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Ponty Cafe
Photograph: TA

Hong Kong’s best cafes that turn into bars

Espresso or liquor shots? Why not both?

Written by
Ann Chiu
,
Tatum Ancheta
&
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: Looking for new drinking spots in the city? Check out this list of new bars to try in Hong Kong now.

Hong Kong’s best cafes that turn into bars

  • Restaurants
  • Cafés
  • Soho

If you want a hearty meal before hitting up The Pontiac, head to its new sister venue, the Ponty Cafe next door. Ponty Cafe is an all-day cafe and bar, providing diners with hearty dishes such as sage pork sausage biscuits and gravy, a Hong Kong twist on steak au poivre with a Szechuan cognac cream sauce, and a triple stack of buttermilk pancakes. Aside from coffees, they've also got cocktails like their Dive Bar Bloody Mary, and Iced Spanish Coffee made with the cafe's blended cold brew.

Roganic’s The Baker & The Bottleman on Lee Tung Avenue is a great place for morning coffee breaks and after-work drinks. The ground floor bakery serves freshly baked treats like scones, cakes, bread, sandwiches, and cookies, as well as locally-sourced coffee, soft drinks, juices, and loose-leaf teas. From 6pm, Thursdays to Mondays, the second floor opens as a casual wine bar where guests can enjoy a selection of natural wines from organic and biodynamic winegrowers curated by master sommelier Pierre Brunelli paired with charcuterie and various warm and cold dishes.

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  • Bars and pubs
  • Central

Just like its name, Barcode, short for bar, coffee, and dessert, serves all three of those things. Located on Glenealy Street, just below Smoke & Barrel, the shop serves snacks and desserts, as well as a variety of hand drip coffee in the morning, but once the clock strikes six, head into their hidden room for some after-work drinks. The brains behind the bar is tea-cocktail connoisseur and Tell Camellia's co-founder Gagan Gurung. Expect a menu of classic drinks, signature coffee cocktails, and a brand new cocktail menu that focuses on the four elements of matter – air, fire, water and earth.

  • Restaurants
  • 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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  • Bars and pubs
  • 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.

  • Bars and pubs
  • 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.

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  • Restaurants
  • 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. 

  • Restaurants
  • 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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  • Bars and pubs
  • Café bars
  • Tin Hau

Enjoy coffee by day and cocktails by night at Tin Hau's pet-friendly cafe and bar Superhooman. Located inside boutique hotel Tuve, this hangout spot features a pan-Asian food menu and craft cocktails. The cocktail programme offers a selection of signature drinks, including Gold Fashioned ($108) that uses honey as sweetener, and the deep and rich Chocolate Vieux Carre ($108).

  • Bars and pubs
  • 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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