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05/29/14 Ping Pong 129, Hong Kong

Call it a Hong confluence of sorts: the interplay of old and post-modern, a commingling of cultures. So that on a low-key street in the Sai Ying Pun neighborhood, a red door is where you’ll find a Spanish gin bar by way of a former Ping-Pong hall. Along the walls of Ping Pong 129’s high-ceilinged industrial space, art serves up impactful insolence, from an original by graffiti artist King of Kowloon to a barrage of monochrome breasts shot by photographer Paul Yeung.

More potent a statement, however, is the bar’s massive selection of gins. Close to 40 varieties of gin from across the globe are used on a menu of cleverly-concocted G&Ts. Depending on the variety, each gin and tonic is reworked so that garnish, tonic water, and an extra pour of something special emphasizes unique flavor profile.

Once enough cocktails are sipped, the intimate spread of lounge chairs and sofas invites submersion in a crowd of smartly dressed creatives. Amid the neon glow of looming Chinese signage that translates to “Train Your Body,” a jazzy version of “Take a Walk on the Wild Side” spurs another order and bolder social interaction. Heated Ping Pong matches no longer occur here, but some sexy matching-up has taken its place.

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