OPEN BAR SUNTORY BAR MASTER HOUSE
The buzz: Seems like everyone’s trying to run the opposite direction of generic beer these days. The owner of long-standing premium whisky and cigar club Kinlonz 1492 in Lan Kwai Fong has teamed up with Suntory Beer Company to bring us Hong Kong’s first concept bar by the Japanese beer and spirits giant. And while a commercial conglomerate is behind it, this joint focuses on serving its more rarified line of Premium Malt’s beer (yes, that’s an apostrophe; no, we don’t know why) and its Hong Kong-exclusive varieties.
The décor: Taking over the narrow two-story space that used to be Rockabilly and The Irish Priest, the ground floor is dimly lit, dominated by a long, minimalistic wooden bar with sturdy navy leather chairs. The bartender takes utmost care in the cleanliness and presentation of everything, using only filtered water to clean the specifically shaped glasses that contain the different brews. Upstairs is a more casual space, with tables for larger groups and softer music to make for easier conversation.
The drinks: Known for its pilsner-style beers, the OG signature here is the Premium Malt’s Pilsner ($80 for 380ml): With twice-roasted malts, light on the hops, and poured with a 7:3 ratio of beer to head, it’s very, very smooth. For something even more exclusive (and Master House is the only place you can drink this in Hong Kong), you’ll want to order the Premium Malt’s Master’s Dream ($130 for 380ml)—made with “diamond” barley roasted three times for what Suntory says is a more layered flavor. Another exclusive is the Premium Malt’s Aroma ($100 for 380ml)— the aroma in question being a hoppy one. Non-beer-drinkers can be kept happy with a range of quintessential Japanese highballs (from $80), made with whiskies from Yamazaki, Hakushu, Hibiki, Laphroaig and more.
Why you’ll be back: With premium Japanese beers also comes classic Japanese hospitality and insane attention to detail. You’ll be well taken care of here. This ain’t no booze and peanuts-on-the-floor-type place, and with the average Hong Kong beer drinker turning their nose up at Hoegaarden in favor of craft, rare or alternative brews, Master House is worth a visit.
G/F, 12 Lan Kwai Fong, Central, 2703-9300.