Hong Kong's best new bars

Story highlights

  • A wave of new concept bars has opened in Hong Kong in recent months
  • Rockabilly is inspired by retro car repair shops and tattoo parlors
  • For views, bar Above overlooks Ocean Park's cable cars and playing fields of Wong Chuk Hang
  • Le Dome de Cristal, world's first Cristal-branded restaurant, now open in Hong Kong

(CNN)Concept bars have popped up like daisies in Hong Kong, where big spenders are plentiful but competition is ferocious.

Thus, fads (and rental budgets) quickly burn out in this ever-changing city.
In other words, that amazing bar you hit up on your last business trip might no longer exist.
    Looking for a post-meeting pint or a wild night out before you hop on a plane to head home?
    Here's a list of the hottest new bars in Hong Kong -- ambiance and creative drinks included.
    Rockabilly
    For those feeling nostalgic about a time when guys with greased back hair and gals in swing skirts rocked to Elvis blasting on a jukebox, there's Rockabilly, a '50s American bar that stands out from the chaos of Lan Kwai Fong.
    Fashioned after retro car repair shops and tattoo parlors, the bar meshes American cool with rockabilly chic.
    The concrete and exposed brick walls are covered in bright neon signs, vintage fixtures and hand-drawn charcoal tattoo designs.
    Rockabilly carries a selection of craft beers from South Africa to Hawaii.
    The menu also features slushies.
    The Pink Cadillac is tequila based while the Blue Moon is made with white rum.
    Rockabilly's excellent range of craft beer, Rock 'n' Roll classics play list and simple but great menu has built a loyal following that flocks to the two-story venue.
    "At Rockabilly we stand firm with what we are doing, it's about the way of life and the attitude," says manager George Po.
    The bar gets crowded on $10 Tuesdays, Rock-A-Betty Wednesdays and Draft Thursdays.
    Signature drink: The craft beer tasting bucket for HK$350 (US$45) comes with six bottles.
    Rockabilly, 12 Lan Kwai Fong, Central, Hong Kong; +852 2869 0099
    Little L.A.B.: Traditional cocktails with a Chinese twist.
    Little L.A.B.: Traditional cocktails with a Chinese twist.
    Little L.A.B.
    Located in Soho, Little L.A.B.'s hook is that it uses Chinese ingredients in its cocktails.
    "Instead of being trend followers, we want to introduce Chinese elements to the classic recipes," says project manager Alex Ng.
    The laboratory concept encourages bartenders to be innovative in evoking authentic Hong Kong flavors in every drink.
    Keeping with the bar's lab vibe, Little L.A.B.'s interiors are reminiscent of a sleek and refined home kitchen.
    Signature drinks: The Newborn is made with Bacardi Gold & Oakheart rum, homemade Chinese ginger stew, fresh lime juice, fever tree ginger beet and tiki bitters, dressed with a quail egg and sliced ginger.
    HK Tea Time is a play on Dai Pai Dong milk tea.
    Little L.A.B., G/F, No. 50 Staunton St., Central, Hong Kong; +852 2858 8580
    The Black Star
    Located right across from the Sheung Wan MTR station, The Black Star follows the tradition of London bars located near busy tube stations.
    When founder Dan Findlay opened both The Black Star and The Blck Brd, he wanted to focus on long-term service and consistent quality to avoid falling victim to Hong Kong's short-lived fads.
    The Black Star differs from its sister bar, being a working neighborhood watering hole that serves gastro-pub style food (notably a 6-ounce prime beef burger and pulled pork sliders) and a streamlined drinks list.
    The simple metal and brick venue is small but maintains a relaxed atmosphere where drinkers can enjoy conversation.
    "It's everything I like about pubs minus everything I dislike about pubs," says Findlay.
    Signature Drink: Oak barrel aged cocktails, specifically the Old Smokey, essentially an old fashioned with a big chunk of ice and a lemon twist.
    The Black Star, G/F 81 Wing Lok St., Sheung Wan, Hong Kong; +852 2399 0004
    Guay! is nothing short of chill.
    Guay!
    Guay, Spanish slang for "cool" or "fantastic," offers a laid back Latin American vibe.
    It's rapidly gaining popularity as a hangout in the friendly neighborhood of Tai Hang.
    Guay! was inspired by founders (and old friends) Stephanie and Candy's love for drinking and chilling.
    The duo has hands-on involvement in everything from interiors to food (including Stephanie's mom's homemade Peruvian cookies) to the beverage list.
    Inspired by Stephanie's ancestors' long journey to Peru by wooden ship in the 20th century, the interior and exterior are clad with wood while tile and concrete walls give the space a contrasting industrial feel.
    The drink list includes creative cocktails and international craft beers; there's a small snack menu offering tasty bar bites.
    Signature Drink: The fittingly named Graveyard may go down easy, but it packs a punch. It's a mix of an Island base, Everclear, vodka, gin, rum, tequila and a splash of craft beer.
    Guay!, 9A Sun Chun St., Tai Hang, Hong Kong; +852 2618 8782
    Stockton
    Walking through the heavy doors of Stockton is like stepping into late Victorian era London, complete with a dimly lit alley-like entryway and a narrow wooden staircase.
    Founders Malcolm Wood and Matt Reid's eye for detail and fascination with the period is evident in every inch of space.
    The bar is furnished with antique chairs/tables and vintage baccarat crystals, all obtained from Parisian flea markets.
    Stockton offers award-winning cocktails, boutique champagne and more than 150 whiskies.
    The drink menu is loaded with anecdotes surrounding the origins of each cocktail and a list of "house rules."
    Food is on the high end -- lobster, caviar, salmon gravlax and Wagyu beef cheek.
    Signature Drink: Brass Monkey is a sweeter twist on the whiskey sour with HM King, compressed citrus, maca, lucuma, vanilla gum and chunco bitters.
    Stockton, 1/F 32 Wyndham St., Central, Hong Kong; +852 2565 5268
    Above
    The aptly named, open-air Above is stunning and cool.
    Perched atop the new Ovolo Southside Hotel, Above has sweeping views of the playing fields of Wong Chuk Hang and Ocean Park's cable cars that run along the slopes beyond Shouson Hill.
    Hong Kong's first full warehouse-to-hotel conversion, Ovolo Southside preserves the industrial feel of the original building.
    This keeps with the historic identity of surrounding Wong Chuk Hang, one of the island's last manufacturing districts.
    On the bar's walls, Los Angeles-based graffiti duo Cyrcle has created stunning murals, including a gorgeous piece depicting an imaginary Chinese uprising.
    Signature drink: The Next Door's B*tch is a deceivingly sweet cocktail made of vodka, peach liquor, strawberry, basil, rose syrup and lemon juice.
    Above, 64 Wong Chuk Hang, Aberdeen, Hong Kong; +852 3460 8100
    Ham & Sherry
    Yenn Wong and Jason Atherton, the dynamic duo behind 22 Ships, have teamed up once again to create Ham & Sherry.
    Bringing Spanish flair to Wan Chai, it's a traditional bodega with an urban twist.
    Spanish tiles dress both the bar's interior, while hams dangle overhead.
    Resembling a traditional tapas bar, Ham & Sherry offers a spacious experience for conversation and movement, with table and bar seating and a lounge area.
    The owners tracked down the world's leading sherry producers to put together Asia's largest sherry list with more than 50 varieties and styles available.
    For food, Michelin-starred chef Jason Atherton provides a selection of aged Spanish ham like Jamón Iberico de Bellota and snacks such as Padron peppers.
    Signature drink: No prizes for guessing ... it's a sherry! Palo Cortado, to be precise.
    Ham & Sherry, 1-7 Ship St., Wan Chai, Hong Kong; +852 2555 0628
    The Envoy
    Inspired by the ship sails and tea leaves of the Hong Kong tea trade, Hong Kong's colonial roots echo in The Envoy.
    While many of the cocktails are British influenced, creative and fun drinks are also served.
    The award-winning True Blood comes in a faux blood bag inspired by vampires.
    The menu features fusion dishes like Peking Duck rice rolls and deep-fried crab cakes with spicy tomato sauce.
    Hong Kong's East meets West elements are reflected throughout the bar; the dining area is covered in European-style wallpaper with a Chinese print.
    The Envoy's spaces create an environment in which conversation is valued over loud and flashy entertainment.
    Signature drink: Birds of a Feather celebrates the tenacity of migratory birds and is made of Talisker 10 Years, Ballantine's Finest scotch, blueberry and pomegranate tea syrup, blueberry puree, malt essence and lemon juice.
    The Envoy, 3/F, The Pottinger Hong Kong, 74 Queen's Road, Central, Hong Kong; +852 2169 3311
    Ping Pong 129 Gintonería
    Ping Pong 129 Gintonería introduces Hong Kong's Sai Ying Pun neighborhood to the Spanish "gintonería," a bar that specializes in gin and tonics.
    Yet Ping Pong isn't overpowered by Spanish influence -- it's more a bridge of Spanish and Hong Kong culture.
    Located in a former ping pong hall, the bar preserves the history and identity of the space by leaving the walls, windows, old-style handrails and original Chinese ping pong equipment ads untouched.
    A glowing neon red sign reading "Keep your body fit" in Chinese characters hangs above the bar where drinkers can try gin and tonics made from more than 60 brands of gin.
    Ping Pong carries a selection of craft premium and rare gins produced in distilleries and small producers from all over Spain.
    A small section of snacks is available.
    Signature drink: The Gin Mare is a Barcelona gin combined with Fever-Tree Tonic, rosemary and lime peel.
    Ping Pong 129 Gintonería, Second Street 129, LG Nam Cheong House, Sai Ying Pun, Hong Kong; +852 9158 1584
    The world's first Cristal-branded restaurant and bar.
    The world's first Cristal-branded restaurant and bar.
    Le Dome de Cristal
    With Le Dome de Cristal, Ambrosia Cuisines Group and Louis Roederer's Cristal champagne collaborated to bring Hong Kong the world's first Cristal-branded restaurant.
    Designer Steve Leung channeled Cristal's elegance in creating the bar and restaurant's interiors.
    The circular main dining area has a dark oak wood floor and large windows framing panoramic views of the city.
    Soft light illuminates the off-white domed ceiling, warm gray walls and beige drapes, providing a sense of glamor.
    Drinkers can order from a selection of 21 Cristal champagnes on the outdoor balcony.
    Signature drink: Louise Roederer, Cristal 2005
    Le Dome de Cristal, 3/F, The Galleria, Queen's Road, Central, Hong Kong; +852 2116 4688
    Fu Lu Shou
    Once guests exit the creaky old elevator they're greeted by three ceramic statues of Chinese gods Fu (good fortune), Lu (prosperity) and Shou (longevity).
    Fu Lu Shou is all about giving guests a chance to "Eat, drink and be prosperous."
    From the mahjong tile bar to the cocktails, it's a clever wink to Hong Kong and Western-Chinese culture.
    The space is funky, retro and usually packed.
    Dominated by the bar and kitchen, the indoor area is small, so Fu Lu Shou makes full use of its large outdoor terrace, which has comfy plush sofas and swing seats.
    The food emulates Chinatown dishes served on kitschy plates and bowls and includes Western-Chinese classic comfort foods like sweet and sour pork and kung pao chicken.
    The main draw is the drinks, most of them fun and tasty tributes to Hong Kong, with names like Joh Sun, Fuk Yu and Typhoon 8.
    You'll need to call in advance to get the door code, which changes every Tuesday.
    Signature drink: Joh Sun is made with lemon-flavored vodka, homemade lemongrass syrup, lemon juice, fresh ginger juice, vinegar, lime and chili.
    Fu Lu Shou, 7/F, 31 Hollywood Road, Central, Hong Kong; +852 2336 8812
    Nocturne: Minimalistic Japanese style.
    Nocturne: Minimalistic Japanese style.
    Nocturne
    It's easy to walk right by Nocturne, the latest whiskey bar to open on Peel Street, without giving it a second look.
    The plain wooden door and concrete facade hide a beautifully minimalist Japanese-style bar with a comprehensive selection of wine and whiskey that's hard to find in Hong Kong.
    The owner, who studied abroad in Japan and has a finance background, travels back once a month to bring back some of the rarest of Japanese whiskies sold only at the distilleries.
    He's opening another Nocturne in Kyoto next summer and two kushiyaki sake bars and a French bar in Hong Kong later this year.
    The selection of Bordeaux vintages and Scotch is superb, but the standouts are the Japanese whiskies, from a single cask Yamazaki or a rare Ichiro's Malt.
    Signature drink: An old fashioned made with Japanese whiskey.
    Nocturne, 35 Peel St., Central, Hong Kong; +852 2884 9566
    Caprice Bar
    With an intimate environment, the former waiting area of the award-winning Four Seasons' Caprice French restaurant has been converted into a wine and cheese bar.
    Though it isn't as recent an opening as others on this list, the place gets a nod because the bar has remained relatively and refreshingly incognito.
    Low lighting and comfy chairs make this wholly appropriate for both cozy date nights and cozy client meets -- it's a place for schmoozing and massaging a deal.
    The experience is tailored with exceptional service and, more importantly, a well manicured array of wine and cheese.
    The only criticism is an at times abused climate control -- should the goosebumps arrive for those more scantily clad, staff will happily fetch a selection of shawls.
    Signature drink: No real signatures here, but the Champagne Fleury "Pinot Blanc" Brut Nature goes very well with the Brillat Savarin cheese from Burgundy -- a white crusted cow's milk cheese with at least 75% fat, essentially a triple cream cheese.
    Caprice Bar, 6/F, Four Seasons Hotel Hong Kong, 8 Finance St., Central, Hong Kong; +852 3196 8888