Time to Stay Close to Home
You’d be forgiven for not knowing the origin of the word ‘staycation’ (even we had to look it up).
Cuisine with Staying Power
Restaurants, they come and go, especially here in Hong Kong where big names and flush PR budgets ensure you hear about every opening but very few closures.
You’d have to live in a hole in the ground not to have recognized the global renaissance that artisanal gin is enjoying at the moment. From gin joints to home bars, this complex and historic spirit is captivating palates and imaginations, with traditional gin recipes given a twist of modernity by inspired distillers who are using new methods and botanicals to create homages to great gins of old.
One of those innovative lads is Alan Colton who, with wife Rebecca, has created one of the most elegant gins to come out of the British Isles in a long while. Givinity gin, which will soon be available on our fair shores, is an ultra-luxurious, handcrafted London Dry Gin styled spirit made in the verdant countryside of Cambridgeshire, outside London. Made with a captivating array of botanicals, including tried-and-tested classics like juniper, coriander and angelica, as well as modern upstarts like rose, Szechuan pepper, lime and mandarin zest, Givinity is produced in small batches and bottled at 40% abv in elegant and sleek crystal decanters with gold accents that will look well smart on your home bar. Although it’s as pure as driven snow (snow laced with alcohol) you’ll probably want to mix this luscious drop with a boutique tonic or a dash of elderflower, served tall to herald in the summer months ahead.
“Beloved, we join hands here to pray for gin. An aridity defiles us. Our innards thirst for the juice of juniper.” — Wallace Thurman, Infants of the Spring
Coming to Asia Soon
Good Things Come Together
Now, we wouldn’t want to stereotype but we think it’s safe to say most guys can count among their passions two easy picks: burgers and live music. Perhaps it’s the fact that these two entirely different things – food and entertainment – satisfy two of our most primal cravings. Maybe it’s the fact that eating a burger in silence is odd and music makes you peckish. Who knows. What we do know is that great live music goes well with a few cold beers and a spot of comfort food, and visa-blissfully-versa. So Hong Kong’s newest pop-up makes manly sense from the get go.
Beats & Liberty by Beef & Liberty is just such a meeting of worlds; a unique pop-up at Soho’s PMQ that promises live music every Friday and Saturday night from 9-11pm, expect everything from groove and hip hop to reggae, rock and funk played by resident DJs, as well as a simple but palate-pleasing menu of signature Beef & Liberty dishes. There are three core burgers – the Bacon and Cheese, the delicious Notorious P.I.G., and the Pump up the Beet for vegetarians – as well as the likes of beef brisket croquettes with kimchi mayo; crispy carrots dipped in Beef & Liberty’s secret batter; and even a pumpkin and lentil salad for those watching their waistline. You can wash down all this goodness with guests draft and bottled craft beers like Black Kite IPA from Hong Kong; Hitachino Lager from Japan; Brew Dog Pale Ale from Scotland; and Longboard Lager from Hawaii.
There’s a reason food rhymes with mood.
Beats & Liberty
Sunday to Thursday 12:00pm-9:00pm; Friday to Saturday 12:00pm-11:00pm;
Block A PMQ 35 Aberdeen Street, Central.
Isn’t it Time for a Staycation?
Hong Kong has a lot going for it, of that we're sure. There's great food, great entertainment, and plenty of convenience.
The Queen of Sound
Any DJ worth their salt knows how to keep the beats going and the bodies moving, but Manila-based Arra Pascual takes things to the next level with great looks and smooth beats to boot. In the latest of our odes to the Women of NC, we talk with this deck diva about her passion for music, the party scene in Manila, as the best cures for a spot of overindulgence.
Why did you change from a singer-songwriter to a DJ? Do you still write your own music?
Coming from a country where everyone in the street can basically sing, I found DJing a more unique thing to do and it differentiated me from everyone else. I get to perform songs I insanely love without stressing my vocal chords. I still sing off the record, express my emotions and write music; I’m just not earning from it at the moment.
Do you arrange a playlist for your set? How much influence can the crowd have
I get selfish in my sets sometimes. When I like a new song, it gets played no matter what. The crowd always wins though; I’m a pleaser and I always want the crowd to enjoy.
Are your good looks adventitious?
I still think I’m the biggest DJ dork you will ever come across but thanks for the compliment. Looks don’t matter much in DJing but they’re definitely a bonus; DJs need to rock a room, not look cute or beautiful. My field is not a beauty pageant or a boob competition. It’s a tough job that’s harder than it looks.
You’re the Philippines Brand Ambassador for Pioneer DJ; how dis that affiliation influence your career?
After Pioneer DJ Philippines found me, my bookings exploded. It was a bit overwhelming at first; there were already a few established female DJs in the country and yet they chose me. Credibility wise they really gave me the kick-start that all new DJs would hope for.
Manila doesn’t exactly have a clubbing rep, is that fair?
I respect everyone’s opinion of clubbing in Manila but I’ll always be biased towards this place because this is my home, my comfort zone. The clubbing scene here is very laid back; drinks and VIP partying are inexpensive. Simply put, you cannot expect a top-notch service by paying a small amount of money, even when it’s the best that we have. The Philippines is still a developing country but lots of improvements are coming.
Where does the city’s beautiful congregate?
The Palace Manila in Taguig; it’s an entertainment complex where you can hop around four
establishments that are right next to each other. You can also head to City of Dreams Manila in Parañaque, where the club and lounge is one floor up from a casino, or The Fort Strip in Bonifacio Global City, a cosy area for clubbing or hanging out at a pub for a quiet night.
Where should I stay to get close to the action?
Stay in Seda Bonifacio Global City hotel, from which you can explore the newly built side of Manila; it’s close to malls, restaurants and most importantly, clubs.
We overindulged last night and now need to recover. What do you suggest?
If “hair of the dog” is your hangover philosophy then you should head over to Skye, the city’s premium roofdeck lounge, or The Palace Pool Club for cocktails. Both places are in The Fort. If you can barely stand, stay in your hotel, order room service and hydrate, hydrate, and hydrate! See if the concierge can get you some Bulalo (Filipino beef broth soup), which can help you recover and get ready for another day of overindulgence.
If we’re looking for a relatively quiet spot for a nice beer with new found friends, where should we go?
There are lots of pubs in Manila but most of the venues play heavy club music even if it’s a small bar. I think we Asians in general prefer that. If you want a quiet night, always leave before 10pm as it gets pretty loud after that. You can try The Keg in Makati; The Reserve Liquor Lounge; or the Moonshine Pub in Ortigas. Alternatively there is The Brewery at The Palace; Tipsy Pig; Skye in The Fort; or Cable Car in Quezon City.
Where should we go for an authentic taste of local cuisine?
You can go to The Singing Cooks and Waiters on Roxas Boulevard, or Sisig Society in Eastwood City, Quezon City. Try adobo, sisig, kilawin, sinuglaw, bulalo and sinigang, or ask the restaurant for their best seller!
Time to Play Darwin
Remember when you studied evolution at high school? It all seemed fairly straight forward – animals change to suit their environment, and those most willing to adapt would survive.
Time for a Great Escape
You may not realize it now, but every modern gent needs an escape destination, a man-centric locale, sans judgement, for those debaucherous nights of ultimate entertainment. Los Angeles has Vegas and New York has the bright lights of Atlantic City, places where normal social norms need not apply, where the champagne flows like water, where the party doesn’t stop till you do, and where lads can enjoy themselves without wondering which of their lady’s gossipy friends they’ll bump into mid-crawl. Here in Hong Kong we’re fortunate enough to have Macau within stone’s throw and the pint-sized casino city rarely fails, especially when it comes to its clubbing scene, which makes up in clout what it lacks in diversity.
That diversity is about to take a step in the right direction with Pacha, the first Asia outpost of the world’s largest nightclub brand, set to open at Studio City recently. Pacha has been helping fellas paint the town red since it opened in the Spanish beach town of Sitges in 1967 and now boasts hotels, yachts, a magazine and its own music festival. As the first ever North American-managed nightclub in the city, as well as its biggest, Pacha Macau will cater to 3,000 revellers across its 1,000sqft dance floor and its expansive patio, bringing a sense of Ibizan style to the Cotai Strip. Expect cutting edge audio visual technology, a truly VIP bottle service, a clientele that boasts the best curves this side of Gangdam, and a roster of the best international DJs winging their way to our very own escape destination.
Start crafting your excuses for a night in the Vegas of the East now.
Studio City, Macau
Time for Sexy Sounds
According to Sir Francis Bacon, “knowledge is power”, and we couldn’t agree more. Today’s gentleman needs to be on his A game at all times, especially when it comes to passions we share with the fairer sex. Whereas once it was enough for a bloke to just rock up, throw out a few twangy 1950s lines, and let slip his ink in order to pull like an overworked angler, today men need to be jacks of all trades, even if they’re masters of none.
You’ll quickly learn a thing or two at The First Floor by Lifestyle Federation, an innovative culinary concept and a first for Hong Kong. Although it sounds like a church for people with bathmophobia – yes, that’s a fear of stairs – it’s actually part private dining club located at the heart of Central, part cooking school, and part he-hideout. The First Floor is centered on the idea of edutainment, blending education on everything from fine wines and craft beers to artesian cheeses, with a contemporary dining experience. You might want to pop in at lunch or dinner for a touch of the restaurant’s contemporary continental cuisine, laced with ingredients imported from the world’s four corners by Lifestyle Federation. Alternatively, set up shop in the cigar lounge, with its extensive boutique whisky list and humidors packed with Cuban beauties; or sign up for one of their culinary events, cooking demonstrations, workshops or tastings, truly the ultimate grazing grounds for men of leisure.
Who knew learning could be so much fun.
The First Floor by Lifestyle Federation
1F Baskerville House,
13 Duddell Street,
Tel: 2840 0032;
Time for Sexy Sounds
It’s one thing to have a massive sound system, with enough amperage to knock the walls down in a fiberglass instillation factory, but all that power can be space-consuming, not to mention a little redundant in Hong Kong’s tiny shoebox apartments. What you need is a sound system that weighs in with more style than raw speaker power; a sophisticated item that extends your own debonair image to any that might venture into your he-lair.
Manhattan leather lotharios Coach has teamed up with retro sound gurus Tivoli to wrap the company’s iconic Bleeker Bluetooth radio in leather as supple as your first time round second base. As much a collector’s item as it is a bedroom or study essential, the radio is completely mobile, and is as happy perched above your wet bar as it is at a rooftop BBQ. Powerful speakers ensure you’re not compromising on sound quality in the name of style, and there is a sensitive AM/FM analog tuner, as well as auxiliary input and stereo headphone output, 2.5-inch drivers and an environmentally-friendly NiMH battery.
It’s time to have nice things.
Coach x Tivoli Bleecker Leather Bluetooth Radio