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56-58 Hollywood Road, Central, Hong Kong

QUINARY IS HONG KONG in a cocktail bar. Look carefully and there are traces of the traditional, but the fundamentals are contemporary and urban, cool and compelling.

Enter to find a long sweep of down-lit industrial metals and a line of leather stools that face a bar so long it requires your eyes to have a wide-angled lens.

Like the customers, owners Charlene Dawes and Antonio Lai are facing forwards, bringing together futuristic techniques rarely seen outside of the kitchen. Lai is a follower of the multi-sensory approach to drink creation. Indeed, the name Quinary means "a numeral system with five at its base" - so all five senses are fully explored in the cocktails here. No doubt Lai is working on the sixth.

The signature is the Earl Grey Caviar Martini but the menu has changed recently to include ‘bartender’s choice’ cocktails. The idea, according to Dawes, is to "feature the creations of our newer and younger bartenders, giving them a chance to showcase their own ideas and concepts".

There are great hotel bars in Hong Kong but Dawes and Lai operate a handful of bars that have ignited the cocktail scene. Their group has the wine bar Tastings, whisky den Angel’s Share, gin bar Origin and, to complete the set, a new hotel bar and terrace, the Envoy - but Quinary is the brightest star of this constellation.

With direction and schooling from Dawes and Lai, a new generation of bartenders who champion cocktails ahead of straight spirits should emerge in the city. Dawes says of her Quinary team: "We are happy to see them grow and mature into greater bartenders for the Hong Kong bar scene."
Bravo to that.

Drinks International