Hope & Sesame


50Best Accolades
  • The Best Bar in Mainland China 2023, sponsored by Naked Malt

Among a grandmother’s parlour of eccentric collectables lies this hidden speakeasy, whose access alone requires a minimum century of MENSA points. Opening in 2016 as the first speakeasy in Guangzhou, it brings far-reaching techniques (centrifugal clarification, sous vide infusions and dry ice distillation) to a bar scene that previously stuck to the traditional.

During the pandemic, the team looked beyond China’s borders and strove to assist the rest of the world with learnings and advice accrued from the bar’s position as one of the first responders to the virus. Its menu, currently in its 14th iteration, draws inspiration from a global selection of condiments to create savoury-tinged libations. From South Korea, look out for Gochu Sour, made with gin, Argentine malbec, cola, strawberry and the Korean staple fermented chilli paste, gochujang. For something a little harder, look to tried-and-tested bar favourite Spicy Not Spicy, made with chilli-infused rum, passion fruit, amaro and lime, that has proved its staying power over the years and numerous menus.