Hong Kong: Bar Crawl to PDT, The Wilshire, The Pontiac, Employees Only

PDT at the Landmark Mandarin Oriental


On my first night in Hong Kong, I had a drink at PDT located in the Mezzanine above the MO Bar at the Landmark Mandarin Oriental. I actually have never been to the PDT in New York but I heard this one was just like it style wise. You enter through a phone booth. It was a quiet night and only a few people were at the bar. I took in the decor (lots of taxidermy but very whimsical, not scary) and books for sale –I already have both of Jim Meehan’s books).

I had a list longer than my arm of bar suggestions but I happily took a local’s suggestion. Bartender Adam Schmidt suggested some bars that I hadn’t heard of yet so it was cool to get his suggestions.

My list included American style bars (or really, American imports) and so this bar crawl includes PDT, The Wilshire, The Pontiac and Employees Only. When I asked around if they were worth going to because I have the same or similar bars back home, the answer was yes, go! It was cool to explore all types of bars but a bit surreal to see American style bars in Hong Kong.

Pear of Peres – Wild Turkey rye, Cocchi Vermouth di Torino, Genepi de Peres Chartreux, St. George Pear Brandy

ole dog


I had a fancy cheese dog called Ole. It’s a pork hot dog with Manchego. chorizo and esplette chile mayo. It was a bit messy but it’s a hot dog and to be expected.

I was sad to go after only one drink but it was my first night in Hong Kong and yes, I did have a long list of bars to check out!

PDT at the Landmark Mandarin Oriental

M/F, 15 Queen’s Road Central
Hong Kong  —  852 2132 0110

MTR: Central, Hong Kong Island



The Safety Word at The Wilshire


After tacos at 11 Westside, I headed to the back bar. Speakeasies are popular in Hong Kong and The Wilshire is considered one. You ring the door bell and are admitted to a beautiful large bar lined with bottles. I had heard it was styled after The Varnish in Los Angeles which is one of my favorite bars. They nabbed Daniel Eun who worked at both The Varnish and Walker Inn, bars inside of bars. When you ring the door bell, a light goes off just like it does at Walker Inn in LA.

I looked over the menu which looks just like a Varnish menu except larger. Varnish uses a half-sized clipboard and The Wilshire uses a full sized one. Then I saw it. My favorite Varnish drink! It’s the Safety Word, created by Chris Bostick who managed the Varnish years ago.

If I ever move to Hong Kong and miss home, I will be sure to go to 11 Westside and The Wilshire. These spots feel like home.

Safety Word – Irish whiskey, Yellow Chartreuse, Angostura bitters

The Wilshire at 11 Westside

1/F, The Hudson, 11 Davis Street
Hong Kong

MTR: Kennedy Town, Hong Kong Island


The Pontiac


Can dive bars be created? That’s what The Pontiac set out to do. Styled after American dive bars, there are bras thrown above the bar. But take a closer look at the bottles. Recognize them? I did. They’re all wonderful spirits I’ve had the pleasure of imbibing at craft cocktail bars.


My Name is Nobody at The Pontiac


By the time I got to the Pontiac, I had gone to four other bars so it was definitely my last one of the night. I just wanted a night cap. Pretty much all the bars I had gone to were quiet with a couple of exceptions. It was a holiday week known as the Golden Week so that was expected by the locals but a bit eerie for me. Sometimes I like blending in with the crowd. Going to a dive was the next best thing. You can be anonymous if you want to. And so I ordered “My Name is Nobody.” And it was just the perfect drink both in name and spirit to fit my mood.

My Name is Nobody – Fernet-Branca, Aperol, Ancho Reyes chile liqueur, vermouth rosso

The Pontiac

13 Old Bailey Street
Hong Kong  —  852 2521 3855

MTR: Central, Hong Kong Island


Hotel Armenia at Employees Only HK


On my last night in Hong Kong, I checked out Employees Only. I’ve been to the ones in New York an Los Angeles but I was curious to see how it would translate overseas. The Hong Kong location is not EO’s first Asian venture. That would be Singapore.

The HK location is in Lai Kwan Fong, an area in the Central district. It’s now known as LKF and popular with expats. I found the familiar Psychic sign and stepped inside. It looks just like the New York bar which is the original EO.

I heard they even serve chicken soup at the end of the night. I didn’t stay that long but I did have two drinks. I started with the Hotel Armenia. It was around this time last year I went to Armenia so I was feeling a bit nostalgic.

Hotel Armenia – Havana Club 3-year-old rum, pineapple, apricot, egg white, lime

Bobby Burns at EO HK


Then the bartender made me a Bobby Burns after asking me what I normally drink (Manhattan). I of course like the Scotch version of this cocktail. Although this EO looked more like the NY one, it made me miss home and my LA EO (which I immediately visited within a week of coming home).

I had a great time at this EO and would brave the crowds again for a drink here.

Employees Only Hong Kong

19 Lan Kwai Fong
Hong Kong  —  852 2468 2755

MTR: Central, Hong Kong Island



© 2018 The Minty

*** For my Hong Kong posts, I will provide the address in both English and Chinese as well as the MTR (subway) stop if available.