If you’re a barfly with a need for friendly service, amazing cocktails, and down-to-earth vibes, then you need to visit The Pontiac.
We like to keep things real when it comes to the best bars in Hong Kong. While there are a bunch of great brunches in town and a new restaurant popping up every minute, it’s harder to find a watering hole that gets it. Luckily, the fam at The Pontiac is here for all your bar-propping needs, and with the launch of its brand new menu in November 2022, we’re counting all the ways we love thee.
1. The people
If you’re looking for a bar where the staff are as friendly as their pours are heavy, look no further than The Pontiac. Jen, Beckaly, and the team are a family that always treats us the same way the minute we walk through the door. Behind these smiling faces, we never find a lapse in talent either. The drinks here are no joke and one sip quells any doubts as to why the staff gets invited to guest shifts everywhere!
2. The drinks
The famous Ponty heavy pour already makes every drink at The Pontiac worth it, but did you know that great thought went behind each drink as well? One of the headliners on the new menu, the 1•3•O.B. is an ode to The Pontiac’s home right on Old Bailey Street, as well as a cheeky nod to confused patrons asking where the Korean restaurant OBP is (it’s further down the road tucked into an alley). The 1•3•O.B. is a four-part “muddy buddy” that harkens back to the childhood favourite snack mix with PB Whiskey, Amaro Montenegro, hazelnut liquor, sesame den, and angostura bitters.
The Demolition Derby, inspired by classic American demolition derbies, was one that delightfully surprised us with its subtlety, especially considering its namesake. It’s described as a glass full of great things smashed together, and that it certainly is. On the other hand, The River took our palate on a wild ride. The ingredients like Ming River Szechwan Baijiu and Szechwan peppercorn cordial may not be in your typical cocktail recipe, but they make a great match and this drink is definitely as unique as The Pontiac itself.
3. The vibes
Whoever you are, The Pontiac welcomes you with open arms. There aren’t many rules here, but inclusivity is definitely at the top of the list. Think bras hanging from the ceiling, dirty doodles plastered on the walls, and a giant rainbow flag tacked above the entry. Ponty doesn’t think of itself as a dive bar, but rather a rock ‘n’ roll cocktail bar and the vibes here are just immaculate.
4. Sweet, sweet Ponty Hour
There aren’t many places left in Hong Kong where you can get a cocktail for under $100 anymore, but The Pontiac at happy hour is one of them. Monday to Friday, from 3 to 7pm, Ponty Hour is the name of the game where you can get house pours for $40 and cocktails for $50 – the prices are unbeatable, especially considering we’re in Central! Make sure to try the famous Hobnail at this reduced price, but let us warn ya – the heavy pour is still in effect!
5. Ponty Cafe is right next door
One of the newest best things about The Pontiac was actually born of the pandemic. Ponty Cafe was initially started as a way to keep the staff of The Pontiac afloat during the uncertain times of lockdown and more stringent pandemic restrictions. Now with more stable times on the horizon, Ponty Cafe is going even stronger with its brick-and-mortar location right beside The Pontiac! If you find yourself in the area for lunch or tea, you might just catch us at Ponty Cafe scarfing down its signature buttermilk biscuits – before we hop next door for Ponty Hour, that is!
The Pontiac, 13 Old Bailey Street, SoHo, Hong Kong, p. 2521 3855