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December 2, 2014

Top 10 Places to See and Be Scene this Winter

It’s Christmaaaaas! Which means your diary’s about to get jam-packed with back-to-back social shenanigans. You’ve got your sequin-spangled party outfit at the ready, and a huge cast of friends, family and loved ones that you want to raise a glass with before the year’s out, now you just need some fabulous places to eat, drink and be merry. Well, consider this your first Christmas wish of the year granted. Here’s the DSTS pick of the sparkly, new Hong Kong hang-outs…

9th Floor, 33 Wyndham Sreet, Central
+852 2593 2593
Serving up the best meatballs and veal parm in town, not to mention to-die-for tiramisu and deadly-amazing homemade Limoncello, Carbone is the spot to hit up for a serious Yuletide New York-Italian blow-out. The burgundy dinner jacketed Captains will flambé your meal tableside with a hefty side of wisecracks while Sinatra croons away in the background and the barman pours you the perfect martini. Come hungry, leave tipsy with a distinct Don Corleone swagger.

The Woods
L/G, 17-19 Hollywood Rd, Central
+852 2522 0281
If you go down to The Woods today you’re in for a big surprise… Not a teddy bear’s picnic, a cocktail connoisseur’s playground… Skip down the stairs from bustling Hollywood Road to this elegant cocktail bar and prepare to be wowed not only by the sleek décor, but by some mind-bogglingly spectacular tipples. We’re talking exotically infused spirits, the most unexpected flavor combinations and cocktails that require you to wield a wooden hammer and smash through a ball of ice to get to them. Smashtastic stuff!

16 Arbuthnot Road, Central
+852 6821 2801
Had a crush on the hot guy in accounts all year? Well, now’s the time to finally ‘fess up and push for that Christmas kiss. Too shy for such bold moves? Spare your blushes by inviting him along for a blind date at Hong Kong’s first dinner in the dark venue, Alchemy. Slink down to the intimate 25-seater, pitch-black dining room where you can choose from a variety of mystery set menus and wine pairings served up by a crew of ever-patient visually-impaired wait staff. Guessing your way through the courses will keep the conversation flowing and by the time the lights come up perhaps you’ll find him holding out a sprig of mistletoe…

The Envoy
3/F, The Pottinger Hong Kong, 74 Queen’s Road, Central
+852 2169 3311
Eggnog and mulled wine are well and good but if you want a festive cocktail with edge, the Envoy should be top of your tipple list. Hidden away in Central’s brand new boutique hotel, the Pottinger, find the city’s leading mixologist magicians working the bar conjuring up drinks beyond your wildest dreams. Start with the Birds of a Feather – a whiskey-laced blueberry and pomegranate concoction served up in a bird-shaped glass – totally tweet-tastic. Then, when you need a little life support, move on to the very medicinal True Blood served on ice in a blood bag.

Mrs Pound
6 Pound Lane, Sheung Wan
+852 3426 3949
If you’re heading to Mrs Pound for a couple of Rendang Bao and a night of drinking strong drinks and swinging from the gymnastic rings above the bar, the first thing you need to know is that you’re looking for Mr Ming’s Stamp Shop. The second vital piece of information is where to locate the secret door release that will have the front of the stamp shop swishing open to reveal the uber-awesome diner-cum-speakeasy behind.  Last but not least, you should know that legend has it that Mrs Pound was a Parisian femme-fatale who left behind her life as a famed burlesque dancer to be with Mr Ming her Hong Kong lover and that if you visit her secret restaurant, bad behavior is virtually mandatory…

Rummin’ Tings
28 Hollywood Road, Central
+852 2523 7070
Douse the Christmas pudding with rum whack up the volume on the steel drum version of Away in a Manger – it’s time to put a little Caribbean into your Christmas celebrations. The boys behind Fatty Crab have set up shack under the escalators and are shaking up some seriously beachy cocktails that’ll have you jammin’ faster than you can say “Marley Christmas”. Soak up the eighty varieties of rum with a round or two of rasta snacks, think – spicy jamrock jerk chicken and sticky island ribs.

The Pawn
62 Johnston Road Wan Chai
+852 2866 3444
The bandages are off after the Pawn’s recent facelift and we’re pleased to report that the results are dazzling. The Wanchai stalwart retains all its former breezy, colonial charm but with a sharp, sleek modern edge. Pale woods and graphic rugs in the bar, polished concrete floors and palm prints in the dining room and up on the roof – a farm, where aubergines, herbs and pineapples grow. And the switch-up doesn’t stop there. With Michelin-starred British chef, Tom Aikens, in the kitchen, the menu’s also been raised to dizzying heights. Good solid British dishes with an injection of local quirk make this the ideal spot for festive feasting.

5th Floor, LHT Tower, 31 Queen’s Road, Central
+852 2386 8090
As the temperatures dip, ring in the holidays by cosying up in Hong Kong’s newest temple to Malbec and meat – Gaucho Grill. Hailing from London, the group’s Hong Kong outpost is decked out in Gaucho’s signature blingy boys’ club style with cow-hide and crystal galore. Let the steak do the talking though, the Argentinian Grass-fed, wet-aged Angus beef really is the business. Finish off on a sweet note with a Dulche de Leche spiked wickedly decadent dessert and leave as plump and happy as a sugar plum fairy.

The Pulse, Shop 103 & 104 G/F, 28 Beach Road, Repulse Bay
+852 2866 8668
Gobbled so much turkey you’re afraid you might turn into one? Zip round to South Side for something a little different at Maximal Concepts’ latest opening, Limewood. Grab a frozen Margarita and congregate around the barbeque, you’re going to get your tastebuds dazzled with a menu that’s a touch South East Asian, a dash Hawaiian and a scattering of South American with a little Caribbean spice.  We’re basically talking all the very best flavours from the very best beach locations all around the globe – sunshine guaranteed in every bite.

Burger Circus
22 Hollywood Road, Central
+852 2810 0507
Because Christmas is all about overindulging, what harm could a juicy cheeseburger washed down with a malted shake be? Burger Circus, Hong Kong’s newest burger joint, promises drool-inducingly great food dished up in old-school diner surroundings. Festive leather jacket at the ready, it’s time to channel Danny Zuko even if your burger addiction has you looking more like a podgy Elvis…  (Opening January 2015)

Ready for some more Christmas cheer? Look out for our glittering new guide to the festive season, coming straight to your inbox this week!

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