The Loop Hong Kong

Hidden Gem: Wan Chai’s drinking scene may have once been less than stellar, but the district’s on the up and up, as the arrival of ultra-classy Mizunara makes abundantly clear.

Look & Feel: What’s better than a whisky bar? A whisky library that’s a little bit hard to find. The gem is hidden away in a nondescript commercial building, but once you emerge it’s like you’ve been transported into an elegant bar in Ginza. It’s all gleaming wood, leather seats and a hushed feeling that urges you to shush. There’s a little outdoor terrace, but it doesn’t have much seating yet.

On the Menu: The menu is more like a tome, featuring over 150 Japanese whiskies and a couple of pages devoted to bartender-owner Masahiko Endo’s award-winning cocktails. Donning a white jacket and a bow tie, Endo isn’t the kind of bartender who will talk you up all night, but he certainly doesn’t mind explaining his ingredients and mixology methods.

Service: Flawless – you can’t even think about sneezing here without someone intuitively handing you a tissue.

Jeng: The Smokey Manhattan ($160) is perfectly balanced, using Maker’s Mark as a base and a rinse of Laphroaig to lend a smoky nose. Inspired by James Bond’s steely stare, the Cool Eyes ($230) is a bit more gimmicky – it is literally blue – but the gentle grapefruit and lemon flavors really work together.

Not so Jeng: We get it, for good drinks and a great atmosphere you have to pay up. But $250 for a cocktail? Ouch.

Great For: Date nights, after-work drinks and big fat paydays.

FYI: The bar is made from a single piece of imported Japanese wood.

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