Nestled amidst the skyscrapers of Central Hong Kong, an unassuming entrance on Wyndham Street heralds our arrival at Honi Honi Tiki Cocktail Lounge, the new premier venue taking Hong Kong by storm. A small discreet plaque by the lift is all that announces ‘Honi Honi’ on the 3rd floor; there is no brash advertising at street level, no garish signs are needed at this exclusive top of the market venue, which in eleven short months has catapulted itself, over and over again, into Hong Kong’s top ten entertainment listings.
Out of the lift, we enter the tropical haven of Honi Honi Tiki Cocktail Lounge to be greeted by young, flamboyant cocktail waiters behind the beautifully constructed bamboo and wood bar. Polynesian masks and Tiki art adorn the walls and lead out to an open air champagne terrace amidst the palm fronds: suddenly we are no longer in the city of Hong Kong, but have arrived at a high class island vision of a South Sea utopia.
The epitome of chic discretion, this is a bar the well-heeled clientele can frequent knowing they will receive both a warm welcome and a sense of exclusivity in. Looking around, Honi Honi’s customers are chic and well-dressed, with a mix of Chinese and Western groups happily sharing the intimate space. An achievement for any Western bar in Hong Kong: even the Chinese feel at home here. The key to that is the luxuriant surroundings and the high end cocktail menu, cleverly appealing to wealthy Asian sensibilities.
Tiki culture became a high society fad when ‘Don the Beachcomber’ returned from the Polynesian Triangle to 1930’s Hollywood. With the inpouring of stories from Oceania after the second world war, Tiki became highly desirable to Western society, fed by American servicemen nostalgia for Polynesian-themed rustic bars: soon everyone wanted to be served exotic rum cocktails, mixed to perfection by upperclass waiters in penguin suits!
Honi Honi Tiki Cocktail Lounge is a return to that high society theme; there are no penguin suits here in Hong Kong, but with 250 design elements tracing back through the generations, and a cocktail list incorporating 126 different varieties of rum, that old world charm is more than apparent in this living, breathing manifestation of Tiki culture.
Honi Honi Tiki Cocktail Lounge succeeds splendidly in its aim of combining the class of Trader Vic’s with the fun of London’s famous Mahiki.
Host and award winning ‘lethal’ mixologist Max’s Tiki vision has come to fruition. Ever evolving – like the tropical islands Honi Honi mimics – we are transported to a scene in the South Seas, with rum monkeys climbing the bar ladders and an attention to detail that belies the eye: are we really still in Hong Kong?
Catch a juxtaposition of the skyscrapers on the sky line through the Tattinger typhoon proof parasols, and you feel you are in an oasis, shielded from the hub-bub of the city and transported to the easy calm of the tropical isles. Everyone gathers with their groups in intimate semi-circles enclaves, as the odd stuffed parrot catches your eye amidst the demurely lit palm and bamboo background.
The Tiki art on the walls changes with the cocktail menu and furniture arrangement week by week, to the extent that even the regulars will find surprises on their visits: just as life is ever changing in the tropics, Honi Honi’s clientele will never second guess their Hong Kong Tiki experience. Which, indeed, is part of the charm for returning customers, who are as wide eyed on their subsequent visits as they were the first time they experienced this luxurious Tiki culture.
This is testified to by the fact that it is a Tuesday night, one of the quietest nights in Hong Kong, and yet there is hardly a spare table to be had at all. It’s standing room only at the rum barrel tables, or take a perch at the high bar running along the bamboo lined walls.
Tuesday nights often see a jazz band play, but tonight Koh Phangan DJ Pablo Escobud has the pleasure of playing beautiful rhythmic house music to suit the Tuesday night crowd. Come the weekend the vibe and the crowd is more upbeat, as renowned DJs bring through their uplifting house, funk and disco beats.
Ranking in Hong Kong top ten lists in their first year, success is sure to accompany Honi Honi’s unique vision of luxurious familiarity; a win-win combination appealing to both Chinese and Western tastes in one. Honi Honi are on to a winner, and you sense greater things await them in the future. A high class, ever evolving cocktail oasis in the middle of the Hong Kong skyscrapers has come to fruition. So next time you’re in Hong Kong, make sure you seek yourselves out some high end Tiki culture at Honi Honi Tiki Cocktail Lounge, Hong Kong!