Six of Hong Kong's New Craft Beer Bars
There’s a slew of new craft beer watering holes and menus around town.
Bringing fresh brews to the cooler-than-thou hipster enclave Tai Hang is Second Draft, the second establishment by the bar team behind Mong Kok craft beer bar The Ale Project. This time the food’s paired with a fusion gastropub menu by Little Bao’s May Chow. The vibe of the place takes inspiration from old school Hong Kong, using Star Ferry-style doors, 60s-style stenciled signage, wooden chairs and pale melon-green interiors characteristic of old-timey cha chaan tengs. G/F, 98 Tung Lo Wan Rd., Tai Hang, 2656-0232.
Drink this: The newest Young Master brew: Lui Sun (meaning “goddess”), a mangoey IPA with a relatively light bitterness derived from experimenting with a new type of hop.
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This may the be latest brewery on the block but it’s no newbie brand: Established in 1996 (and part of a sake-brewing facility that dates back a century), the venerable craft beer makers from Japan’s Ibaraki prefecture opened its doors in Fo Tan early August. Brewing for the Hong Kong market as well as for export to the mainland, the brewery makes a few of the brand’s signatures, and is planning to experiment with Hong Kong-exclusive flavors and sour ales. It’s open for brewery tours to the public every Saturday from Aug 27. Unit A1, G/F Unison Industrial Centre, 27-31 Au Pui Wan St., Fo Tan, 2620-0095.
Drink this: The Espresso Stout, a richly chocolatey dark beer that tastes just like a smooth iced Americano. If we could start drinking this first thing in the morning and still stay standing by the end of the day, we would.
Having just opened in July, Aussie export Little Creatures is already a crowded hotspot come weekend evenings, and it’s almost impossible to get a table without booking in advance. Service is still a little spotty and confused on the bar side, but it’s better for a sit-down meal. Great, unpretentious food (the ribeye is fantastic), fresh beers brewed on-site, a friendly atmosphere and an incredible high-ceilinged industrial space make this a great hangout for larger groups. Shop 1 G/F New Fortune House, 5A New Praya, Kennedy Town, 2833-5611.
Drink this: You can’t go wrong with the solid signature Pale Ale.
In Chinese, 65 Peel is called “何蘭正,” which is a pun for “really f**king awesome.” And it is, because it celebrates local brews. It’s a spacious room of uber-cool exposed concrete and neon signs, but more importantly, the 12-tap beer selection boasts libations all from Hong Kong breweries. 65-65A Peel St., Central, 2342-2224.
Drink this: The Lemongrass IPA from Mak’s Brewery, which is floral and light, not too bitter, and with a tasty and refreshing subtle lemongrass finish.
The Garage Bar
The outdoor patio bar The Backyard at Cordis Hong Kong’s just undergone an overhaul, bringing a focus to good ol’ hearty burgers and sandwiches and putting the spotlight on 40 Hong Kong and international craft beer labels. While the venue is only set to open officially in September, highlights include the Hongkongese Burger, which is a steak burger encased within a charcoal-baked pineapple bun. Pair this with one (or three) of the local brews from Moonzen Brewery, Lion Rock, City Brew and more. Level L, Cordis, Hong Kong, 555 Shanghai St., Mong Kok, 3552-3028, cordishotels.com/en/hong-kong
Drink this: Choose any three types of beer from different labels to create your own personalized beer flight.
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The Bottle Shop
Tucked up on the quiet end of Bridges Street is the Central branch of longtime wine and beer sellers The Bottle Shop, where at a handful of tables you can sip craft beers from 20 rotating taps. Aiming to educate the public on pairing good beer with good food, The Bottle Shop’s recently revamped its entire menu from a European/Italian bent to a more Asian style. Try the new ssam lettuce wrap boards, featuring fillings like Hainan chicken roulades and Singaporean soft-shell crab, and chicken wings coated with a golden salted egg yolk sauce. G/F, 15 Bridges St., Central, 2799-4899.
Drink this: The Seven Brews Get Lucky Golden Ale (if it’s available)—by newly launched Hong Kong-created, US-brewed beer brand Seven Brews—punchy and sessionable, perfect for the summer heat.