Lorenzo Antinori Pays Tribute to Art of Bartending

May 16, 2023

[Hong Kong, 16 May 2023] One of Hong Kong's most popular figures in hospitality, Lorenzo Antinori is channelling his signature brand of charm and irreverent humour into Bar Leone, a new neighbourhood spot for classic and modern classic cocktails and his first independent venture, located on Bridges Street, in Soho, Hong Kong.  

[Hong Kong, 16 May 2023] One of Hong Kong's most popular figures in hospitality, Lorenzo Antinori is channelling his signature brand of charm and irreverent humour into Bar Leone, a new neighbourhood spot for classic and modern classic cocktails and his first independent venture, located on Bridges Street, in Soho, Hong Kong.  

Bar Leone is heavily influenced by Rome, Italy’s capital, and in particular Trastevere, one of its most historic neighbourhoods, where Lorenzo was raised. The character of Bar Leone is inspired by the spirit of the local, traditional Roman bars that form the cornerstone of the city’s 21 neighbourhoods. Leone - the strong, sovereign lion - was Rome's symbol until the Renaissance, and is still the symbol of Trastevere today.

Previously at the helm of legendary bars including London's Dandelyan and The American Bar at the Savoy, as well as the Four Seasons’ Charles H. (Seoul) and Argo (Hong Kong) - which marked a stunning debut coming in at #3 on the prestigious list of Asia's 50 Best Bars in 2022 and #28 on the World's 50 Best Bars 2022 - Lorenzo has global experience and an insatiable cultural appetite, coupled with an amiable, tongue-in-cheek approach to life.

As Lorenzo explains: "I'm beyond excited to be opening Bar Leone, a bar that celebrates community and the love of classic cocktails, or as we call them, “cocktail popolari”, referring not only to their role in popular culture but also to their approachable DNA and beautiful simplicity. We hope to become a reference point within Hong Kong’s F&B community, but also be known as a neighbourhood bar that you can come back to again and again. Our aim is to create a curated experience which is unapologetically nostalgic, whilst also having a bit of fun.”

Lorenzo continues: “Bar Leone’s beverage program will focus on reviving classic cocktails with a ‘low-intervention’ approach, emphasising craftsmanship, ingredients and seasonality. There's no distillation or machinery, we are taking a step away from the current trends and proudly keeping it simple, allowing guests to fully understand the ingredients that go into a cocktail, without the need of being gimmicky. Quality in simplicity is the hardest thing to achieve! Our hope is that guests will come back for the drinks, but stay for the good service and the neighbourhood vibe we’ve created."

As an example, the house Leone Martini - which Lorenzo identifies as 'the quintessential cocktail' - features Ginepraio gin from Tuscany, Marsala secco, orange blossom, and crowned with a signature olive.

Lorenzo is also very keen to revive the Bellini which will be served in a small tumbler just as at the iconic Harry's Bar in Venice, where it originated. Featuring almond eau de vie and peach, it comes with a fluffy, creamy head which contrasts beautifully with the fruit-forward base.

Collaborative by nature, a dedicated section of the drinks menu will be titled ‘Friends and Fam’, where Lorenzo will highlight partnerships and crossovers with brands and like-minded people from Hong Kong and beyond, encompassing a wide range of industries, from food and beverage producers to charities and artists.

Guests can expect to see collaborations with brands such as Austrian amaro distillery Fernet Hunter, who have created a special release in collaboration with Bar Leone - the Fernet Hunter Cacao - which blends old-world tradition together with new-world innovation, to create something both contemporary and timeless. Proceeds from a cocktail on tap will be donated to different local charities, the first in line being Hong Kong-based F&B charity, More Good Foundation. The tap serve will change throughout the year, with the inaugural selection being Bar Leone’s interpretation of the Apple Martini.

A large mahogany bar takes centrestage, while blinds and church-style candles keep the space warmly lit and intimate. A long ledge with high stools also enables guests to watch the world go by outside, passeggiata style. Interiors feature burnt orange banquettes which channel the signature colour of Rome - in particular Roma Football Club - in addition to a sociable mix of high-top tables and a communal table.

Set to an eclectic soundtrack that celebrates Italian pop culture - from iconic 1970s and 1980s Italo Disco mixed with afrobeat - the Bridges Street walk-in destination that seats 45 will have multiple touchpoints that celebrate Italian popular culture, encompassing art, fashion, music and style. From vintage football shirts to photos of Italian icons, from Popes to B movie actors, the feel is real, fun - but always professional. Staff sporting white jackets and chinos coupled with sneakers are elegant but understated, just as in Italy.

In the spirit of traditional Italian coffee counters, guests can walk in for a quick espresso or an amaro and a chat whilst standing at the bar.

On the food front, Bar Leone promises a nostalgic play on piattini and spuntini, small dishes and snacks shared amongst friends - such as house Smoked Olives; Giardiniera-style Pickles with Parmigiano and a selection of artisanal cold cuts. Lorenzo’s childhood favourite is also present - Roman stuffed pizza with mortadella.

Lorenzo’s hope for Bar Leone is that it will become a popular fixture in Hong Kong's bar scene and a life philosophy that we can all agree with: "Bars in Rome have an irreverent yet genuine hospitality, and at Bar Leone we want to bring this magic to Hong Kong, while also creating a space where simplicity and community is celebrated - because at the end of the day, there’s nothing better than enjoying a good martini or negroni with friends.”


For more information, please contact Companion Communications:

Alex Berry: Alex@companioncommunications.com

June Heung: June@companioncommunications.com

Dominique Backhouse: Dominique@companioncommunications.com

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For factsheet and bio:

About Bar Leone

With a hallmark of warm, friendly service, Bar Leone pays tribute to the art of classic bartending whilst never taking itself too seriously. Imbued with a true Italian spirit, Bar Leone is heavily influenced by Trastevere, the historic Roman neighbourhood where co-founder and bartender Lorenzo Antinori was raised, and traditional bars found in Rome. Bar Leone’s beverage program focuses on reviving classic cocktails with a low-intervention approach, emphasising ingredients, producers and seasonality.  

ADDRESS : G/F, 11-15 Bridges Street, Central, Hong Kong

OPENING HOURS : Tuesday - Friday, 5pm - late; Saturday - Sunday, 3pm - late; Closed Mondays

For more information, visit: www.barleonehk.com ; IG @barleonehk