Award-winning Mexican-inspired cocktail bar COA is a shining light in Hong Kong’s burgeoning cocktail scene that specialises in cocktails made with agave-based spirits.

For any cocktail lover visiting Hong Kong, dropping into COA is a must. After all, the Mexican-inspired cocktail bar has won pole position three years running in Asia’s 50 Best Bars, as well as coming in at No.17 for World’s 50 Best Bars last year as one of the region’s best performers.

This would already be an amazing enough result for any bar around the world. But it becomes even more impressive when you realise COA is really just a small, independently-owned drinking spot in a city known for its stellar nightlife and one overflowing with so many other great drinking venues.

Tucked inside a basement along one of the many undulating dingy backstreets of Hong Kong’s Central business and financial district, COA can be easy to miss. But once you step in, you’re instantly transported from Central’s drab cityscape into a cocktail haven.

COA back bar

Not that its interiors are anything to write home about. Walls of brushed concrete. Filament bulbs that barely light up the space. Ubiquitous if comfortable low chairs and tables you tend to find in any kind of casual watering hole. Your eyes will instead be instantly drawn to the back bar where rows upon rows of tequila and mezcal bottles take pride of place.

That’s right. COA is a specialty cocktail bar, one that’s inspired by Mexico’s drinking culture, particularly its agave-based spirits (COA, after all, is named for the blade that jimadors use to hack the leaves off the agave plant that tequila and mezcal are made from).

Almost every cocktail that issues from COA’s bar is made with either mezcal and tequila, and sometimes both. Drinks also incorporate ingredients that are uniquely Hong Kong, but also from the rest of Asia.

COA - Bloody Beef Maria

There’s their signature Ancho Highball, a refreshingly sweet, tangy and spicy tequila-based concoction with notes of salted plum, chile pepper, and guava. Or the La Paloma de Oaxaca, a straight take on the classic elevated simply from the use of better ingredients.

Some cocktail descriptions may scare you. The Bitter Melon Collins, for one. White bitter melon, coconut, and Thai green curry botanicals, altogether in a cocktail? But the result was a pleasant surprise, an exceedingly layered creation bursting with a myriad of flavours that somehow work together. Likewise the Bloody “Beef” Maria (pictured above), a clarified twist on the Bloody Mary that actually uses beef stock in its making. It is – pardon the fully-intended pun – bloody good.

Other cocktails too employ a melange of ingredients that sound like they really shouldn’t belong together, but somehow do. It’s sheer cocktail wizardry.

COA offers various classic cocktails as well, just reengineered with mezcal or tequila.

COA Hong Kong - vibes

But what truly will amaze you about COA is its rocking vibe. There’s always a constant positive energy in the air, its staff beaming as they flit from table to table taking orders or delivering drinks.

We love COA. Maybe the voters of Asia’s 50 Best really do know best.

[Photos courtesy of COA Hong Kong]


Address Shop A, LG/F Wah Shin House, 6-10 Shin Hing Street, Central, Hong Kong (Google Maps link)
Opening Hours 6pm to 12am Tuesdays to Sundays; closed on Mondays
Tel (852) 2813 5787
Facebook coahongkong
Instagram @coahongkong


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