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PDT by NCDA Is Hong Kong’s New Secret Bar

The allure of the secretive speakeasy bar continues with the Hong Kong outpost of New York’s legendary PDT (Please Don’t Tell).

PDT by NCDA Is Hong Kong’s New Secret Bar

To enter New York’s PDT (Please Don’t Tell) cocktail bar, guests need to be in the know. Accessing it requires them to enter a phone booth within a hot dog joint in the East Village. PDT New York was one of the first contemporary speakeasy bars – an early example of a discovery-laden nightlife experience that has ballooned in popularity in recent years. And now PDT has landed in Hong Kong with a secretive space designed by NC Design and Architecture (NCDA).

Where you ask? Tucked away behind the MO Bar at The Landmark Mandarin Oriental. Explains Nelson Chow, Principal of NCDA, “To enter, make your way through the champagne-sipping crowd at MO Bar and slip discreetly up the staircase where you’ll find the unmarked entrance to your new inner cocktail sanctum cunningly disguised as a vintage telephone booth.”

Step inside and drop a coin in the slot of a vintage 1960s Hong Kong public telephone, and voila – a jade green curtain will rotate to reveal a mirrored door that leads to PDT. Now you know.

PDT Landmark Mandarin Oriental Bar 2 wide

PDT – or maybe do!

PDT Hong Kong is an intimate refuge whose design makes strong reference to its American cousin through material treatment and atmosphere – right down to the inclusion of stuffed creatures on the walls.

Says Chow, “Our design narrative centres on the concept of a tiny attic that doubles as a butler’s quarters with vintage furnishings, a vaulted ceiling, plush leather banquettes and subdued lighting. Think inky black hues and a central polished copper bar perfect for libation mixing and imbibing libations.”

The original New York venue’s distinctive ceiling of timber strips in a herringbone pattern is a key defining ingredient of its interior. For NCDA, echoing that in the constrained Hong Kong space was a significant design challenge. The result is a low, glossy herringbone-patterned ceiling set into wooden beams that run into trusses and columns. The reflective and diagonal arrangement helps to create the illusion of more space.

PDT Landmark Mandarin Oriental Birds

The graphic quality is continued with finishes such as timber floor boards in stripes of alternating light and dark stain; sheets of resin into which hair has been set; and angular edge treatments. Tufted leather banquettes and custom-designed lighting add to the rich mix.

“The décor was inspired by our butler’s storyline,” says Chow. He continues, “He has lovingly reassembled items lost by guests into furniture, fixtures and artworks, including whimsical stuffed creatures sporting elaborate hairstyles and accessories. The mirror-lined phone booth doubles as his dressing room – an intimate space where he can check his appearance before greeting guests.”


Photography by Dennis Lo Designs, courtesy of NCDA.

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