Enjoy Speakeasy Style Cocktails in Hong Kong’s Lily & Bloom

By Karen Loftus

Although the speakeasy style bars are now quite common in American cocktail culture, you are hard pressed to see that style played out to such perfection in other countries… until now.

When in New York, it was an accomplished novelty to wait in front of a nondescript door for an inordinate amount of time awaiting entry. We oddly found comfort slipping in to a vintage pay phone and calling a spirited stranger in hopes of admission in to the boozy bar. We would even walk through a hot dog shop en route to a dark lit liquid landscape filled with overly serious, low lit sippers to reach what we deeemd liquid nirvana.

That novelty may have worn down, but it is far from out. As it still may require a little more time and effort on our part to have this elevated experience, it too requires much more time and effort by those at the bar to provide it.

Maybe that’s the allure; the simple act of slowing down across the board and the bar by all, to sip and savor the elixir, ambiance and each other. Whatever the cocktail case may be, the speakeasy suspenders don’t seem to be going anywhere, any time soon.

In Hong Kong’s Lily & Bloom there is no hidden door, nor a hot dog shop or a vintage phone booth and the buzzing bespoke bar is anything but a secret in this international city. So, if you are looking for a classic cocktail while in Hong Kong, in an evocative speakeasy like setting, head to LKF Tower.

The upstairs Lily Bar is an old school seating with plush banquettes and of course, low lighting in their lounge bar. You can blame the sexy, somewhat irreverent aesthetics on the American, New York-based design firm AvroKO. They are the method and the madness behind the chairs, which were inspired by seating from various forms of transportation of that era.

Bartenders are well versed in the classics and will make any requested classic on or off the list. So, let your iconic and your more obscure classic requests rip as the bar is well-known for cocktail concoctions; modern classics made with boutique spirits.

If looking to tipple off the list, go for their Prohibition Tea with Tanqueray, maraschino, lemon, sugar, hellfire, chartreuse and orange peel. If looking to keep it light continue with the Water Lily #2 with Hendrick’s gin, orange essence, lemon, violet and pernod rinse. Or go for the crowd pleasing 1938 Old Fashion with pampero 1938 aged rum, angostura & orange bitters and citrus peels. It’s hard to turn your back on the Derby Thyme’s 1792 bourbon, honey, thyme, lemon and mint.

If looking for a few small plates with your pours, you can head east or west with foie gras or spicy noodles. The Bloom restaurant downstairs is a brasserie and raw bar with more western driven options. Go for the charcuterie platter, marinated beef tenderloin salad, Rhode Island calamari or the grilled sausages.

Lily & Bloom may be in synch with the bygone era, but they have not skipped a beat in staying in tune with today’s times and lifestyle restrictions. As cigarettes and smoke today are what spirits were in their day, Lily & Bloom also has a 12-seat private dining room upstairs. Known as ‘The Blind Pig’, a sealed cigar room equipped with shipping crates and an ordering system that involves an old school telephone and a hidden serving hatch to circumvent anti-smoking laws.

Where there is smoke…there is fire.

Lily & Bloom – 5-6/F, LKF Tower, 33 Wyndham Street, Central, Hong Kong