Maison Eight reinvents the cocktail bar
The buzz: Maison Eight is the first Asian venture by UK-based Italian mixologist Salvatore Calabrese. He’s considered the godfather of the cocktail world, and is known for superlatives like creating the world’s oldest drink (made of rare fine liquors) and the world’s most expensive cocktail at The Playboy Club in Mayfair—so you get an idea of what Maison Eight is going for. It’s a multi-concept entertainment venue: A dining room, called “Esmé,” a jazz ballroom-slash-club with private terrace (“The Ballroom”), a bar (“Salvatore”) and a private dining venue, as well as boasting the first ever Bollinger Champagne Room (“Le Club 1829”).
The décor: In the spacious main room which makes up Salvatore and The Ballroom, baller details are everywhere you look: from the elaborate chandeliered ceiling to the booth sofas that recall luxury limousines. At the bar, we were impressed with the artful glass bar top, cut in layered waves to look like the harbor— complementing the 360-degree view of the skyline, which you can peek at even behind the bar.
The drinks: There’s a long, fully featured cocktail list, a combined effort of Salvatore and his protégé Fabien Marcault, who runs the bar in Hong Kong. From Salvatore’s list, the Spicy Fifty ($98) is popular, for good reason: using vanilla vodka and elderflower cordial, it’s deeply aromatic, not too sweet, and ends with a nicely rounded, light sizzle of chili. One of Marcault’s popular concoctions is the Zen Cha ($108—pictured), which folds together the grassy refreshing notes of basil and green tea with the tart, moreish flavor of lemongrassinfused Absolut Elyx and pineapple juice. Our favorite of the night was the Smokey Hong Kong ($108): a smoky blend made with Chivas 12-year and Ardberg 10-year whiskies, and honey-infused Lapsang Souchong tea. Order the Remember the Maine No. 2 ($118) if you’re looking to impress: They first wash a small wooden barrel with a mix of berries, port and vinegar, then add the cocktail ingredients—bourbon, vermouth, a secret Amaro mix and more—before leaving it to rest for two months. It’s an intense drink that brings out the port flavor nicely, with a light herby aftertaste thanks to the vermouth.
Why you’ll be back: The bar at Maison Eight is surprisingly unpretentious, with very reasonable pricing for drinks that show such attention to detail, amazing surroundings and delicious bar snacks
(try the lobster burger ($148), which features a meaty beast of a lobster patty). Pull up a chair on the terrace, sit back to enjoy the live jazz, and watch the harbor lights flicker away.
21/F, 8 Observatory Rd., Tsim Sha Tsui, 2388-8160, maisoneight.com