PLEASE DON'T TELL
18 Jan 2016 By David Fuhrmann-Lim
The pop-up bar is called Please Don’t Tell, and we were flown to Hong Kong to experience it and to expressedly tell you about it. Psssst, you’re welcome. (And yes, Jim Meehan is involved in it).
To the Singapore bartenders who went with me to Hong Kong for the ‘Please Don’t Tell’ pop-up, Jim Meehan is something of a rock star. (Kinda how I – as a Man Utd fan – rate Eric Cantona). This larger-than-life bar guy (host, consultant, innovator, hell of a bartender) was in HK for the aforementioned pop-up, which is a replica of his own Please Don’t Tell (the legendary New York speakeasy named World’s Best Bar at Tales of the Cocktail in 2009, and again in 2011 by The World’s Top 50 Best Bars poll), right down to the taxidermy on the walls, and the secret telephone booth entrance. Do not change into your Superman costume here, it’s secret but still visible.
The only discernable diff? PDT HK sits 25 people, the original drinking hole hosts 40 – and with a no-standing policy to boot, which was why reservations here were pretty much stacked till the end of January, when the pop-up party ends (hey, we’ll always have New York).
The Hong Kong designer said, “if you really want a dead bear, we’ll ‘get’ you a dead bear,” but the organisers wisely declined. They made do with a stag.
This idea for the pop-up started with Martin Newell, from Diageo Reserve, and like all great ideas, took a long time to realise: “Supported by the world’s biggest bartender competition, World Class aims to elevate the drinking experience of consumers by training and inspiring bartenders around the world and working together with bars, restaurants and hotels to elevate and foster a fine drinking cocktail culture. By bringing PDT to Hong Kong, we are giving local bartenders and consumers alike an opportunity to experience a truly unique drinking experience.”
Almost a year later, after working through the holiday season, the bar finally opened in Hong Kong on January 5th.
Re: the dogs. Concealed behind a vintage phone booth in an East Village hot dog stand, PDT is a beloved industry hangout of renown chefs including Daniel Humm, David Chang and Wylie Dufresne, who have all created hot dogs for the speakeasy’s exclusive menu.
Likewise, you’ll have to enter PDT HK through a telephone booth upstairs at MO Bar, at the Landmark Mandarin Oriental. The hot dog concept is being imported as well, where Chef Richard Ekkebus of the hotel gathered Hong Kong’s most creative chefs (including Matt Abergel of Yardbird; Jowett Yu of Ho Lee Fook; Alvin Leung of BO Innovation) to create Asian style hot dogs for PDT HK – with proceeds from each hot dog sale going to charity.
And of course chef Ekkebus couldn’t resist adding: “We’ve been comparing weiners all week, and there is no weiner.” Except for the charities.
One of my favourites is Lucky Plum, created by Jeff Bell (background), a refreshing mix of Bulleit Rye Whiskey, Campari, Sweet Vermouth, plum sauce and kumquat.
PDT HK will serve only 12 cocktails, six specially made for the month-long pop-up, and six favourites from the NY menu, including the best seller Benton’s Old Fashioned prepared with Benton’s bacon infused Bulleit Bourbon, bitters and maple syrup (love love love, it’s exquisitely balanced); the Cardinal, a refreshing aperitif mixed with Tanqueray No. Ten gin, Casoni aperitivo, Italian sweet vermouth and a splash of grapefruit and lemon juice; and the 1-2 Punch, a Singleton of Glen Ord–based Shandy with lemon & grapefruit juice, citrus oleo-saccharum and crisp local lager.
Jim Meehan will serve behind the bar, together with his NYC cohorts Jeff Bell, current general manager of PDT and World Class USA Bartender of the Year 2013, and veteran PDT bartender Nick Brown.
Yes, as mentioned, Meehan will be behind the bar as well. In between mixing cocktails he signed books for punters and managed a few questions with us (the Parched interview will be up soon). If you’re in Hong Kong in January, do pop in to the pop-up. We’re told you might get lucky if you call on the day for reservations. We got more than lucky, we got autographs too.
PDT HK is inside MO Bar at the Landmark Mandarin Oriental, it will be open from 5pm to 1230am Tuesday to Saturday until January 30, 2016. For reservations at PDT please contact MO Bar by phone: 2132 0077 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org