Macau does a lot of things well. And it does drinking very well indeed. This is partly due to the Portuguese influence, as the former colonial ruler imported a fondness for wine as well as Mediterranean food, so nowadays few respectable hotels or restaurants lack a well-stocked cellar. And the city’s international vibe means that a pub crawl could embrace anything from Japanese sake to the merriest beers brewed in Ireland. Here are my suggestions on cool bars to get your fill of Macau nightlife.
Starting at the very top – Sky 21 is as much drone as it is cocktail bar, perched atop a downtown skyscraper, with views from its roof deck out over both city and sea.
As might be expected, the crowd here is pretty flash, and gets pretty wild towards the early hours of the morning. You’ll get to experience Macau nightlife at its best.
2-Macallan Whisky Bar & Lounge
From the dizzy heights of downtown, to one of the most intimate bars in the city: The Macallan Whisky Bar & Lounge.
Take your time choosing – there are 400 different malts from all over the world on offer, dispensed in a clubby atmosphere that’s formal, discreet and wholly enjoyable. Enjoy the Macau nightlife with a Scottish twist.
Similarly classy, Bar Azul is often cited by repeat guests as one of their main reasons for staying at Four Seasons: Bombay Sapphire gin is given a bit of a marketing push here – not that anyone is objecting.
4-McSorley’s Old Ale House
From the sublime to the hilarious: McSorley’s is typical of all those Irish bars that dot the global map like bus stops.
It’s set within The Venetian, but retains a distinctive, free-booting air, with all the traditional beverages (and of course food) on tap.
5-Old Taipa Tavern
Macau’s other standout pub is the Old Taipa Tavern, set in the heart of Taipa village and very much an expat local, a world away from the glitz and glamour of the casinos and high-end malls.
Sit outside here, or prop up the bar with a pint, and it doesn’t take long for lunchtime to merge into supper, or aperitifs to transform themselves into nightcaps.
One of Macau’s most intriguing watering holes occupies pride of place in the Mandarin Oriental Hotel. Vida Rica sports three bars, serving champagne and cocktails – the Millionaire’s Mojito embraces rum, cane sugar and fresh lime and mint – as well as tapas.
The design is crisp and modern, with the soaring ceilings complemented by windows overlooking the harbour.
This is the ideal place to entertain (the hotel’s restaurant is right next door), celebrate, or simply to kick back and revel in the very best service and deliciously fused alcoholic beverages that the city has to offer. In my book, this is one of coolest of the cool bars in Macau.
Finally, what is perhaps Macau’s most discreet drinking haunt has secured a niche for itself at the top of the Altira Hotel on Taipa.
Called 38 Lounge – a traditionally lucky combination of numerals – it’s a blend of indoors and out, with a house band and a resident DJ, all sorts of enticing cocktails, and a fun ambience that pulls in a young crowd intent on having fun.
The lounge opens late afternoon, but has no set closing time: it’s very much a case of “last man standing.”
In Chinese culture, the number eight is condered to bring untold wealth and good fortune. So in recognition of this, we’re looking for one more bar. If you have a suggestion, please leave a comment below and we might add your suggestion to our list.
Ed Peters is a freelance writer who lives in Hong Kong
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