Jun 2, 2021
ALL OF THE WORLD’S MOST ELECTRIFYING CITIES had quiet 2020s, of course. But there was something especially jarring about “new normal” life in dense and usually buzzing Hong Kong, where yo-yo social-distancing restrictions brought things to a standstill every few months. Now, though Covid-19 is almost completely eradicated from the city, and Hong Kong is emerging from its hibernation ready to show that its eternal appeal hasn’t dimmed.
Whether you’ve been strapped in for the long haul or are a resident returning after months away, these are the best things to check out in the city this summer.
Set in a former flour store, Grain is a new restaurant and brewery with beer in its DNA. In the kitchen, Head Chef Matthew Ziemski whips up elevated pub grub infused with brewing ingredients—think fried chicken marinated in an IPA—while the onsite Gweilo Brewlab concocts experimental beers by local craft brewers Gweilo. Grain will also host regular beer workshops and small-group tastings for up to 20 guests, so keep an eye out for the latest happenings.
This is not your average food hall. Celebrating Hong Kong’s diverse culinary scene, BaseHall unites the city’s most exciting food concepts in a dynamic, upscale setting. Here, diners can feast on tacos by “Taco King” Esdras Ochoa, beers from local brewers Young Master, and Middle Eastern street food by Francis—the newest addition—with the occasional light show and DJ set. Much more than a place to eat and drink, BaseHall hosts a regular program of raucous events—look out for their first Drag Brunch on June 12.
3. The Arca
Set in the former industrial district of Wong Chuk Hang, The Arca is a new hotel driven by art and design. A vibrant collection of 40 works by prominent local artists and international up-and-comers, including award-winning sculptor Elizabeth Lyons, is set against a backdrop of original concrete features, custom lighting, copper detailing, and timber furniture created by local firm Design Eight Five Two. The Arca’s 187 guestrooms are contemporary retreats laced with earthy tones, oak veneer, and custom amenities—ask for the 72-square-meter Sea Deluxe Suite. doubles from HK$900
4. Aqua Kyoto
This summer, Hong Kong’s Aqua Restaurant Group is bringing its popular Japanese concept from London to the heart of Hong Kong. Taking over modern British restaurant Statement, the Aqua Kyoto pop-up showcases the brand’s most popular dishes, including the cured red snapper with truffle, and wagyu beef gyoza. Book the Kanpai Brunch (price HK$488 per person + free-flow packages starting from HK$100 per person) to enjoy premium Japanese eats and free-flow booze.
Having mastered his craft in the U.S. at award-winning bars like Please Don’t Tell, OBP’s beverage director Daniel Eun opened taqueria 11 Westside in Hong Kong. Now, he’s bringing his Korean heritage to the city with this new sool-jip drinking establishment. The house specials are Eun’s six cocktails laced with Korean spirits—order the tangy Dokdo (sour apple) Gimlet made with Korean sake. Authentic Korean pub grub is available too, so pair the booze with the boneless fried chicken, galbi dumplings, and kimchi pancakes.
Over one weekend in June, Shakespeare’s tale of star-crossed lovers will get a lavish new production by Hong Kong’s premier ballet company. The fresh retelling of the iconic story is set in 1960s Hong Kong, incorporating sets inspired by mid-20th century street life and sumptuous vintage-style costumes. With director Septime Webre’s vibrant choreography and Prokofiev’s soul-stirring score, this is sure to be the hottest ticket of the season. Dates June 18-20
At West Kowloon’s impressive Xiqu Centre, immerse yourself in the world of Cantonese opera in this engaging experience that pairs vignettes from classic works with insightful narration about the art form’s history. Visitors normally enjoy all of this with Chinese teas and dim sum, though this changes in line with pandemic guidelines. The current season finishes on June 20, but a new one—with an updated repertoire—begins on July 1.
In partnership with Paris’s Centre Pompidou, the Hong Kong Museum of Art presents an intriguing summer exhibition that explores the bizarre and sometimes unsettling world of Surrealist art. Through more than 100 pieces of art and archival material, visitors can explore this influential 20th-century movement and the myths that inspired it. Look out for works by masters like Salvador Dalí, René Magritte, Max Ernst and Jackson Pollock.
This new restaurant revives the traditional teahouses of bygone eras with a modern twist. The essence of the Comprador era is captured in dim sum plates that fuse East and West—try the afternoon tea, which puts a Cantonese spin on the British tradition—a selection of premium teas sourced from across China, and hand-painted porcelain by Hong Kong’s historic Yuet Tung China Works.
Having recently taken the 26th spot in the 2021 Asia’s 50 Best Bars awards, dive bar The Pontiac and head mixologist Beckaly Franks are pushing the boundaries of drinking with a new menu of eco-friendly tipples and craft cocktails. Try the Shells & Cigarettes, a rousing twist on the classic Long Island Iced Tea, featuring a symphony of booze by ecoSPIRITS, including Widges Gin, Tried & True Vodka, and Arquitecto Tequila.
To celebrate their fifth anniversary, popular steakhouse Buenos Aires Polo Club is taking guests on a journey through time and food to 1950s Argentina. On June 10, A Night in Buenos Aires (HK$788 per person) will transport guests to an era when private member’s clubs and polo ruled the Argentine capital. Highlights include grass-fed General Pico steaks done in the traditional asado style and sommelier-led wine pairings—Malbecs are a sure bet.
At the Mandarin Oriental, Hong Kong, this glamorous Japanese izakaya is set to impress once again with its new Omakase Cocktail Bar. In the intimate space, award-winning head mixologist Devender Sehgal whisks guests on an omakase cocktail experience (HK$1,580 per person) that explores premium Japanese spirits in six bespoke cocktails. The experience also includes three sumptuous snacks.
13. Beauty Botanica
Set in Central’s posh Landmark mall, Beauty Botanica is an immersive beauty and wellness retail space—the first of its kind in Hong Kong. With a focus on clean, sustainable beauty, this sophisticated haven brings together iconic brands and niche labels, many of which can’t be found anywhere else in the city. Brands will change every few months, but among the 28 brands available now are big names like Erno Lazslo, Oribe, and Margy’s Monte Carlo; smaller local brands like mtm labo and Enfantskin; and natural labels like The Kind Sunscreen and Monastery.