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I'm Off to Asia


Danne
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To get right to the point.

I'm traveling to Asia in a month. I'll be visiting Beijing, Shanghai, Tokyo, Singapore, Kuala Lumpur and Bangkok over a three months time. Mainly for sightseeing but since I have a huge passion for cocktails we will try to visit as many cocktailbars as we can. I have huge expectations on Japan!

I've been to Singapore for IBAs Elite Bartender Course (http://www.iba-world.org/english/training/jwc.php) aka. John Whyte Course so I'm familiar with Singapore.

It was there I first fell in love with the Asian-bartenders (a little place called Coffebar K, http://www.coffeebark.co.jp/). And now I am finally returning.

I've gathered some information about great bars in these cities but I think I need some help.

I'll try to take photographs, film and write a bit from every bar that I'll be visiting. So that I can share the info, products and technique that they are using in a big part of Asia.

Does anyone have suggestions about where I should go, what i should visit? Anyone been cocktailing in Asia? Suggestions about blogs? HELP!

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Sorry to be off topic and a bit too forward, but I would have thought Hong Kong has good cocktailbar choices as well. May I ask if there is any reason you are skipping HK in your travel plan?

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I've heard Bar Rouge in Shanghai is spectacular; can't personally vouch for that, however.

In Tokyo:

- Uyeda Kazuo's Bar Tender. Definitely. (Browsing other threads on this site will show that I am biased in this.)

- Hana No Ishi in Shibuya (emphasis on a la minute fresh fruit cocktails)

- Lady Jane Booze Jazz in Shimokitazawa (awesome smoky jazz bar with only decent drinks)

Check out Ginza for the snooty, classicist stuff (extended pinkies and tuxedos and whatnot). Check out Shibuya and Shinjuku for the younger, hipper scene.

That's my two yen.

Pip Hanson | Marvel Bar

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I was just in Shanghai in September and hung out with a friend that goes out to bars a lot. He claims Bar Rouge, and pretty much everything along the Bund, is just a touristy night club. No real drinks.

As far as real cocktails, there's only Constellation. There are two locations. The staff are trained by Japanese. The menu consists of mostly classics like the aviation, though a few like the screwdriver that you would never want to order. The staff is well-versed in cutting ice and can even do the carved ice sphere. Still, compared to the bars in New York, this wouldn't even be in the top 20.

There's also Manifesto, which is a restaurant with a bar. At the time that I visited the menu had just a few classics like the French 75 but the head bartender Adam Devermann was about to take the BAR exam in New York, the premier cocktail program in the world, so hopefully things have improved.

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I had an excellent Hemingway Daiquiri at Distil on top of the State Tower in Bangkok...beautiful views of the city, too. However, prices are commensurate with a rooftop bar on top of a luxury sky scraper.

True rye and true bourbon wake delight like any great wine...dignify man as possessing a palate that responds to them and ennoble his soul as shimmering with the response.

DeVoto, The Hour

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johung, not to forward ;)

HK is a great city to visit if you want to go cocktailing. I visited it a couple of years ago for HOFEX, an food and drink exhibition.

They had an cocktail competition so i had the pleasure of traveling with 3 fellow bartenders from Sweden. We had a fantastic trip and visited a lot of cool bars.

I would love to go there agein but since I've been there my dear love wants us to spend some weeks in Thailand. I think it's ok, 2 months barhopping :laugh: VS 3 weeks sun and swim.

Kohai

I've actually been to Bar Rouge in Shanghai a quickie but I wasn't with right people. They wanted to go to a night club so we stayed for a drink. I remember it to be a bit loud the bartenders kept flairing and the bar was crowded. Maybe not the kind of place someone would go to for cocktails. Nothing wrong with them, well balanced, but maybe a bit to fruity.

I'm looking for real bars that pays extra atte ntion to the drink. I love sitting in a bar sipping on a cool cocktail and relaxing. It's a nice bar and I'll definitely be going to it again.

I am so looking forward to Tokyo. It's going to be the best part of the trip. Uyeda Kazuo is probably the best part of Tokyo . =) I'll be doing some test before so that I can compare and hopefully get some "proof" for the Hard Shake.

I'm only going to spend 10 days in Tokyo. How do you think I spend my time best? What should I visit I know that you have been there so if you have more info about cocktailbars I would love to hear them.

Kent Wang

Thanks for tips in Shanghai, I have some friends that live there, but I don't think they are the drinking type.

I've never been to New York, but I hope that i can take a cocktail-trip in the US in a couple of years.

KD1191

One of the bars I want to visit in Bangkok is Vertigo it looks almost the same. I think that I only can hit one of them, have to dig deeper.

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johung, not to forward ;)

HK is a great city to visit if you want to go cocktailing. I visited it a couple of years ago for HOFEX, an food and drink exhibition.

They had an cocktail competition so i had the pleasure of traveling with 3 fellow bartenders from Sweden. We had a fantastic trip and visited a lot of cool bars.

I would love to go there agein but since I've been there my dear love wants us to spend some weeks in Thailand. I think it's ok, 2 months barhopping :laugh: VS 3 weeks sun and swim.

Kohai

I've actually been to Bar Rouge in Shanghai a quickie but I wasn't with right people. They wanted to go to a night club so we stayed for a drink. I remember it to be a bit loud the bartenders kept flairing and the bar was crowded. Maybe not the kind of place someone would go to for cocktails. Nothing wrong with them, well balanced, but maybe a bit to fruity.

I'm looking for real bars that pays extra atte ntion to the drink. I love sitting in a bar sipping on a cool cocktail and relaxing. It's a nice bar and I'll definitely be going to it again.

I am so looking forward to Tokyo. It's going to be the best part of the trip. Uyeda Kazuo is probably the best part of Tokyo . =) I'll be doing some test before so that I can compare and hopefully get some "proof" for the Hard Shake.

I'm only going to spend 10 days in Tokyo. How do you think I spend my time best? What should I visit I know that you have been there so if you have more info about cocktailbars I would love to hear them.

Kent Wang

Thanks for tips in Shanghai, I have some friends that live there, but I don't think they are the drinking type.

I've never been to New York, but I hope that i can take a cocktail-trip in the US in a couple of years.

KD1191

One of the bars I want to visit in Bangkok is Vertigo it looks almost the same. I think that I only can hit one of them, have to dig deeper.

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For Bangkok, I'd take Vertigo over D'Still.

Aqua (in the Four Seasons) is also good in handling their cocktails.

Indus had a few consultants in, helping them work out cocktails to go with their cuisine, and could be worth a try, and the same people were over at the Syn Bar at the Raffles a couple of years back.

And the jazz club at the Oriental is worth the effort of getting there.

And if you want to observe the wonders of transgender surgery, there's always Q-Bar.

Just be careful in Bangkok. More often than nought, when I've asked for a martini, I get a glass of just that.

:)

P.S. - are you only looking for higher-end cocktail bars, or are you planning on hitting everything?

P.P.S. - there used to be a place on the Bund, on the river side, partially underground, that did a fair bit of absinthe, and was a bit removed from the tourist strip. It was called I "heart" Shanghai.

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