Hong Kong’s 001: A Speakeasy worth the search

001-doorbell

I love Hong Kong. I love the energy, the accessibility, the sights, and… most of all, I love the food. From hole-in-the-wall noodle shops and open air street dining to luxurious world’s finest (and highest) rooftop restaurants, the city has it all. Locals and visitors alike can enjoy a never ending array of anything you can imagine wanting to eat – even things you can’t. All within steps of an MTR stop and available in just about any price range you want. If you seek it out, you’ll likely find it.

One of the latest gems that had landed on our foodie hit list on our recent trip there was 001. My hubby and I had heard a lot about this little underground speakeasy cocktail bar that had been getting a lot of international attention. As a speakeasy, it was hidden: tucked away deep in one of the oldest areas of Central behind one of Hong Kong’s last remaining wet markets. The only challenge – it was a speakeasy, so it wouldn’t be easy to find.

Armed with the map on my phone and obscure instructions I’d picked up somewhere, we started our quest. Luckily, we happened to be in the area earlier that afternoon, so decided to locate it in advance while it was still light before we would head back later in the evening for cocktails. I’m glad we did. As later, in our usual form, we were running late, and it was far easier to navigate the old winding streets of old Hong Kong when we knew where we were going.

The good news is that if you have a general idea of where to look and what to look for, 001 isn’t nearly as difficult to find as you may be led to believe. The trick is knowing the intersection: Wellington Street and Graham Street. The cocktail bar is on Graham Street on the left, just before Wellington Street (if you are facing Wellington). Keep an eye out for the black door with the bronze doorbell. You may need to sleuth around behind some of the vegetable vendors.

For my husband and I, our visit was well worth the extra effort and ended up being one of our favourite experiences on our trip. Sporting a hushed 1920s art deco decor and ambiance, the feeling you get walking in is like you’re being ripped back in time a 100 years or so. From the custom bronze coasters and small lanterns on the table, muted lighting throughout the bar, marble tiled floors, and backlit bar, 001 aimed to impress and it did.

001

As expected, their cocktail menu was enviable. I tried the Earl Grey Martini first and was blown away by its flavour: aromatic, soft, and downright delicious. We also tried a few other cocktails, like the Blood and Sand, lychee martini, and Elderflower Caipirinha. All fantastic, but the Earl Grey was by far my favourite. As for food, we had heard that 001 is known for its cocktails, rather than the food – and by all accounts, we agreed with our sources. While the food was good, it also wasn’t particularly memorable or special. Although if you do get food, the grilled cheese is supposed to top the list. (We had the fried chicken.)

So if you’re ever in Hong Kong and happen to have a free night – definitely try 001. They only seat up to 40 people; however, so it’s best to reserve in advance at +852 2810 6969. You won’t regret it.

Gom Bui!

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