Whether for a nightcap; to quell jet-lag; or a brisk whisky over a business lunch: there’s just something about a great hotel bar. Maybe it’s because (in our experience) a beautiful bar signifies a larger dedication to great design; or maybe because it’s the only place of its kind where, as the night draws to a close, a freshly made bed is mere seconds away. Behold five newcomers to the Further East family with bars so chic and drinks so universally smooth, you’ll have to be dragged away come last orders (or persuaded to purchase several nights’ stay).
NAME: Tongkah Tin Syndicate at The Slate
LOCATION: Phuket, Thailand
SIGNATURE DRINK: The Pearl: a bittersweet, colourful blend of white rum, blue curacao, hazelnut liquor and pineapple juice.
A self-described “whimsical world within Phuket”, The Slate’s devotion to the dreamlike extends to almost every corner of its washed-blue walls – making the decidedly modern, industrial-luxe Tongkah Tin Syndicate a stylish outlier. Behind the bar, curios from the Na-Ranong family mines compete for space with rare whiskies and stacked-to-the-sky china, while snooker tables, craft beer Fridays and soft, low-lighting make for relaxed, upscale-beer-hall vibes – if your local beer hall sprawled out on to the pure white sands of Nai Yang beach.
NAME: PDT (Please Don’t Tell) at The Landmark Mandarin Oriental Hotel
LOCATION: Hong Kong
SIGNATURE DRINK: The Mezcal Mule. Brainchild of PDT’s founder, Jim Meehan, this smoky take on a Moscow Mule muddles Sombra mezcal, ginger beer and passionfruit purée with agave nectar.
As polished as The Slate is pretty, the Landmark Mandarin Oriental has a distinctly Asian approach to hospitality that somehow feels global. A former pop-up that’s less than two months old, Please Don’t Tell (PDT) is a baby in the bar world, but it comes with stellar credentials: its identically named sister venue in New York is regularly voted one of the world’s best. The clue’s in the name – PDT is a modern speakeasy. Its entrance is a telephone booth; taxidermy – goats, tropical birds and a giant hare – adorn the walls; hungry guests can order tater tots with their Old Fashioned. Come for a clandestine meeting; stay for the good vibes.
NAME: Kayu Bar at The Oberoi
LOCATION: Seminyak, Bali
SIGNATURE DRINK: Don’t overcomplicate things; sip a Jaipur Pink instead: vodka; Campari; lime; and a splash of tonic.
There’s a reason why Seminyak appears on this list twice – its bars are just that good. The Kayu is the kind of bar that only gets better after dark; with views of the hotel’s amphitheatre, tropical gardens and the Indian Ocean, perch on a royal blue barstool and watch Balinese dancers twirl in the moonlight. Design-wise, its thatched roof, open walls (all the better to let the sea breeze roll in) and statues interspersed with trinkets lend it a vibe that’s two parts Namaste, one part luxury cabana.
NAME: The Zuk Bar at The Sukothai Bangkok
LOCATION: Bangkok, Thailand
SIGNATURE DRINK: The Berry Caipirinha: a Thai take on the Brazilian classic, with freshly puréed raspberries and a sugar stick straw.
The Sukothai is something of an overachiever: from the Celadon, voted best restaurant in Bangkok, to the legendary champagne brunch at The Colonnade, its seven bars and eateries are among the city’s most decorated. The Zuk Bar is no exception; overlooking the hotel’s water lily ponds, this utterly sultry space serves sashimi and miniature canapés as guest jazz pianists set a suitably sophisticated tone. Don’t forget to look up: the ceiling is adorned with a school of golden fish.
NAME: The Champagne Bar at The Legian
LOCATION: Seminyak, Bali
SIGNATURE DRINK: An ice-cold coupe of Cristal.
Beachfront bars aren’t exactly a rarity in Bali. What separates The Legian’s offering from the rest is the delicious contrast between its menu – a decadent list of the world’s finest champagnes – and its relaxed setting, a mix of rattan chairs and daybeds which overlook the ocean. We can’t think of a better place to soak up the sunset than this delightfully unpretentious space – if your champagne needs a little extra bite, let the expert waiters steer you towards a complementary canapé or choice of caviar.