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Top Five Martinis in Hong Kong

“I like to have a martini, two at the very most.
After three I’m under the table, after four I’m under my host.” – Dorothy Parker

If you have Dorothy Parker tendencies too, we bring you Sassy’s pick of the top five martini spots in Hong Kong – just don’t go blaming us for what you do after your second…!

001

If you’re willing to work for your liquor, 001 is more than worth the effort. Your first hurdle is finding the bar, a secret speakeasy hidden behind an anonymous black door in Central. The second test is getting past the door staff – 001 has a strict booking policy and if you haven’t thought to call ahead, prepare to seriously flutter those eyelashes! Once you’ve made it in, a moodily lit bar full of shadowy nooks hinting at secret liaisons and misbehaviour awaits. Low jazz hums in the background whilst waiters glide around proffering silver trays of cocktails and bowls of nuts. All the drinks here are superb but the Earl Grey Martinis are legendary and deservedly so. Crisp and refreshing with a deadly kick, the tea-infused gin is shaken with lemon juice, egg white and sugar, a more girl-friendly drink than a traditional martini. A few cocktails down, order the grilled cheese sandwich and fries for a deliciously naughty midnight feast.

The address of 001 is a Hong Kong secret…but we’ll let you in on the deets and email them straight to your inbox when you fill out the form here!

Quinary

Applying El Bulli-style food science to cocktails in a bid to engage all five of your senses, the newly opened Quinary shakes up some pretty impressive concoctions. Located on Hollywood Road, this brand new cocktail spot blends comfy leather sofas with a never-ending sleek black bar and padlocked mesh-fronted shelving units crammed with a menagerie of trophies, books and knick-knacks. Mixologist magician Antonio Lai whips up his sensory drinks using an arsenal of high-tech kit including a rotary evaporator and a centrifuge, which are proudly displayed in a science lab area at the end of the bar. We highly recommend the Quinary take on the Earl Grey Martini, which comes topped with a swirl of bubble bath-esque foam and laden with petit pois sized spheres of Earl Grey infused ‘caviar’ (much nicer than they sound!). The truffle fries are apparently incredible; we plan to sample them next time in the hope that it may help to make our heads less fuzzy on the next morning after.

QUINARY Shop D, LG/F, 56 Hollywood Rd, Central
2851 3223 www.quinary.hk/

Butler

Amongst a stretch of lurid neon signs and grubby shops lurks the entrance to a little gem of a cocktail bar. The shiny new Mody House building is easy to spot but gives no hint that it’s the gateway from deepest darkest TST to sleek minimalist Japan in the form of Butler, a cosy 20-seater Japanese whisky and cocktail bar. Not a whisky girl?  Not to worry, the cocktails are incredible! The dirty martini is strong, smooth and briny – absolute perfection. The bow-tied waiters can help you tackle the rest of the extensive but superlative drinks menu; drop hints about what you like (and what you don’t) and then sit back and watch them mix your bespoke drink.

The theatre of the cocktail creation is half of the fun here. Your glass is meticulously chilled, each ingredient is painstakingly measured and fruit is sliced with the skill of a surgeon! The snacks menu offers a range of light dishes prepared with just as much precision as the drinks – julienned shards of crisp vegetables are scattered with crushed ice alongside a moreish miso dip; brie is expertly sliced before having its rind scorched with a small blowtorch right in front of your eyes, and Jamon Iberico is carved by hand in tissue-thin slices from a leg perched on the bar. Go thirsty and peckish with plenty of time to savour the experience, because this is more than just a cocktail pit stop.

Bar Butler 5/F, Mody House, 30 Mody Rd, Tsim Sha Tsui
2724 3828

Le Boudoir

For a little je ne sais quois, slip past the curtained entrance on Wyndham Street, slink down the red velvet lined staircase and slide onto a bar stool at Le Boudoir. Small but perfectly formed, this French lounge bar is where we’d imagine Marie Antoinette would escape from the commoners, kick off her mules and down several martinis! The decor is over-the-top opulence with chandeliers, Rococo furniture, red and gold flocked wallpaper and faux-Renaissance art in heavy gilt frames. The drinks are just as decadent as your surroundings, each with an innovative twist. For Francophiles, we recommend the Summer In Paris or the Tarte Tatin, but our top pick is the El Patron Espresso Martini – the perfect contemporary spin on a classic. Be warned though, these tipples will have you toppled before you know it and sightings of the green fairy are not uncommon!

Le Boudoir B/F, 65 Wyndham St, Central
2530 3870

Blue Bar, Four Seasons

Hotel bars often seem a little lacking in soul, catered towards tourists, overpriced and underwhelming. However, for martini connoisseurs, the Four Seasons’ Blue Bar is the Holy Grail. Against the glittering Victoria Harbour skyline backdrop, Blue Bar is a den of old-school glamour. Dark wood floors, flashes of art deco and sleek ergonomic chairs are all set around a shimmering column of backlit blue mosaic. On Fridays and Saturdays, your dirty martini is accompanied with live music (think more Ronnie Scott’s than Insomnia!). Delicious bar snacks will keep the wolf at bay, but remember, bar snacks do not a meal make – with drinks this potent, we’d suggest taking extra special heed of Ms Parker’s tips on martinis, tables and hosts….

Blue Bar Lobby level, Four Seasons Hotel Hong Kong, 8 Finance Street, Central
3196 8888 www.fourseasons.com/hongkong/dining/lounges/blue_bar/

Check out Natalie’s blog for all things food, fashion and fun, 3 Bad Mice.

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