Time to Stay Close to Home
You’d be forgiven for not knowing the origin of the word ‘staycation’ (even we had to look it up).
Cuisine with Staying Power
Restaurants, they come and go, especially here in Hong Kong where big names and flush PR budgets ensure you hear about every opening but very few closures.
You’d have to live in a hole in the ground not to have recognized the global renaissance that artisanal gin is enjoying at the moment. From gin joints to home bars, this complex and historic spirit is captivating palates and imaginations, with traditional gin recipes given a twist of modernity by inspired distillers who are using new methods and botanicals to create homages to great gins of old.
One of those innovative lads is Alan Colton who, with wife Rebecca, has created one of the most elegant gins to come out of the British Isles in a long while. Givinity gin, which will soon be available on our fair shores, is an ultra-luxurious, handcrafted London Dry Gin styled spirit made in the verdant countryside of Cambridgeshire, outside London. Made with a captivating array of botanicals, including tried-and-tested classics like juniper, coriander and angelica, as well as modern upstarts like rose, Szechuan pepper, lime and mandarin zest, Givinity is produced in small batches and bottled at 40% abv in elegant and sleek crystal decanters with gold accents that will look well smart on your home bar. Although it’s as pure as driven snow (snow laced with alcohol) you’ll probably want to mix this luscious drop with a boutique tonic or a dash of elderflower, served tall to herald in the summer months ahead.
“Beloved, we join hands here to pray for gin. An aridity defiles us. Our innards thirst for the juice of juniper.” — Wallace Thurman, Infants of the Spring
Coming to Asia Soon
Good Things Come Together
Now, we wouldn’t want to stereotype but we think it’s safe to say most guys can count among their passions two easy picks: burgers and live music. Perhaps it’s the fact that these two entirely different things – food and entertainment – satisfy two of our most primal cravings. Maybe it’s the fact that eating a burger in silence is odd and music makes you peckish. Who knows. What we do know is that great live music goes well with a few cold beers and a spot of comfort food, and visa-blissfully-versa. So Hong Kong’s newest pop-up makes manly sense from the get go.
Beats & Liberty by Beef & Liberty is just such a meeting of worlds; a unique pop-up at Soho’s PMQ that promises live music every Friday and Saturday night from 9-11pm, expect everything from groove and hip hop to reggae, rock and funk played by resident DJs, as well as a simple but palate-pleasing menu of signature Beef & Liberty dishes. There are three core burgers – the Bacon and Cheese, the delicious Notorious P.I.G., and the Pump up the Beet for vegetarians – as well as the likes of beef brisket croquettes with kimchi mayo; crispy carrots dipped in Beef & Liberty’s secret batter; and even a pumpkin and lentil salad for those watching their waistline. You can wash down all this goodness with guests draft and bottled craft beers like Black Kite IPA from Hong Kong; Hitachino Lager from Japan; Brew Dog Pale Ale from Scotland; and Longboard Lager from Hawaii.
There’s a reason food rhymes with mood.
Beats & Liberty
Sunday to Thursday 12:00pm-9:00pm; Friday to Saturday 12:00pm-11:00pm;
Block A PMQ 35 Aberdeen Street, Central.
Isn’t it Time for a Staycation?
Hong Kong has a lot going for it, of that we're sure. There's great food, great entertainment, and plenty of convenience.
The Queen of Sound
Any DJ worth their salt knows how to keep the beats going and the bodies moving, but Manila-based Arra Pascual takes things to the next level with great looks and smooth beats to boot. In the latest of our odes to the Women of NC, we talk with this deck diva about her passion for music, the party scene in Manila, as the best cures for a spot of overindulgence.
Why did you change from a singer-songwriter to a DJ? Do you still write your own music?
Coming from a country where everyone in the street can basically sing, I found DJing a more unique thing to do and it differentiated me from everyone else. I get to perform songs I insanely love without stressing my vocal chords. I still sing off the record, express my emotions and write music; I’m just not earning from it at the moment.
Do you arrange a playlist for your set? How much influence can the crowd have
I get selfish in my sets sometimes. When I like a new song, it gets played no matter what. The crowd always wins though; I’m a pleaser and I always want the crowd to enjoy.
Are your good looks adventitious?
I still think I’m the biggest DJ dork you will ever come across but thanks for the compliment. Looks don’t matter much in DJing but they’re definitely a bonus; DJs need to rock a room, not look cute or beautiful. My field is not a beauty pageant or a boob competition. It’s a tough job that’s harder than it looks.
You’re the Philippines Brand Ambassador for Pioneer DJ; how dis that affiliation influence your career?
After Pioneer DJ Philippines found me, my bookings exploded. It was a bit overwhelming at first; there were already a few established female DJs in the country and yet they chose me. Credibility wise they really gave me the kick-start that all new DJs would hope for.
Manila doesn’t exactly have a clubbing rep, is that fair?
I respect everyone’s opinion of clubbing in Manila but I’ll always be biased towards this place because this is my home, my comfort zone. The clubbing scene here is very laid back; drinks and VIP partying are inexpensive. Simply put, you cannot expect a top-notch service by paying a small amount of money, even when it’s the best that we have. The Philippines is still a developing country but lots of improvements are coming.
Where does the city’s beautiful congregate?
The Palace Manila in Taguig; it’s an entertainment complex where you can hop around four
establishments that are right next to each other. You can also head to City of Dreams Manila in Parañaque, where the club and lounge is one floor up from a casino, or The Fort Strip in Bonifacio Global City, a cosy area for clubbing or hanging out at a pub for a quiet night.
Where should I stay to get close to the action?
Stay in Seda Bonifacio Global City hotel, from which you can explore the newly built side of Manila; it’s close to malls, restaurants and most importantly, clubs.
We overindulged last night and now need to recover. What do you suggest?
If “hair of the dog” is your hangover philosophy then you should head over to Skye, the city’s premium roofdeck lounge, or The Palace Pool Club for cocktails. Both places are in The Fort. If you can barely stand, stay in your hotel, order room service and hydrate, hydrate, and hydrate! See if the concierge can get you some Bulalo (Filipino beef broth soup), which can help you recover and get ready for another day of overindulgence.
If we’re looking for a relatively quiet spot for a nice beer with new found friends, where should we go?
There are lots of pubs in Manila but most of the venues play heavy club music even if it’s a small bar. I think we Asians in general prefer that. If you want a quiet night, always leave before 10pm as it gets pretty loud after that. You can try The Keg in Makati; The Reserve Liquor Lounge; or the Moonshine Pub in Ortigas. Alternatively there is The Brewery at The Palace; Tipsy Pig; Skye in The Fort; or Cable Car in Quezon City.
Where should we go for an authentic taste of local cuisine?
You can go to The Singing Cooks and Waiters on Roxas Boulevard, or Sisig Society in Eastwood City, Quezon City. Try adobo, sisig, kilawin, sinuglaw, bulalo and sinigang, or ask the restaurant for their best seller!
Time to Play Darwin
Remember when you studied evolution at high school? It all seemed fairly straight forward – animals change to suit their environment, and those most willing to adapt would survive.
Time for a Great Escape
You may not realize it now, but every modern gent needs an escape destination, a man-centric locale, sans judgement, for those debaucherous nights of ultimate entertainment. Los Angeles has Vegas and New York has the bright lights of Atlantic City, places where normal social norms need not apply, where the champagne flows like water, where the party doesn’t stop till you do, and where lads can enjoy themselves without wondering which of their lady’s gossipy friends they’ll bump into mid-crawl. Here in Hong Kong we’re fortunate enough to have Macau within stone’s throw and the pint-sized casino city rarely fails, especially when it comes to its clubbing scene, which makes up in clout what it lacks in diversity.
That diversity is about to take a step in the right direction with Pacha, the first Asia outpost of the world’s largest nightclub brand, set to open at Studio City recently. Pacha has been helping fellas paint the town red since it opened in the Spanish beach town of Sitges in 1967 and now boasts hotels, yachts, a magazine and its own music festival. As the first ever North American-managed nightclub in the city, as well as its biggest, Pacha Macau will cater to 3,000 revellers across its 1,000sqft dance floor and its expansive patio, bringing a sense of Ibizan style to the Cotai Strip. Expect cutting edge audio visual technology, a truly VIP bottle service, a clientele that boasts the best curves this side of Gangdam, and a roster of the best international DJs winging their way to our very own escape destination.
Start crafting your excuses for a night in the Vegas of the East now.
Studio City, Macau
Time for Sexy Sounds
According to Sir Francis Bacon, “knowledge is power”, and we couldn’t agree more. Today’s gentleman needs to be on his A game at all times, especially when it comes to passions we share with the fairer sex. Whereas once it was enough for a bloke to just rock up, throw out a few twangy 1950s lines, and let slip his ink in order to pull like an overworked angler, today men need to be jacks of all trades, even if they’re masters of none.
You’ll quickly learn a thing or two at The First Floor by Lifestyle Federation, an innovative culinary concept and a first for Hong Kong. Although it sounds like a church for people with bathmophobia – yes, that’s a fear of stairs – it’s actually part private dining club located at the heart of Central, part cooking school, and part he-hideout. The First Floor is centered on the idea of edutainment, blending education on everything from fine wines and craft beers to artesian cheeses, with a contemporary dining experience. You might want to pop in at lunch or dinner for a touch of the restaurant’s contemporary continental cuisine, laced with ingredients imported from the world’s four corners by Lifestyle Federation. Alternatively, set up shop in the cigar lounge, with its extensive boutique whisky list and humidors packed with Cuban beauties; or sign up for one of their culinary events, cooking demonstrations, workshops or tastings, truly the ultimate grazing grounds for men of leisure.
Who knew learning could be so much fun.
The First Floor by Lifestyle Federation
1F Baskerville House,
13 Duddell Street,
Tel: 2840 0032;
Time for Sexy Sounds
It’s one thing to have a massive sound system, with enough amperage to knock the walls down in a fiberglass instillation factory, but all that power can be space-consuming, not to mention a little redundant in Hong Kong’s tiny shoebox apartments. What you need is a sound system that weighs in with more style than raw speaker power; a sophisticated item that extends your own debonair image to any that might venture into your he-lair.
Manhattan leather lotharios Coach has teamed up with retro sound gurus Tivoli to wrap the company’s iconic Bleeker Bluetooth radio in leather as supple as your first time round second base. As much a collector’s item as it is a bedroom or study essential, the radio is completely mobile, and is as happy perched above your wet bar as it is at a rooftop BBQ. Powerful speakers ensure you’re not compromising on sound quality in the name of style, and there is a sensitive AM/FM analog tuner, as well as auxiliary input and stereo headphone output, 2.5-inch drivers and an environmentally-friendly NiMH battery.
It’s time to have nice things.
Coach x Tivoli Bleecker Leather Bluetooth Radio
The Lady of La La Land
Tinsletown’s no stranger to starlets searching for stardom under the California sun. In the first of our new series of Women of NC profiles, NecesCity speaks with Asian-American MMA fighter-turned-singer and model Julie Real about her newly released single, her passion for music, and what she loves so much about her adopted home of Los Angeles.
What was the inspiration behind your new single?
My latest song is called Identity. This song is close to my heart. My producer Jordan Porter helped me write it, and the song speaks to us both in different ways. When we wrote it, we were both going through an identity crisis of sorts.
I started singing since I was nine but due to my traditional Asian upbringing, my music career was discouraged, and to please my parents I always did things that I didn’t like. After seeing how unhappy I was, my parents told me to chase my dreams. It was a disheartening decision to choose between mixed martial arts (MMA) and music, but two months ago I decided to stop competing in MMA, realising that if I don’t give a hundred percent to music, I won’t forgive myself. It has taken years to realise I just need to be myself and that is how this song Identity came about.
How would you describe your music?
My music taste is diverse and I grew up listening to all genres. Most of my songs are within the genres of R&B, neo-soul and pop as these allow me to use the singing techniques that I love, such as singing runs, riffs, and belting. I honestly can't compare myself to anyone in particular; my songs are all very different. Some of them sound like Keyshia Cole or K. Michelle, while others sound like Carly Rae Jepsen. All my music is based on my feeling and life story.
Where does your passion come from?
My passion for music has always been there. I remember I was in a pre-school choir and loved to sing. Even though my English was horrible at that time, I'd still sing at the top of my lungs. I love the act of singing and the feeling each note gives you.
How’s the music scene in America? How hard is it to get signed?
It's corrupted and political but I'm sure it’s the same in many other countries. As of now, I am independent. The music industry is very competitive and if it was easy, everyone would do it. There are many labels out there, but only a few big names.
What are the three things we shouldn’t miss in Los Angeles?
The Runyon Canyon Trail, which is a popular hiking spot for celebrities and offers a great view of the city; and Melrose Avenue, a famous spot for shopping that all visitors should check out at least once. Also, there’s an extensive range of restaurants, music venues and bars on Sunset Boulevard that you have to try.
Where do you usually hang out?
You’ll find me at my gym, Blackhouse MMA. It's nice to get some training and to see all my teammates and friends. Other than that, I like hiking, trying new restaurants, and exploring different parts of LA.
Where should we check-in if we want to be close to the action?
I'd say anywhere near Sunset Boulevard in Hollywood.
What about grabbing a bite?
For fine dining, you should go to Spago, which is located in Beverly Hills. They have very good Wagyu steaks with potatoes on the side. If you are craving comfort food, I suggest the chain restaurant Roscoe's House of Chicken and Waffles.
Where do we find the beautiful women of LA?
You can try the 1 Oak on Sunset Boulevard. Though I’ve never been, it has a good reputation. Another hotspot is called Exchange on S. Spring Street, perfect for people who’re into EDM music. But honestly, there are hot girls everywhere in LA. This is the only place I've been to in the US where there is an abundance of beautiful people.
If we were planning a bachelor party in Los Angeles, where should I start?
Strip clubs are popular here. I've heard from my male friends that Dames n’ Games – a topless sports bar and strip club - is the place to go first, and you can end your night at Spearmint Rhino on Olympic Boulevard.
If we feel peckish at 2am, where can we fuel up?
I'd say go to Alhambra and the Monterey Park area as they always have great food there till late, or you can head to Mel's Diner if you're in the Hollywood area.
If we’re going to LA during summer, where can we cool off in style?
Malibu beach! You can go there anytime besides winter months as it's almost always sunny in California.
Sake for the Club
This might be news to you, but sake has been enjoyed in Japan for over 2,000 years (although rice wine has been distilled by the Chinese for twice that long).
Sake for the Club
You might not realize it but bottle service can trace its origins to wartime Japan, when ewers of sake were served to seated soldiers.
Ahoy Me Hearty
Cast back, if you will, to a time of innocence, when you were just a little lad.
A Spiritual Recharge
Hong Kong can do things to a man, and while some are delectable, tantalizing and downright sinful, not all of them are good for the soul.
Late Night Revelry
Hong Kong’s nocturnal offerings are region-leading – we’re sure you’ll agree there’s never a shortage of new restaurants, clubs or watering holes – but one thing we’ve never really grasped as a city intent on heading out after dark, is the supper club.
The Godfather of Groove
On the eve of Pacha Macau, the first of the famous clubbing brand’s venues in Asia, opening at Studio City, NecesCity speaks with legendary club boss Eddie Dean about changing trends, the emerging club scene in Asia, and the end of an era in New York.
Drone technology has come a long way in a short while and today there are hundreds of thousands of publically and privately owned drones flying the friendly skies above us.
The Northwest Passage, which connects the northern Atlantic and the Pacific through the Canadian Arctic Ocean, remains one of the world’s most remote and least explored locales.
We Can All Do With a Dose
Throughout history working men have sought clarity; ancient Chinese practitioners manipulated pressure points to ensure they stayed awake in the royal court and aboriginal tribes would do breathing sessions before night hunts in order to stay alert. When the jittering effects of a good cup of coffee were discovered, the world pulled an all-nighter that lasted more than a century. Somewhere along the way amphetamines are first synthesized, with depression-era doctors prescribing the new drugs for everything from obesity to nasal congestion. During WWII meth was laced into chocolate and given to bomber pilots to help them sustain long sorties but was phased out after a few became more strung out than a fiber optics cable.
Rather than hosting the first meth lab fire in Mid Levels’ history, modern gents looking for a pick me up that’s more about berries than bull semen might want to try Clarity Smart Energy, a new pint-sized solution for the sleepies. An energy shot that has little to do with the sugar-laden energy drinks that dominate the shelves of convenience stores across the city, Clarity is made in New Zealand (a country where the inattentive are regularly and randomly tackled) and is blessedly free of sugar, artificial flavours, colours or preservatives. Its low-calorie, vitamin-enriched formula offers a natural caffeine solution in acai or lemon and lime that’s great as a hangover or jetlag cure, a preventative measure or even as a cocktail mixer if you fancy a ride of the stimulant seesaw.
Just remember what goes up must come down.
Clarity Smart Energy
Available at leading health shops, clubs and spas including Gigasports, Epic and
Rekindle the Romance
According to feminist author and academic Carolyn Gold Geilbrun, “romance is the glamour which turns the dust of everyday life into a golden haze.” That’s deep. Whether you’re a poet or a scientist, there's no debating the powers of the heart, but even the most intense romance needs fuel, and few things get the pupils dilating, the lips licked or the hair played with quite like a romantic picnic under a canopy of stars (just pretend they’re not in-bound Cathay flights). Yes, we hear you: it’s a lot of work putting together a picnic fit for a queen, and that’s where your saving grace comes in.
Down in Kennedy Town, Picnic on Forbes, the third eatery by moody culinary genius Philippe Orrico (he of Upper Modern Bistro success), has opened. In addition to a spacious, vibrant neighbourhood bistro designed by Tim Shepherd of Two Men in Hats, Picnic on Forbes creates bespoke picnic baskets for Lotharios on the go. You can choose one of the restaurant’s picnic basket packages, which start from HK$298, or pick your own wicker wonder and choose from a selection of amour-inspired accoutrement, from traditional crudité and French roasterie chickens to sumptuous cheeses from Jeremy Evrard, a wine list by Nicolas Deneux, and a collection of seductive desserts guaranteed to have the same effect on your lady love as snorting flibanserin (it’s worth a Google). You can even order a signature highball by mixology guru Giancarlo Mancino while you wait for your picnic to be constructed by the culinary team. Then all you have to do is pick a secluded spot, exaggerate how difficult it was to compile such a feast, and reap the many, many rewards of a job well done.
After all, there are many paths to ecstasy.
Picnic on Forbes
Picnic baskets from HK$298
38 Forbes Street,
Tel: 2855 0810;
Time for Some Southern Innovation
Southern cuisine sometimes gets a bad rap. Sure, it’s not always the healthiest, but it’s wholesome, simplistic home cooking that’s ideal for fending off winter’s last passata sotto.
Indecisiveness is an attribute we often identify with the fairer sex; we’ve all done dressing room jury duty; we’ve all walked at a snail’s pace down Pottinger Lane thanks to a pair of 15-inch Louboutins; and most of us have spent the first part of a night on the couch channel surfing and waiting for our significant others to pick an outfit.
Ok, so we’ve collectively come to the realization that not all coolers are created equal.
Here We Go Again
It’s that time of year again, when you get bent over the barrel by consumerism in the name of romance. But let’s face it, home-made cards and pop-tart breakfasts in bed only work in the movies; there are expectations to manage and El Nino-sized sexual droughts to avoid, so gently, gently gents. Fortunately, NecesCity, your digital wingman, has done some of the thinking for you.
So you’re rebuilding your home bar after it was violated by those you hold dearest over the festive season.
Bringing Floats Back
This might have slipped the nets of your passion for trivia but did you know the ice cream float was created by Robert McCay Green in Philadelphia in 1874?
Time to Clean Up
For those of you who might not have spent much time in the Land of the Rising Sun, an onsen is a Japanese hot spring.
Cool Has a New Home
Japanese cuisine has come a long way in Hong Kong, which is just as well.
Keep Your Cool
Man has longed for warm nights and cold drinks for as long as we’ve had fire and rivers within proximity. The irony is that the hotter the weather the harder it is to keep your beverages cool, which is why some of mankind’s greatest minds have tasked themselves through history, not with curing cancer or exploring the cosmos, but with innovating on the eskie and other chilling appareil. Wine buckets were the obvious choice as far back as the 1700s – there is even a priceless antique item from 1753 in the MET – but they weren’t particularly portable and you still needed ice in the first place.
The wine bags by Hong Kong’s own Joy Vino are just the ticket for keeping your wine, or any other liquid, cool on those first-of-the-season junk jaunts. Fill the disposal bags with your wine or perhaps a craft cocktail, and stick it in the fridge until you’re ready to make for Pier 9. Then wedge it into its own cooler cover, which is akin to a wetsuit, and it will stay chilled all day long. It even comes with a handy hook so mother gravity is always at hand to help that health-giving nectar reach from in-built tap to your waiting palate, and afterwards simply fold and toss it into your waiting beach bag.
Wine Bags by Joy Vino