The Duxton enclave makes a perfect spot for clandestine hideouts and Cat Bite Club is the newest booze den on the block. First, look out for a grinning Cheshire cat outlined by red neon lights along Duxton Road. Then, head straight into Monument Coffee (nope, you didn't read that wrong) and behind those heavy curtains, you’ll find yourself in good company. Call it minimalist or intentionally unfinished, the space screams speakeasy.
But don't discount this as yet another gimmicky watering hole. The proof is in the pudding, even the beautifully illustrated cyberpunk-esque menu is designed by Mark Reihill, who is known to design comics and world-renowned cocktail menus. And the bar programme is crystal clear about putting agave and rice spirits on a pedestal or perhaps even worshipped – if you’d have seen what I’ve seen on those backlit shelves – think soju that boasts 80 proof and never-before-seen bottles of tequila and mezcal.
Sourcing these unique spirits from different parts of the world, operating partners and bartenders Jesse Vida (former Atlas head bartender) and Gabriel Lowe (ex-bar manager of Paradise Lost in Bangkok) thread the needle between both cultural and culinary influences of Southeast Asia and Mexico to come up with thoughtful riffs on classics. Think multi-layered flavour profiles that are sophisticated to the palate yet unpretentiously presented without much theatrics.
Besides the mean Cat Bite Margarita ($26), which features a base of tequila blanco and smoky mezcal, you’ve got to try the signature Soju Sprint ($24). The light spritz drinks extremely balanced with hints of honey, peach, mint and anise. Expect other classic cocktails such as the Espresso Martini, Queen's Park Swizzle, and Vieux Carre, each accompanied by one variation of agave and rice liquor.
Though the idea of Cat Bite Club isn't surface on a whim, the dynamic duo share how this joint venture was 17 years in the making – from when they first started their careers together in San Francisco back in 2007 to when they both moved to the East in 2018. But that's a story best heard from the horse’s mouth, so head on down. No reservations, please.