe in Prince Edward turns into a whisky den at night. Enjoy hand drip coffee brews sourced from around the world in the morning and sip on drams of whisky once the bar opens at night. The whisky bar is run by online liquor retailer Malt Cask, so expect over a hundred bottles of independently bottled whiskies (That Boutique-y Whisky Company, Douglas Laing, and many more) limited-edition releases, and brands that will tickle any whisky enthusiast. The cafe-slash-bar doesn't provide much food on the menu aside from a rotating selection of pastries which includes homemade chiffon cakes. 

  • Cafés
  • West Kowloon

Located on the promenade of the West Kowloon Cultural District, Rest Coffee Gin offers a personalised experience without the need for specific menus. To select a drink, choose your desired grounds from ten different origins, and choose between black, white, and hand-poured coffee, espresso tonic, or even mixed combos for the indecisive. As the sun sets, award-winning local bartender Wallace Lau takes charge, providing G&Ts with customised flavours. You can mix and match from the collection of almost a hundred gins and various types of tonic, or you can go for one of their numerous tea-based cocktails.

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  • Café bars
  • Central

With a gorgeous view of Hollywood Road from their windows, Doubleshot by Cupping Room is an all-day drinking and dining joint that serves coffee from espresso to AeroPress that matches Cupping Room’s coffee standards. The signature cocktail Spent Martini ($118) is a variation of the classic espresso martini, using sustainable bar practice by utilising used coffee grounds and sweeteners from their almond croissants. The result? A unique martini with a delicate smooth foam which brings the fruitiness of coffee to the fore, before an earthy finish.

Check these out for more coffee or cocktails!

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