This Speakeasy Hidden Inside a Hotel Is Hong Kong's Coolest Cocktail Experience
In late January, one of New York's most popular, well-respected speakeasies took a giant leap with its first expansion, opening a new location eight thousand miles away. It made sense for Please Don't Tell, the iconic East Village cocktail haunt hidden behind a phone booth in a hot dog restaurant, to open in one of Asia's bourgeoning (and expat-filled) cocktail capitals, bringing over employees from New York to launch it. Less than a year after opening, PDT Hong Kong is already one of the city's essential stops for cocktail nerds and tater tot enthusiasts.
PDT Hong Kong is a bar within a bar within a hotel. Upon arriving at the The Landmark, Mandarin Oriental, you must head over to MO Bar, a bustling, glam watering hole in the hotel's lobby that you would never suspect hid another bar inside of it. If you walk past the MO Bar's bar, and to the back corner, and up the stairs, you'll find PDT's telltale phone booth. And that's how to enter. (We suggest reserving a booth.) Once inside, the space announces itself as hip and intimate; you could, feasibly, be in the East Village, but there's something more relaxed about the energy here, which may have something to do with not being on Saint Mark's Place, the chaotic playground of NYU students and high-energy twenty-somethings.
The cocktails are stellar, as are the snacks. They're serving a new, local riff on the original PDT in the form of "the Nippon Dog"—a panko-breaded, free-range chicken hot dog served with wasabi mayo coleslaw, pickled daikon, and carrots, all topped with tonkatsu sauce. They've also just introduced their Impossible Burger, served with a generous heap of waffle fries. The tater tots are also top-notch, which you probably already guessed. If you're interested in something a bit more high-end, save your appetite for the tasting menu at Amber, chef Richard Ekkebus's two-Michelin-star, fine-dining wonderland that's located just upstairs.
But back to the cocktails. Thankfully, PDT Hong Kong isn't just a replica of the New York location; once you start drinking, you feel a powerful sense of place. Among the stellar Hong Kong-specific offerings is the "Big Fan," a super-refreshing shandy mixed with Cabeza tequila, lime, pink peppercorn, guava, and Moonzen Fujian radler, brewed locally. Then there's the "Milky Tea Punch," a smart, boozy riff on Hong Kong milk tea that includes Ron Zacapa Centenario rum, Hennessy V.S.O.P. cognac, Rickshaw tea, condensed milk, Tayouran egg, and Angostura bitters. There are also some really solid Hong Kong beers on the menu; this month, you can find brews from the local stars behind Heroes Beer Co.
"Being in a five-star hotel makes things really different," says Malaika Suarez, the PDT manager who came over from the New York location to launch this one. "But our sense for hospitality and service are exactly the same. And that's why we were so excited to bring this over—to make a change and stick out in the cocktail world."
From October 15 to 23 October, PDT's master mixologist Jim Meehan is returning to PDT Hong Kong to work the bar, so if you're in town, you should absolutely catch him.
PDT, Landmark Mandarin Oriental, 15 Queen's Road Central, Central, tel: 2132 0188.