Wednesday 13 January 2016

Please Don't Tell (PDT) Pop up Bar - Hong Kong (Bar Review #19)

As we mentioned last month, the legendary New York cocktail institution PDT (Please Don't Tell) has made its way to Hong Kong, setting up a month-long pop up bar at the Landmark Mandarin Oriental Hong Kong.

Far from being a half-hearted, branded attempt to cash in on the continuing success of one of the world's most famous cocktail bars, the pop up (a collaboration with Diageo World Class) is about as authentic as they come.

Not only has the upstairs bar been faithfully transformed (including a back bar that looks exactly like the original, taxidermy, exposed brick and yes, a phone booth entrance), but the bar's founder Jim Meehan, General Manager (and World Class USA Bartender of the Year 2013) Jeff Bell, and bartender Nick Brown are all in Hong Kong, manning the bar each night (though we're told Jim leaves at the end of this week).


Steph and I visited on Friday, and I returned yesterday for the media launch, where we learnt of the effort which went into planning the event over the course of a year (including discussions with a Shenzhen-based taxidermy company who didn't have a taxidermied bear, but said they "could get one". The organisers declined....)

There's no doubt about it - this has got to be the most authentic "pop up" bars we've seen, but thankfully there's been lot of local flavour injected too, with 6 (of the 12) cocktails made especially for Hong Kong. Rather than list them all here, we recommend checking out the bottom of this Lucky Peach article, written by Jim's brother. We do recommend trying both the "Red Velvet" and "Benton's Old Fashioned" though - the former because you simply won't believe how wonderfully weird coconut water and bourbon can be until you try it, and the latter because it's "the" famous PDT cocktail (and works brilliantly when made with Bulleit, which has just launched in HK).

The food menu also gets a Hong Kong touch, with four of the hot dogs designed by famous Hong Kong restaurants:
  • "Demon Dog", by Demon Chef Alvin Leung from BO Innovation (how often do you get to eat a hot dog made by a 3 Michelin-starred chef?)
  • "Yardbird",  by Matt Abergel of Yardbird
  • "Bahn Mi Trap Dog", by Jowett Yu of Ho Lee Fook (probably our favourite HK restaurant)
  • "Frenchie", by Richard Ekkebus of amber. 
(Chef Richard Ekkebus described it as an exercise in "comparing wieners").


The event is almost fully booked (though bar seating is available for walk-ins), and it's not hard to see why. The drinks are fantastic, the venue is an incredibly detailed and faithful re-creation, the hotdogs are delicious and the whole experience is just that - an experience.

Don't think of this as "going to a bar for drinks", think of it as an experience (and a wonderful one at that).

PDT Hong Kong
Opening hours: Tuesday to Saturday, 5pm til late (until 30th January)
Location: MO Bar, Landmark Mandarin Oriental Hong Kong
Reservations: +852 2132 0077 or


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