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Coa in Hong Kong Named Best Bar in Asia

May 26, 2021 by Simon Byrne

On May 06, 2021 The ‘Worlds 50 Best Bars’ released their annual list naming the 50 best bars in Asia. 

This list is voted on and compiled by industry experts that include world-renowned cocktail specialists, mixologists, drinks media insiders and Asia’s most influential/knowledgeable members within the drinks industry. 

For 2021, there has been a new entry in the top spot with Coa in Hong Kong being named the best bar in Asia.  

coa-hong-kong-interior-scaled

About Cao

Founded in 2017 by experienced and highly skilled bartender Jay Khan, Cao takes its name from the machete-like tool used to harvest agave, from which the agave tequila and mezcal based menu takes its inspiration. 

Coa is a Mexican inspired artisanal cocktail bar unlike any other in Asia. 

Depending on who you ask, Cao is either considered a hidden gem that is tucked away underground or a “not so hidden gem” due to its growing list of accolades and newly crowned position as the best cocktail bar in Asia!

The interior is industrial, cosy and made to resemble more traditional Mexican establishments. These traditional Mexican venues often feel homely and Jay and the management team at Cao look to emulate this both in terms of the understated decor alongside a personal and welcoming experience (which is driven by their knowledgeable team of bartenders). 

coa-jay-khan

Coa’s Rise to the Top

Coa has not experienced a sudden and unexpected rise to the top. Since its inception in 2017, it only took a year of operation before the plaudits and accolades started to roll in. From 2019, Cao went on to receive such awards and recognition as:

  • #8 The World’s 50 Best Bars (Highest Climber) 2020 by 50 best bars
  • #3 Asia’s 50 Best Bars 2020 by 50 best bars
  • #49 The World’s 50 Best Bars 2019 by 50 best bars
  • #12 Asia’s 50 Best Bars (Highest New Entry) 2019 by 50 best bars
  • Asia’s Bar of the year 2019 by Drink Magazine Bar Awards

(Source – https://coa.com.hk/)

Not only that, but the co-owner/bartender (yes, Jay does both) has also been voted Bartenders’ Bartender in 2020 by Asia’s 50 Best Bars and also Best Bartender by Time Out in 2019.

One of the key reasons why Coa has been so successful is the unbelievable attention to detail and focus when it comes to specialising and carving out a niche within the bar and cocktail industry.  

coa-bar-ancho-highball-cocktail

Drink Range

Much like the gin boom of 2018/2019, tequila is having a global spike in popularity at the minute and no bar has been better suited than Coa to take advantage of this trend and be the go-to place in Asia. With an agave-based spirit menu spanning 41 pages, we’re not saying that Cao is so highly rated because tequila is currently popular but their speciality is definitely helping them to stand out in the market! 

With 17 pages dedicated to their mezcal range (arguably the most extensive offering in Asia) and just as many for tequila, the 200 bottle collection on show at Coa can be both intimidating and inspiring. If you’re not quite the agave (or spirit) aficionado, there’s no need to feel intimidated by the range when visiting. 

The bartenders are truly passionate when it comes to their drink offering and will walk you through the menu, help you find a drink to suit your individual palate, allow you to appreciate an often misunderstood spirit range (tequila is much more than a party shot), and even sample some of the more obscure drink offerings available at Coa. 

The cocktail range makes use of the extensive list of agave-based and Mexican spirits whilst also using imported ingredients/garnishes from Mexico to ensure that the range is not a ‘gimmick’ but a truly authentic and curated offering.  

Jay has personally visited the distilleries for the products they use and hand-selected a range that is unmatched in the Asian market. His research has also helped develop the unique artisanal cocktail offering which is led by their most famous cocktail, La Paloma De Oaxaca (mezcal, tequila, homemade grapefruit soda and worm salt). 

If you want to check out some of their stock before taking a visit, the online shop demonstrates some of the products they stock and utilise in their menu (including an RTD canned option for the La Paloma De Oaxaca mentioned above). These tequila/mezcal bottles are not your average store-bought range either with prices ranging from $288 – $3,888.

coa-bar

Why Visit Coa

Coa can be credited with inspiring the agave based trend in Asia and is a must-visit bar for anyone with an appreciation for Mexican inspired spirits. 

While the interior could be viewed as “minimalistic”, this is very much intentional providing a relaxed and comfortable atmosphere for guests. The spirit range is noticeably unmatched when it comes to a Mexican offering and this allows Jay and the team to give guests a very intimate and educated drinking experience. 

Not only is the drink offering first class but you also get a sense that Coa is a bar that wants to be unique and a part of the community in Hong Kong. During the pandemic, Coa launched Mezcal Mission, a community scheme that raised money through tequila tastings and donated it to local homeless charity alongside other schemes to help the local community. 

Whether you are expanding your palate or consider yourself an agave amateur, Coa have an offering to suit all tastes. Now that they’ve finally reached the pinnacle as the best bar in Asia (though it did only take three years), we’re excited to see what they do next!

Venue 

Location: Shop A, LG/F Wah Shin House, 6-10 Shin Hing Street, Central Hong Kong

Opening Times:

  • Tuesday: 6pm – 1am
  • Wednesday: 6pm – 1am
  • Thursday: 6pm – 1am
  • Friday: 6pm – 1am
  • Saturday: 6pm – 1am
  • Sunday: 6pm – 1am

Call: +852 2813 5787

Visit Coa Online

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