Over the past few years, Hong Kong’s nightlife scene has evolved past the standard consumption of Carlsberg and Tsingtao. New and stalwart bars alike have come around to embracing the demand for quality cocktails, craft beers and diverse wine lists. Luckily, there’s no shortage of fantastic happy hours around town where you can get a taste of the city’s best tipples.
If you’re keen to mingle with a well-heeled crowd and enjoy a front-row view of Victoria Harbour, make your way to Blue Bar on the ground floor of Forbes Travel Guide Five-Star Four Seasons Hotel Hong Kong. The sophisticated setting offers a happy hour every day between 5:30 and 7:30 p.m.
There aren’t any discount on drinks, but guests who swing by for a sundowner can help themselves to a table full of complimentary snacks. The generous spread includes several types of breads, charcuterie and vegetarian appetizers.
A three-story address in Wan Chai, The Optimist opens with a botanical-inspired bar on the ground floor. The design is fresh and inviting, featuring high ceilings, copper accents and cozy booths with lots of natural light.
Leave your worries at the door — this Northern Spanish restaurant offers inexpensive wine, beer and cocktails and bar snacks, including oysters, Monday through Sunday from 3 to 7:30 p.m. On a hot Hong Kong afternoon, cool off with a Gin On Ginger, made with fresh ginger, sugar, mint, ginger beer and Bombay gin.
Featuring an open-air terrace and a handpicked sake menu from co-owner/former soccer star Hidetoshi Nakata, Koko is one of the most notable newcomers of 2016. The Japanese izakaya is cool and contemporary, serving up Koko Social Hour weekdays from 5 to 8 p.m.
Happy hour at Koko consists of drink deals on sake, wine, selected spirits and a clutch of cocktails. Don’t miss the Ringo Spritzer, made with Nikka Black Whisky, apple sake, lime juice, cinnamon syrup, ginger ale and soda.
Arrive late? Not to worry, night owls can take advantage of the Koko Nightcap. From 10 p.m. to close on Monday through Wednesday, the restaurant serves ume spritzers and the Koko negroni for HK$89 (US$11).
You really can’t miss Chôm Chôm. The vibrant Vietnamese restaurant sees a crowd pouring onto Peel Street almost every night. It might have something to do with the restaurant’s Hanoi Happy Hour. Wednesdays through Sundays from 5 to 7 p.m., Chôm Chôm serves HK$148 (US$19) pitchers of beer, South China Sea iced tea and Cay Mia punch — a fruity concoction that’s akin to sangria.
If you manage to snag a seat at the bar or a square of curb, order a bucket of the famous VFC (Vietnamese fried chicken) and stay awhile.
Stazione Novella is a go-to after-work watering hole for European expats and travelers seeking a taste of la vita bella. The tiny Italian bar sits on a buzzing corner in SoHo, perfect for people-watching or sipping on an Aperol spritz in the Hong Kong sunshine.
Now through September 30, order any drink between 5 and 7 p.m. daily, and the alfresco bar will reward you with a complimentary Italian aperitivo — aka a buffet of cheese, charcuterie and snacks to whet your appetite.
Stone Nullah Tavern
Home to perhaps the most famous happy hour in town, Stone Nullah Tavern knows how to kick off a fantastic night out. Every weekday, the American-style tavern hosts its Beat the Clock Happy Hour. At 5 p.m., drinks start at HK$1 — that’s 13 cents in U.S. currency — and the price doubles every 20 minutes, from HK$1 to HK$2, and so on. The deal runs through 7 p.m., with final happy hour prices reaching HK$64 (US$8.25).
The cocktails might be inexpensive during the magic hours, but don’t expect a cheap experience — Stone Nullah Tavern has a strong reputation for its farm-to-table American food. Once you have a drink in hand, peruse the menu for some pork cheek chili nachos, maple barbecued ribs and crispy fried artichokes.
It wouldn’t be a list of Hong Kong happy hours without the granddaddy of them all. The Globe is home to the longest happy hour in town, running from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. every day — mind you, the British gastropub doesn’t officially open until 10 a.m.
Beyond its generous operating hours, The Globe is also known for its extensive craft beer collection, featuring 13 taps and more than 140 bottles. Look for a handful of local brews alongside international favorites such as Mountain Goat, Nøgne Ø, Kona, Yeastie Boys and dozens more.