While the mere mention of the word may induce hazy university flashbacks, tequila is actually a real joy (if you're drinking the right stuff). That's why Los Sotano is here to educate Hong Kong on the intricacies of the Mexican favourite
From Chinese restaurants and Italian restaurants to the best gin bars in Hong Kong, the city is all about the food and drink and its diverse culinary scene. Enter Los Sotano in LKF, Central, a cool basement hangout that stocks a selection of fine tequila and crafts some mean cocktails. Go for the drinks, stay for the food and enjoy the great art and design.
Why we drink at Los Sotano in LKF, Central
Work out how to get into underground bar Los Sotano, and you will find yourself going down a staircase lined with murals featuring Day of the Dead-esque skeletons, a hint at things to come inside the space that was one Hong Kong Brewhouse – you know, the place that always had the peanut shells on the floor.
The atmosphere has certainly been transformed since those days though, with Los Sotano going all out to create an underground getaway, where the walls are lined with gold skulls, lanterns have been created from repurposed decanters and neon signs and street art make for Instagram-worthy snaps.
While many tend to think of tequila as the shot that pushed them over the edge at Spring Break/Schoolies Week, globally, the drink has gained favour of late with celebrities such as George Clooney and Bethenny Frankel getting in on the production action – and if you haven’t seen the episode of Real Housewives of New York season 9, where the ladies actually go to Tequila in Mexico, then you are really missing out… I’m not even joking.
Tequila, tequila, tequila!
Lead by LA bartender/tequila aficionado Robert Kariakin – who the founders of Los Sotano met during a research trip to Mexico and the States – the bar is home to over 80 tequilas and mezcals, including the limited edition collaboration between Patron and Guillermo del Toro (at the very least, take a picture of its stunning packaging.)
If you don’t know tequila, make it your friend with a tequila flight, where you can experience a selection of varieties from the same maker to sample the differences achieved through the ageing process. Cocktail lovers will we happy with the vast menu that includes Bad Hombre – reposado tequila, cynar, pineapple, pimientos and beer, all served in a bottle in a classy brown paper bag. And of course there’s a wide range of Margaritas for those who like their tequila a little less heavy duty.
Eating isn’t cheating
Yes. The focus at Los Sotano is very much on the drinks, but there’s also a small selection of delicious bites to accompany your cocktails. I loved both the baked avocado and the fish taco, but the table-side guacamole was the total standout. Make guacamole your way, with as much red onion, tomato, lime and coriander as you want – the addition of pomegranate to the mix is genius.
Will we be back?
You can probably tell that I loved the tasting we did here, so much so that I took friends back that evening. By 10pm, the bar was pumping with a mix of 20-40-year-olds and some very loud music that ebbed from great latin tracks to bizarre choices like Ed Sheeran, who has no place in a Mexican tequila bar unless he’s drinking. Like many HK bars, getting the attention of the staff can be a bit difficult at times, so I would recommend ordering from the bar rather than trying to catch the eye of the friendly team in red-checked shirts.
I’m looking forward to another tequila-filled day/night at Los Sotano soon.
Los Sotano, 21 D’Aguilar Street, Lan Kwai Fong, Central, Hong Kong, p. 2970 3887, 中環蘭桂坊德己立街21號地下及地庫