Hidden Speakeasies Revealed in Hong Kong’s Thriving Bar Scene

As you navigate the labyrinthine streets of Central Hong Kong, bordered by skyscrapers and bustling shops, the presence of antique stores interspersed with dried seafood markets, restaurants, street art, and retail outlets might capture your attention. What’s particularly intriguing is that the ornate urns on display in these shops aren’t merely decorative items; they play a functional role in aging rice wine, liqueurs, tea, and even some of the dried seafood. It’s during a stroll with Vea chef Vicky Cheng that you learn this fascinating tidbit about the city’s culture. On Hollywood Road, these vessels are abundant, and a visit to one of these antique shops can lead to unexpected discoveries, such as a hidden historic bank-like space behind the counter, reminiscent of a movie set.

Welcome to the new Maggie Choo’s, a venue that combines live jazz music and cabaret dancers to transport you back to the 1930s while offering modern cocktails and delectable shareable plates. From charcuterie and cheese boards to irresistible fries and substantial options like mini beef burgers, popcorn chicken, and slow-cooked lamb shoulder, the culinary offerings are designed to please. Sandeep Sekhri, the mind behind the Boutique Bars hospitality group, explains that Maggie Choo’s beverage program is adaptable to cater to different demographics throughout the evening, with curated cocktails during after-work hours and batch cocktails for the late-night crowd. Don’t forget to visit the restroom, which is a part of the vault experience.

For a striking contrast to the enigmatic ambiance of Maggie Choo’s, venture beneath the Jardine House tower to BaseHall 02. Situated amid massive modern shopping malls, this subterranean food hall epitomizes contemporary dining. Sleek food concepts with neon signs and impeccable branding serve up steaming dumplings and slurpable noodles. At the back, a brisk sign points to the Artifact chef’s table, an omakase counter. Beyond this lies Artifact bar, a space created by drinks industry experts Beckaly Franks and Ezra Star, like no other. With its starship-like aesthetics and meticulously crafted cocktails, it’s a sophisticated experience that transcends time and space. Despite its space-age appearance, Artifact bar offers an intimate atmosphere that encourages interaction.

Beckaly Franks emphasizes that their bars are focused on serving people, not just drinks, and on creating an entertaining and enjoyable experience for guests. Together with partner Michael Larkin, they have established a reputation for internationally recognized bars like The Pontiac and Mostly Harmless. If you’re seeking advice on where to explore next in Hong Kong’s vibrant nightlife scene, this team is the perfect guide.

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