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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

Ann Chiu
Tatum Ancheta
Written by
Ann Chiu
&
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.

RECOMMENDED: Looking for new drinking spots in the city? Check out this list of new bars to try in Hong Kong now or go somewhere secluded with list of hidden bars.  

Hong Kong’s best cafes that turn into bars

  • Bars and pubs
  • Central

Barcode, short for bar, coffee, and dessert, is one of the recently opened coffee shops in Central. Located on Glenealy Street, just below Smoke & Barrel, the shop serves snacks, desserts, and hand drip coffee in the morning, but once the clock strikes six, a hidden room will welcome you 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 cocktails and signature drinks that those with a sweet tooth will love because it is designed to pair well with desserts.

  • Restaurants
  • Cafés
  • Causeway Bay

If you’re ever on the north side of Hong Kong Island, you can drop by 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

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. 

 

 

  • 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. 

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  • Restaurants
  • Cafés
  • Prince Edward

A must-visit for whisky buffs. This cool new cafe in Prince Edward turns into a whisky den at night. Enjoy hand drip coffee brews or a double ristretto – highly concentrated espresso coffee – 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, Scotch Malt Whisky Society, Duncan Taylor, 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 that includes homemade chiffon cakes and Uji matcha financiers.  

 

  • 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 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 their series of 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 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. 

  • Bars and pubs
  • Café bars
  • Central

Located on the bustling area of Hollywood Road, Doubleshot by Cupping Room serves coffee from espresso to AeroPress, and flash brews, chosen coc to match 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 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.

Check these out for more coffee or cocktails!

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