Employees Only started out as a casual New York speakeasy in 2004, but became a bar that many aspire to over a decade later. At the time, five bartenders wanted to have a hospitable, late night venue that offered world class drinks and some tasty, ethnic flavored eats. Yet lo and behold, the awards and acclaim kept coming: everything from “World’s Best 50 Bars” and “World’s Best Drinks Selection” to simply, “World’s Best Cocktail Bar” (it doesn’t get any better then that!). At one point, it was determined that the bar was the highest grossing cocktail bar per square foot in the States (with the astounding figure that the bartenders were making 138,000 cocktails per year in its 1,600 square foot venue).

With success comes expansion. Singapore was first, as core team members opened there last June. Now, it’s Hong Kong’s turn, which would seem to be more of a natural fit for a New York styled bar of this nature. While the venue has quite a ways to go before opening next month in Lan Kwai Fong, co-founder Igor Hadzismajlovic and head bartender Joshua Schwartz are confident that our city will embrace a bar of this nature. “We chose Hong Kong for many reasons,” says Schwartz. “Not only does it have a dynamic food, restaurant and nightlife scene, but the energy is something we have always loved and had one day dreamed to be a part of. We feel Employees Only is the great first step to achieving this and it is a product that Hong Kong will love and appreciate.”

There will be a preview of sorts at Salon No. 10 on May 22nd, where cocktail lovers can expect to try tried and true favorites like the Manhattan, the Ginger Smash and the Amelia. These are classic cocktails for a bar’s bar. No gimmicks. No trickery. Just quality, comfort and the type of place you would want to return to again and again.

Then in June, it’s game on for Employees Only in Hong Kong. “Employees Only has always been a place where the food is good, drinks are fast and service is friendly,” says Hadzismajlovic. “While each location has idiosyncracies unique to their cities, our Hong Kong outpost will retain our core philosophies.”

Employees Only will be located at 17-22 Lan Kwai Fong, Central