HONG KONG (June 22, 2017) – Today, Employees Only, the world-renowned speakeasy and restaurant founded in downtown Manhattan in 2004, will open its doors in the epicenter of Hong Kong’s nightlife district, at 19 Lan Kwai Fong, Central. The outlet will be the group’s fourth worldwide location and second in Asia, following the successful openings of EO Singapore in June 2016 (included in Asia’s 50 Best Bars 2017) and EO Miami in February 2017.
Co-founder Igor Hadzismajlovic, a fixture at Employees Only New York for over a decade before taking the brand to Asia, spearheads the project along with his Singapore-based partners and nightlife impresarios Joshua and Sarissa Rodriguez Schwartz, General Manager Rachel Tow (alum of EO Singapore, EO New York, Wallflower, The Breslin, Sunset Beach) and Beverage Director Owen Gibler (formerly of Mother’s Ruin and Pouring Ribbons).
“In continuing the Asian expansion of the Employees Only brand, Hong Kong was a natural and obvious fit. With its role as a global capital of commerce, culture and dining, we’re confident we’ll be able to attract a diverse and discerning audience who will hopefully embrace what we have spent over a decade building and perfecting,” says co-founder Igor Hadzismajlovic, a fixture at Employees Only New York for over a decade before taking the brand to Asia. He again joins forces with Singapore-based nightlife impresarios Joshua and Sarissa Rodriguez Schwartz, along with General Manager Rachel Tow (alum of EO Singapore, EO New York, Wallflower, The Breslin, Sunset Beach and more) and Beverage Director Owen Gibler (formerly of Mother’s Ruin and Pouring Ribbons).
Designed by iThink Consulting Group, Employees Only Hong Kong will be a reiteration of the original in New York City — from the Art Deco-inspired aesthetic and hidden entrance behind the psychic’s lair to the notorious serpentine bar that catalyzes guest interaction. At 3,000 square feet, Employees Only Hong Kong will offer a main dining room in addition to a private dining space that can be curtained off, as well as a “Lovers’ Corner,” an intimate corner booth tucked away in a nondescript nook adjacent to the bar.
Along with Owen Gibler, the world-renowned bar program will be led by several industry heavyweights: Sean Marino (a Keith McNally and Altamarea Group alum who most recently ran the bar program at the award-winning Ristorante Morini), Jameel Frith (formerly of April Bloomfield’s Salvation Taco and Mission Chinese) and international bar trainer Zbigniew “Zibi” Zapert, who has taught hundreds of bartenders under the Diageo Bar Academy and Diageo World Class Program, and is an alum of London’s Soho House and Café Royal.
Employees Only will be one of the few bars in Hong Kong where all bartenders free-pour complex cocktails at speed, showcasing their signature fast and lively style of service. In addition to a selection of their classic offerings, like their signature EO Gimlet, a navy strength gin, shaken with a house made lime cordial with agave and kaffir lime leaves, Ready Fire Aim, a shaken mezcal cocktail with lime juice, honey, pineapple, and a few dashes of hellfire bitters, Daily Daisy, a constantly changing frozen cocktail made with fresh ingredients from the market and a curated collection of herbs and spices, and Hong Kong-inspired cocktails incorporating locally sourced ingredients will be gradually added as well.
A menu of elevated bistro fare with Eastern European influences will also be available, from the kitchen led Chef James Black, formerly of Bo Innovation and Marco Pierre White’s Belvedere in London. The dinner menu, available until midnight, will feature signatures such as Hand-Cut Steak Tartar with Crostini & Mixed Greens Salad, Bone Marrow Poppers with Bordelaise and Pastry Shell, Skate Paprikás, Butterscotch and Mascarpone Cheesecake, and additional daily specials. Additionally, an extensive late night menu from midnight to 3am with dishes such as the Truffled Grilled Cheese Sandwich and the Balkan Burger, an homage to some of the original staff’s Eastern European roots.
For additional information on Employees Only Hong Kong, please visit www.employeesonlyhk.com and follow Employees Only on Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/Employees-Only-Hong-Kong) and Instagram (@employeesonlyhkg).
ABOUT EMPLOYEES ONLY NYC
Employees Only is New York City’s inimitable speakeasy located in the heart of the West Village. Opened in 2004 by five industry friends, the restaurant and bar is driven by an innate inclination for hospitality and a core tenet that one can enjoy flawlessly executed cocktails and delicious, elevated food, served in a beautiful space without pretence. Thirteen years later, this vision remains intact. In addition to a world-class bar program whose acceptance is coveted by aspiring bartenders around the globe, Employees Only has gained a voracious and loyal following for their mysterious, convivial and hospitable ambiance and esteemed New American fare, distinguished by subtle Eastern European touches that pay homage to executive chef Julia Jaksic’s Croatian heritage. The bar has created industry classics out of its pioneering drink list, including their famed twist on the Manhattan, the seasonally adapted Ginger Smash, the Amelia, and countless others. Meanwhile, the kitchen continues to serve dedicated favourites like its Hand Cut Steak Tartare, Bone Marrow Poppers, Skate Paprikás and satisfying late night fare. Reflecting an old-world vibe through its art deco accents like overhead luggage racks and backlit paintings, Employees Only is curiously tucked behind a fortune teller’s lair. Upon arrival past this mysterious foyer, guests revel around a sensual curving bar and throughout an alluring back dining room. Employees Only has been honoured with Spirited Awards for “Best American Bar Team,” “World’s Best Cocktail Bar” and “World’s Best Drinks Selection” by Tales of the Cocktail, as well as the #4 spot on Drinks International’s “World’s 50 Best Bars” list in 2015. For additional information, please visit www.employeesonlynyc.com and follow Employees Only on Facebook (facebook.com/EmployeesOnlyNYC), Twitter (twitter.com/EmployeesOnlyNY) and Instagram (@employeesonlyny).