New York’s favourite bar, and worst-kept-secret, Employees Only, is finally setting up shop in Hong Kong. Honouring their roots as an industry-focused bar, the team is hosting a private preview on May 22 for F&B only, ahead of their official opening in June.
Originally created as a bar for bartenders, Employees Only quickly earned praise not just for the excellent cocktails (they’ve earned numerous awards throughout the years, including the World’s Best Cocktail Bar and World’s Best Drinks Selection), but for their peerless style: bartenders free-pour at lightening speeds, entertaining guests as they go – but never sacrificing quality. “Even though we have fun on the job, we take our craft very seriously – every bartender has gone through our apprentice programme where they gain an education in spirits, learn technical cocktail making skills, including speed bartending where they learn to free pour between two to four cocktails within minutes…” says Igor Hadzismajlovic, one of the co-founders.
Hong Kong has seen a renewed interest in bars in recent years, with a general ethos of ‘the harder to get into the better’. Speakeasies still reign supreme, and the trend favours exclusivity and show over substance, but perhaps that’s about to change. The permanent move was first announced in February, following the successful opening of their Singapore outpost and their popular pop-up at Mo Bar in 2015.