New cocktail bar, The Wise King, opens in Hong Kong

Following last year’s opening of The Old Man in Hong Kong, the city’s bar circuit is buzzing again this month with the upcoming opening of Room 309 by Antonio Lai inside boutique hotel The Pottinger, and now The Wise King, an opulent new cocktail bar launched by two industry veterans.

Sandeep Kumar and Joe Villanueva, the two founders behind The Wise King located in Staunton Street, Central.

The new cocktail bar pays tribute to King Alfonso X of Castile, known as The Wise, who ruled Castile and Leon in 13th century. The king is occasionally known among today’s drinks scene because he supposedly issued a decree that no alcoholic beverage should be served without food, giving birth to the idea of tapas.

Similar to The Old Man, a speakeasy cocktail bar launched by a trio of bar mavericks, The Wise King is headed by two veterans – Sandeep Kumar and Joe Villanueva. Kumar previously worked at Michelin-starred restaurants such as On Dining and Il Milione and also led the beverage programs for institutes such as China Tang and Howard’s Gourmet. Villanueva was part of the team at Lobster Bar & Grill known to its World’s 50 Best Bars inclusions and became the first Chivas Master Competition Champion to represent Hong Kong at the global finals.

The cocktail menu features classic mixes like the ‘Turrón Sour’ (HK$118), inspired by the nougat confection with toasted almond. ‘El Sabio’ (HK$108) carries fruity hints with a spiced peach & pineapple wine reduction and Cava. The ‘Monti-Tipple’ (HK$108) features Xeco Amontillado sherry, Gin Mare, Café Vermouth and aromatic choco bitters.

There are also some barrel aged libations such as the ‘Pacharán Manhattan’ (HK$98) with Woodford Rye whiskey, Blackthorn liqueur and Abott’s bitters, and the ‘Joya’ (HK$98) with Jodhpur gin, Pomace herbal brandy liqueur, Mancino Rosso and orange bitters. The bar also offers a selection of non-alcoholic mixes such as the the ‘Quencher’ (HK$88), the ‘Pickled Beets’ (HK$88) and also selections of wines, sparkling wine, champagnes and Spanish beers.

In line with the concept of marrying drinks with food, the bar serves an wide of tapas such as scarpetta, patatas bravas, pollo kebeb and varied Spanish charcuterie and cheese selections.

The bar is scheduled to open in mid July, ahead of Room 309, a new bar by Hong Kong’s bar industry pioneer Antonio Lai, who was behind the city’s award-winning Quinary and the gin-focused cocktail bar, Origin.

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