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Rest Coffee Gin
Photograph: Courtesy Rest Coffee Gin

Hong Kong’s best cafes that turn into bars

Cafe by day and bar by night, all day drinking just got a lot easier

By Ann Chiu and Tatum Ancheta
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Be it artsy, minimalist, stylish, or quirky, there seems to be an endless stream of new cafes opening up across the city. But it’s not easy to please all the discerning coffee drinkers here in Hong Kong, and so, 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.

This article was originally published on September 20, 2020. 

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

Analog coffee
Analog coffee
Photograph: Ann Chiu

Coffee Analog

Restaurants Cafés Prince Edward

Tucked in an alley in Prince Edward, Coffee Analog is characterised by walnut-coloured leather couches, vintage chandeliers and valve amplifiers, creating a relaxing atmosphere akin to that of traditional Kyoto tea houses. The house blend is made up of dark-roasted beans from Sumatra, Guatemala, Columbia, and Brazil, and are brewed with double shots of ristretto, instead of espresso, to accentuate the flavour. For something sweet to go with your drink, opt for their homemade chiffon cakes and Uji matcha financiers. In the evening, Coffee Analog becomes Malt Cask, a bar that sells over three hundred rare whiskies from around the world, and regularly hosts whisky-tasting sessions.

Rest Coffee Gin
Rest Coffee Gin
Photograph: Calvin Sit

Rest Coffee Gin

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, you must first smell ten different types of grounded beans, and choose between black, white, and hand-poured coffee, espresso tonic, or even mixed combos for the indecisive. As for food, Rest Coffee Gin specialises in wagyu sandwiches, which is made with A3 wagyu from Kumamoto and wasabi mayo containing locally sourced organic lychee honey, together forming an exceptional combination of flavours and textures. 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 seven types of tonic, or you can go for their series of tea-based cocktails.

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Superhooman
Superhooman
Photograph: Courtesy Superhooman

Superhooman

Bars and pubs Café bars Tin Hau

Enjoy coffee by day and cocktails by night at Tin Hau's newly-opened cafe and bar Superhooman. Located next to boutique hotel Tuve, this new hangout spot features a pan-Asian food menu and craft cocktails created by consulting bartender Shelley Tai (bar manager of Singapore bar Nutmeg & Clove). The cocktail programme offers eight signature drinks ($138/order) three of which is served on draft. Cocktails include a riff on a classic espresso martini, Superhooman Espressotini, an herbal sour Wake-Up-Call, and a fruity take on the classic aperitif, Rhubarb Negroni. 

Dio, cafe wine bar
Dio, cafe wine bar
Photograph: Courtesy Dio

Dio

Bars and pubs Sheung Wan

Named after Dionysus, the god of wine in Greek mythology, the venue serves artisan cuppa by day and curated wines and cocktails at night. Located at the tip of Aberdeen Street and Gough Street intersection, this little nook is co-founded by restaurant industry veterans Bar Buonasera bar manager Nick Tse and former Shangri-La Group F&B marketing manager Billy Ha. Expect pour-overs of single-origin coffees and espresso-based drinks using the shop exclusive blend of Brazilian and Colombian coffee served by the baristas from North Point coffee house Coffee Obsession and utilises beans from local roaster Cotton Mutton. The bar serves affordable, refreshing cocktails curated by Nick and a selection of liquor, sake, and wine ($200 to 400), including back vintage wines ($900 to $1200) ranging from the 60s to 90s, which customers can buy to consume on the premises or to takeaway. Drop by for a hot cuppa or grab any of the back vintage bottles while they last. 

 

 

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Tankyu Distillery
Tankyu Distillery
Photograph: Courtesy Tankyu Distillery

Tankyu Distillery

Bars and pubs Tsuen Wan

Located at The Mills in Tsuen Wan, Tankyu Distillery is a new cafe and bar concept from local gin brand Perfume Trees. The new venue opened in early February 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). Those who have a penchant for CBD can also try the venue’s CBD-infused coffees and alcoholic mixes. The tasting room is also serving omakase cocktails so you can drop by and tell the bartenders your drink preferences, and they’ll whip it up for you. Be sure to catch Tankyu Distillery’s regular tasting workshops running from Mondays to Sundays. 

Interval
Interval
Photograph: Courtesy Interval

Interval Coffee

Restaurants Coffeeshops Central

With a name that denotes an intermission, Interval is not only a combo of cafe and bar, but it also acts as a stage for local and international baristas and chefs to shine and display their culinary talents. The interior of the coffee shop is gold-themed, suggesting that the selected beans are equally exquisite; in fact, Interval is the sole agent of beans produced by Coffee Collective, a renowned roaster in Northern Europe that picks and roasts their seasonal beans in Copenhagen before shipping them to Hong Kong. In the evening, Interval becomes a bar and restaurant that presents over 60 different wine varieties that are updated regularly and showcase lesser-known vineyards and wineries. If you are a fan of natural wines, don’t miss out on the dozens of natural wine brands available on the menu, including the coveted Gut Oggau, Radikon, and Gravner.

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Doubleshot by Cupping Room
Doubleshot by Cupping Room
Photograph: Calvin Sit

Doubleshot by Cupping Room

Bars and pubs Café bars Central

The Cupping Room might ring a bell for most coffee lovers, but its concept store, Doubleshot by Cupping Room, only opened a few months ago on Hollywood Road. Hoping to be the trailblazer for the hard coffee trend in Hong Kong, restaurant consultant Chanel Adams (former bartender of the world-famous PDT New York) has designed a special series of coffee cocktails for Doubleshot. From espresso to AeroPress, and flash brews, the coffee bases have been chosen to match Cupping Room’s coffee standards. The signature Spent Martini ($118) is a variation of the classic espresso martini, using sustainable bar practice  by utilising  used coffee grounds and sweeteners from unsold 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.

JMT
JMT
Photograph: Ann Chiu

JMT

Restaurants Cafés Sai Ying Pun

JMT, or ‘jon mat taeng’, is an abbreviation and slang term used by young people in Korea to mean ‘very delicious’. The store design is simplistic, with white-washed walls decorated with neon signs. Among their Korean-style coffees, the must-try item is a Dirty Coffee, a drink inspired by the viral trend for ‘dirty buns’ (a chocolate pastry bun or pain au chocolat covered in cocoa powder). This hazelnut-flavoured coffee is topped with a thick layer of whipped cream and a sprinkle of cocoa powder. It’s made to spill slightly over the glass rim to create that sense of guilty pleasure. After 7pm, the cafe transforms into a bar, offering Korean soju-based cocktails. Some of these cocktails tend to be on the sweet side, which is perfect for those looking for something easier on the palate.

Check these out for more coffee or cocktails!

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