Sipping in the City of Light
Trivia time: did you know that some of history’s most endearing cocktails have their origins in the land of berets, baguettes and Bugattis? Next time you order a drink, you should think about the vital contribution France has made to today’s mixology scene. If it wasn’t for classics like the French 75, a tipple created during WWI said to have the punch of a French 75mm artillery piece; The Sidecar, made for a flamboyant military officer who’d arrive at Harry’s New York Bar on a motorbike with sidecar; and that blissful hangover cure The Mimosa, created by Frank Meier at The Ritz Paris, we might never have moved past gin and tonics.
Fortunately, Le Boudoir, that most French of all Hong Kong speakeasies, is reviving classic French cocktails with a series of concoctions inspired by the City of Light. Made with either classic pours or, for the purist, vintage French ingredients, five new additions to the bar’s menu have restored L'Art de Vivre to Wyndham Street. Try the Pink Squirrel, a drink once made with ice cream and now interpreted with equal parts heavy cream, crème de cacao and illusive Crème de Noyaux, a rare liqueur made with the stones of apricots, peaches and cherries. Alternatively, the robust Tremblement de Terre, or ‘Earthquake’, is a powerful blend of cognac and absinthe created by famed French Post-Impressionist painter Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec that will either have you bouncing off the walls or cutting off your own ear. Enjoy these classic drinks amidst the Chinoiserie-punctuated Belle Époque grandeur of Le Boudoir’s chandelier-lit salon and toast to alchemists and mixologists past and present.
“A man's got to believe in something. I believe I'll have another drink” ~W. C. Fields
Le Boudoir’s New Classic Cocktails
Basement, 65 Wyndham Street, Central; 2530 3870.
Time to Set Hearts Aflutter
It’s that time of the year again, when you strive to fill the brownie points coffers with your significant other, stashing away that credit for the numerous times you’ll mess up in 2017. Fortunately, we’ve done the hard yards for you with our seven picks for an uncliched Valentine’s Day that won’t break the bank.
Want to avoid packed restaurants but aren’t confident in the home cooking department? InterContinental Hong Kong’s Culinary Stars Class for couples, on February 18 (we know, it’s a bit late) will be taught by NOBU executive sushi chef Kazunari Araki, who will empower you with the skills you need to please her palate every time. The class will include a light breakfast and lunch with wine or champagne.
Named for the prize offered by French emperor Napoleon Bonaparte, an acclaimed general but also famous lover, to anyone that could devise a method to preserve food for his armies, 12,000 Francs offers the convenience of SoHo, combined with innovative cuisine from the couple that brought you Madame Sixty Ate. The innovative Valentine’s Day menu includes king salmon tartine served with horseradish, complete with a barrel-aged cocktail. You can opt for a special wine matching package, which include Janisson and Fils champagne, a brand recently made available in the city, for a more tasteful meal.
If your woman’s the whole package, get her the Suite Escape Package from The Peninsula Hong Kong, which will extend your short Tuesday date with a three-hour night-time tour in a chauffeured Mini Clubman and a staycation in one of the acclaimed hotel’s Superior or Deluxe suites. After a romantic night complemented, get your energy levels back with a breakfast buffet at The Verandah; recharge at the Fitness Centre; or take a dip in the Roman-style swimming pool with its harbour views.
If you’re looking for an elegant dinner served amidst modern Art Deco-inspired interiors, head to The Continental at Pacific Place, which will offer a sophisitcated Valentine’s Day menu that kicks off with two dedicated cocktails, For Him and For Her, followed by an indulgent four-course meal featuring Hokkaido scallops and yellowfin tuna crudo. End the romantic meal with a luxurious dessert: strawberry tart matched with champagne coulis.
Fancy some privacy? This Valentine’s Day, Conrad Macao will offer the ultimate romantic dinner, served in an individual, flower-filled cabana next to the hotel’s pool. Musicians will serenade couples as they sip on rosé champagne, and enjoy a six-course meal, including a special Valentine's themed dessert. The great thing is, if you’re feeling frisky, the guest rooms are within sprinting distance.
For a true escape from Hong Kong, W Singapore - Sentosa Cove’s imaginative Valentine’s Day Programme “I Lawn for You” offers lovers the ultimate glamping dining experience. The eclectic menu of seafood dishes includes Fine de Claire oysters and Alaskan crab, which are served inside a tent located on the urban resort’s extensive lawns. This luxurious evening meal is exclusive to only eight couples.
Couples can dance the night away at St. Regis Bali’s Cloud Nine Chapel, after enjoying a Moonlight Romantic Dinner backdropped by the pristine Indian Ocean. Limited to 10 passionate pairs, this meal includes a La Boutique present for her, a bottle of champagne, and live music.
A Gentleman’s Guide to NYE
Looking to farewell 2016 in style? We look at the top New Year’s Eve parties in Hong Kong and Macau and find there’s a solution for every New Year’s Eve dilemma.
The Bunny Solution
You know it’s time for a party when bunnies get bouncing. Dress to impress as LKF’s favourite steakhouse becomes the Playboy Mansion with the Porterhouse by Laris and Playboy New Year’s soiree. Arrive for dinner or come later for the lounge party, with Veuve Clicquot and cocktails served by playboy bunnies, and music from renowned DJ Aldo.
HK$988 includes dinner, countdown and late night lounge;
HK$300 per person for Lounge from 9pm;
HK$6,000 per VIP table.
7/F, California Tower, 30-36 D’Aguilar Street, Lan Kwai Fong, Hong Kong;
The Burlesque Solution
Armani/Prive will transform itself into a seductive burlesque boudoir this New Year’s Eve for its NYE en Rouge party, complete with sensual dance, captivating cocktails, and beats spun by DJ P. Grant. Don’t forget a dash of red to really look the part.
Tickets at the door from HK$550 including two glasses of champagne, from 10pm;
Landmark Chater House, 8 Connaught Road, Central;
The Black Tie Solution
Don your slim-cut tailcoat for Namo’s Great Gatsby Glam NYE Ball, where you’ll enjoy front-row views of the fireworks from the terrace lounge, free flowing champagne, and sumptuous Thai cuisine. If you don’t find your own Daisy Buchanan for the night, there’s an anti-hangover breakfast kicking off at 2am to ensure you start the year right.
Premium Ticket with Dinner for HK$998; 8pm – 3am;
Shop G18, Empire Centre, 68 Mody Road, Tsim Sha Tsui East;
The Polynesian Solution
For Hong Kong’s best tiki experience this New Year’s, head to Mahalo Tiki Lounge in the heart of Wan Chai. Soul Train, a tiki-esque disco party filled with flair jeans, platforms, tie-dye shirts, and diminished inhibitions, will bring the 1970s back to this South Seas hideaway thanks to tracks spun by DJ FuFu.
Advanced tickets for HK$350 include 1 drink;
on the door for HK$500 includes 2 drinks; 8pm – 4am;
29/F QRE Plaza, 202 Queen’s Road East, Wan Chai;
The Carnivoric Solution
If your perfect New Year’s Eve is good steaks, red wine, and the chance of meeting alluring Latino women, then we suggest you head for Gaucho, which will be hosting a five-course dinner that includes Argentinian slow braised short ribs and Aberdeen Angus fillets, a couple of glasses of champagne, and sultry Latino tunes. Opt for the free flow package and toast the new year in style.
HK$1200 per person includes 5-course meal, a glass of Veuve Clicquot on arrival and a second to toast the New Year;
5th Floor, LHT Tower, 31 Queen's Road Central, Hong Kong;
The High Flier Solution
Duddell’s will host soaring aerial acrobats at its Cirque! New Year’s Eve party. Expect free flowing champagne and signature cocktails by mixology maverick Marek Wo Vojcarcik, stunning performances over the terrace, and a performance by Hong Kong's premier ska band The Red Stripes.
Entry for HK$700 includes free flow champagne and cocktails; 9.30pm onwards;
3/F Shanghai Tang Mansion, 1 Duddell Street, Central;
The Rio Solution
Get your samba on with the Kee Club Copacabana NYE Party, complete with Latin American-influenced dinner menu, live performances by Brazilian dancers, and sets by DJ Rork and DJ Kenji.
Advanced tickets for HK$400, $ 500 At Door includes 1 glass of Veuve Clicquot champagne; 10pm onwards;
KEE Club, 32 Wellington Street, Central;
The Retro Solution
Bored of LKF? Hop on a ferry to Macau in time for Starworld Hotel’s Reminiscence Party, held at its chic Whisky Bar, where the live band will rock you with music from the 70s, 80s and 90s. Plan your acceptance speech in advance for the best dressed award and be sure to stretch before tackling the dance battle.
MOP$350 includes two standard drinks and one glass of Moët & Chandon champagne; 9:30pm – 4:30am;
16/F Starworld Hotel, Avenida da Amizade, Macau;
The Electro Solution
One of the hottest nights in Macau will at the Ministry of Sound NYE Countdown After Party, at The Venetian Macao’s CotaiExpo Hall, complete with sets from DJ and producer Shaun Frank, and vocalist Delaney Jane.
MOP$288 includes 1 standard drink; 11pm onwards;
Cotai Expo Hall F, The Venetian Macao, Macau;
The Vegas Solution
Turn a new page in the most decadent way at Club Cubic’s New Year’s Eve Party. The most prestigious club in the Vegas of Asia will make sure you experience the craziest of a countdown parties with music by Polish DJ Tom Swoon. Get in before midnight for complimentary entry.
MOP$350 includes 1 standard drink, midnight onwards;
Level 2, The Shops at The Boulevard, City of Dreams, Estrada do Istmo, Cotai, Macau;
Be What You Drink
So we get it; you’re going for that young, dynamic man-of-the-world look, and why not? If there’s something the lovelies love, it’s a man who knows what he wants, who exudes confidence, who talks the talk, and who defines himself through every facet of his being, from his bespoke suit and on-trend hair, through to his extensive knowledge of Spanish pickup lines, and his kitsch-is-cool Knight Rider ring tone.
Asia’s First Stock Market Bar
When the Wolf of Wall Street, the ‘dramography’ of stock broker Jordan Belfort, hit the big screen in Hong Kong, we’re sure there were plenty of black suit-wearing gents (and quite a number of talented ladies) high-fiving themselves all the way to the popcorn counter.
Time for Some Self Love
We know your idea of a detox might be sticking to spritzers during the week or perhaps replacing your martini olives with lemon twists to cut down on sodium, but sometimes we need to take things to the next level, to really flush out the toxins of urban living.
Keep it In-House
You may not know it but the history of the humble cocktail – the original mind, not frozen drinks topped with a rainforest garnish – is far less illustrious than you might imagine. In 1600s England, under King William of Orange, most people died of water-borne pathogens.
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.
Your Next Big Party
Music festivals are a whole lot of fun, but for all of us based in Hong Kong, enjoying one of these epic events usually means travelling pretty far from home.
Our Favourite Old Fashioneds in Hong Kong
Chilled, with touches of citrus and the warmth of whiskey, the Old Fashioned is a revered classic and a bartender's go-to drop that’s the perfect concoction for Hong Kong’s temperamental springs. Even if you’re not a whiskeyphile, you should know the ins and outs of this endearing drink as well as its many modern reiterations, and the best way to start is by sipping your way through our favourite tipples.
After the Horses Bolt
Despite its glitzy malls and shimmering neon-clad skyscrapers, Hong Kong has a rich architectural heritage, and many of the landmarks of that legacy are retired law enforcement compounds.
Hong Kong is littered with clubs of all description that are branded ‘members only,’ and while some do live up to the elite bastions that are private members’ clubs, some merely carry off the appearance. Here is our selection of the five ‘members-only’ clubs you need to know.
A Meeting of the Minds
Hong Kong’s cocktail culture is coming along nicely after many years of overly-sweet, overly-colourful concoctions that rot teeth and wrack brains the next day.
Spain Meets Sai Ying Pun
Hong Kong is a city that’s always reinventing itself.
Cocktails with a Twist
Mixology, the art form of bartending, has well and truly found a home in Hong Kong after generations of poorly-made, overly sweet cocktails.
Six Summer Coolers
The days are heating up, summer is in the air and you know what that means – barbeques, beach trips, junk parties, alfresco dining and plenty of summer-themed cocktails. Here are some of the seasonal concoctions you need to look out for this summer.
The Ultimate Private Party
There’s nothing wrong with being selective. You choose your clothing each day with deduction and analysis; you took your job after balancing the pros and cons; and you select who you date based on a predetermined list of attractions – after all isn’t that what instinct really is? Although you like to think you’re as spontaneous as the next guy, and at times you are, the reality is that much of your life is the result of careful consideration.
Detroit is not a city we readily associate with techno music. We get its car industry; this is where General Motors, Ford, and Chrysler are headquartered, after all. With Eminem and Xhibit, we even get its affiliation with rap…let’s just ignore the fact that Detroit also produced Kid Rock and Uncle Kracker. But thanks to Put Your Hands Up For Detroit by Fedde Le Grande, which probably powered your big nights out around 2006 and 2007, it became realistic to mention techno and Detroit in the same breath.
When the Going Gets Tough
The need for comfort in some way, shape or form is a universal one; but how we seek solace can differ wildly. Some hit the gym, hoping to find satisfaction in the repetitive motion that comes with hitting the treadmill or lifting weights; others look for it in the emotional and physical stimulation of mutual companionship – you know what we mean. But most of us turn to favourite foods and drinks – there’s a reason we coined the term ‘comfort food’ – seeking the warm glow and intense satisfaction that comes with the first few sips of a favourite tipple, or bites of a delectable meal.
Macau’s Newest Sensation
We all wanted to be different things when we were growing up – an astronaut, a race car driver, Elle McPherson’s pool boy. But, with life’s cruel humor, many of us never rose to those fantastic heights, choosing instead stability over adrenalin, a sensible pension plan over late afternoon poolside encounters. However, if you’d ever fancied yourself a member of Japan’s secretive yakuza, we have a dinner theme that will thrust you straight from the boardroom into a scene straight from the inner circle of the Japanese underworld, thanks to the clever chaps at Macaustag, our favourite XY party planners.
Welcome to the Bat Cave
Every man needs a lair, a place he can brood and rejoice, converse and pontificate, and of course, imbibe. It’s got to be a place of comfort, sophistication, and privacy, dimly lit and moody, lined with couches in rich leather and suede, far from the corporate boardrooms and traffic jams of the real world. Of course, there will be a bartender who knows the medicinal value of a good whisky or spiced rum, a cask-aged Negroni or a sleek Martini; polished wood cabernets filled with trophies from past conquests; and a menu of finger-friendly foods that line the stomach and pamper the soul.
What’s Taboo to You
What is considered taboo – so defined as “proscribed by society as improper or unacceptable” – changes with the passing of time, and the rise and fall of empires. Many things which we now take for granted - inter-racial marriage, homosexuality, hipster fashion - we have learned to accept only after having questioned, experienced, and evolved as a society. Even as individuals, we only grow after we invite experience into our existence; it’s as if we sometimes need to touch the hot plate, if only to find out if we like being burnt.
We all aspire to personalisation as a way of materially distinguishing ourselves from everyone else. The problem is that somewhere along the way to a nightlife where clubs are indistinguishable, a fashion industry that appears to have lost creative inspiration, and a technology sphere where only Apple and Samsung seem to exist, our ability to personalise has been lost. Of course, we do try: we might snap garish cases on our phones, or choose novelty ties and cufflinks. But it’s hardly a world where bespoke suits and monogrammed luggage is the norm.
Hong Kong’s Hidden Haven
One of the first things newcomers to Hong Kong hear is how village-like the city is. If we’re honest, the geographic footprint that most of us tread is relatively small – if we were migratory birds we’d be able to walk south for the winter. The result is hundreds of prying eyes and whispering mouths, out and about, with their noses in our business when all we want is a little privacy and a little intimacy.
It's A Small World
Spend long enough in Hong Kong and you’ll quickly realise that the city’s social scene is rather…well, incestuous. On any given night out with the boys, you might run into a friend of a friend (order up a round of drinks), unwittingly hit on your ex-girlfriend’s netball teammate (awkward – just cut your losses and run) or discover the guy that runs your favourite bar is your brother-in-law’s best friend’s frat buddy (depending how cool the guy is, it might not stay your favourite bar). The point is, whenever you meet someone in Hong Kong, you’ll often find that you have a connection of some sort, however tenuous the link. Everyone is connected through six degrees of separation.
What We Need Right About Now
You may not know him as Norman Cook. You probably didn’t realise he owned part of a professional football team in the UK, was the driving force behind Brighton’s iconic block parties, or that he won a Grammy for one of his music videos, which starred big screen bad boy Christopher Walken. But you do know his songs; it’s extremely likely that singles like Weapon of Choice and Praise You were anthems during some of the best nights of your life. And now, you have a chance to live those moments all over again.
Oh Captain My Captain
Plenty of important things happened in 1963. Beatlemania struck the UK as the four Liverpool charmers hit the charts with three singles and a debut album. Doug Engelbart at the Stanford Research Institute invented the computer "mouse", and both gamers and web voyeurs alike have thanked him since. The first push button telephones were introduced in 1963, the Rolling Stones were formed, the iconic Smiley Face was created, and Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr made his historic march on Washington. All these world-changing events were cause for celebration, in one way or another.
Making Social Connections
They say no man is an island, and even the most socially adverse among us would have to agree that at the core, men are social animals. We have an instinctive drive to interact, create bonds, and be with others. Luckily, Hong Kong’s nightlife scene is well suited to feed this need for personal connections. From intimate, dimly-lit restaurants and male-orientated cigar lounges to raucous clubs and slick cocktail lounges, the modern gent in Hong Kong is spoilt for choice when it comes to where and how he wants to play out his social interactions.