Hong Kong is intense in the best way. Its chaotic streets and towering buildings contribute to an experience that feels entirely singular: the smells, sounds, and sights are Hong Kong’s, and Hong Kong’s alone.
As its name hints, the Central area of the main Hong Kong Island is where a lot of the action is—steep, curving roads reveal hidden gems pretty much anywhere you look. But some places are more hidden than others; here are three that require a little hunting (which really, is part of the fun).
Find this spot in an alleyway—just look for the painted beetles. Once inside, the curving ceiling covered with three-dimensional versions of the bug is sure to make any experience at J.Boroski instantly memorable. In a room that introduces guests to an intimate world, this sultry spot is all about curating personalized cocktails—tell the bar staff what you like (and don’t like), and let them whip up something special just for you. Say you like smoky drinks, for example, and you might just end up with a cocktail dramatically revealed beneath a hazy bell jar.
The Old Man
Located down another nondescript alley, this time with a small sign above the door, The Old Man is an ode to the work of writer Ernest Hemingway. And while the exterior is nothing to write home about, eyes will feast on the sophisticated decor that awaits within: plush stools along the wooden bar; a soft, textured green banquette; pops of palm-leaf print; black-and-white photos in small frames. Plus, the inventive and high-end list of cocktails boasts ingredients like clarified banana ghee, vanilla lather, onion ashes, and blackened carrot bug. Go adventurous or go home, you know?
This is a fun one: the only indicator that you’ve arrived at 001 is an ornate doorbell. It’s not just for show, either—ringing it is required for entry, and the door is otherwise locked. A smartly-dressed usher will let you in and then guide you down the steps into a true speakeasy-style bar, equipped with large leather furnishings and a nice list of classic, spirit-forward cocktails. The old fashioned here is top notch.
Wandering around a new city is a special kind of adventure—especially when a little searching reveals a discovery that feels somehow both of its time and of another one entirely.