World's Best Bar
World's Best Bar
- Late night Drinking
Feb 19, 2020
Opened in December 2017, COA has the largest selection of agave spirits in the city, handpicked in Mexico by Jay Khan, one of Hong Kong’s most respected bartenders, himself. The mezcal and tequila bar’s impressive array of directly sourced, small batch spirits and its classic and innovative cocktails that highlight their distinctive aromas have turned it into a Hong Kong nightlife success story. Case in point: it entered 2019’s World’s 50 Best Bars ranking at No. 49, and made it straight to the top 20 of Asia’s 50 Best Bars at No. 12, making it the year’s Highest New Entry. It also just won Asia Bar of the Year at the 2019 DMBAs, with Jay Khan also winning Asia Bartender of the Year.
Named after the tool used to harvest the agave plant, COA is the embodiment of its owner’s passion for Mexico’s artisanal agave spirits and unique drinking culture. Its minimal interior with rustic accents – bare concrete walls, simple wooden furniture and traditional mezcal drinking cups – conveys a hospitable and laid-back vibe, with Jay either manning the bar or chatting with customers.
Cocktail-wise, if you’ve never really ventured beyond the margarita, the Paloma de Oaxaca, combining mezcal joven, blanco tequila, grapefruit soda and zest, lime, and sal de gusano, is a great place to start. But the highlight from the list has to be the Ponche de Masa, with Avion plata, darjeeling tea, watermelon, melon, cucumber and green bell pepper syrup, Ancho Reyes verde, apple vinegar, lime juice, and coconut milk wash.
The main attraction here, however, are the agave spirits, to be savored slowly and on their own. Mezcal and tequila each have around 17 pages dedicated to them on the menu. This can seem a bit intimidating, but Jay and his knowledgeable staff are on hand to guide newcomers through the complexities of the agave world. Go for the mezcal list, which is divided by type of agave plant, let yourself be guided, and give one of the locally-selected – and sometimes extremely rare – references a try. We promise it will be worth it.