Named after a Polynesian greeting meaning “kiss kiss”, Honi Honi Cocktail Lounge is a veritable haven of elegance and design, serving up fresh cocktails concocted by seasoned drink connoisseur and partner Max Traverse. Here, the vision is to create an establishment to match Max’s unique style and sophisticated service, bringing back a time when a bartender could concoct exactly the right tipple for clientele he would know by name.
In addition to what is arguably the most expansive list of rums ever seen, the menu includes the usual tiki suspects sure to make “father of Tiki” Don the Beachcomber proud, as well as many novel creations such as the Maori Spring Punch, or Max’s personal favourite, Honi Honi Kiss.
Honi Honi boasts a highly detailed aesthetic and finely balanced design consisting of classic Polynesian elements, generous use of color and patterns, and architectural creations of timber and bamboo. With the terrace adorned lush greenery and sculpted furniture, it is the perfect space to kick back and relax to live grooves by day and party among Hong Kong’s vibrant revelers by night - truly an escape at the heart of the city.
Max Traverse is a veteran in the highend cocktail scene with over 18 years of experience at destinations in Hong Kong, France and England. Coming to Hong Kong in 2012, Max spearheaded the opening of Le Boudoir and was Bar Manager there for a few years. Later in the summer of 2012, Max created the first tiki bar in Hong Kong that strictly adheres to his high standard of hospitality and service: Honi Honi Tiki Cocktail Lounge.
Honi Honi quickly earned the reputation as one of Hong Kong’s favourite and most popular drinking destinations. Recently winning 29th place in Asia’s Best 50 Bars 2016, Best Team in The Bar Awards Hong Kong 2016, it was named a “Bar to Watch” by The World’s 50 Best Bars in 2013 and Sassy’s “Favourite Girls Night Out” 2014 and 2015, HKClubbing’s Best Bar in Hong Kong 2015 and the #1 Best Tiki Bar in 2015 by The Spirits Business, among others for the past five years.
Known as “The Word on Rum” in Hong Kong, Max brought the first Hong Kong Rum Festival to Asia and it is in its current fourth year. Each year the festival brings together world renowned connoisseurs and rum brand ambassadors to share their experiences, partake in rum and grow the local love and the knowledge of rum in Asia.
Recognizing the growing bar scene trends in Wan Chai and riding on the local popularity and success of Honi Honi, he set out to push the tiki concept further with the invention of “tiki chic” thus creating Mahalo Tiki Lounge. As an upscale Polynesian tiki bar and lounge, located in the Penthouse of QRE Plaza. Mahalo’s retro tiki vibe of the 1970s is juxtaposed against an island escape set amongst the sweeping panoramic views of Hong Kong island.
Utilizing his extensive international experience, Max began his hospitality career serving European royalty and celebrities at top five star establishments including Trianon Palace (Versailles, France), The Village Montana (Tignes, France), Golf Plaza (Ste Maxime, France) and the renowned Miramar Beach Hotel (Cannes, France).
His passion for mixing drinks brought him to London, then a burgeoning capital of cocktail innovation and the original birthplace of lounge culture. He continued to hone his skills and penchant for combining interesting flavours at some of the city’s most esteemed venues – Monte’s Club, The Library Bar (Lanesborough Hotel), The Cuckoo Club (Piccadilly) and the Hoxton Pony, to name but a few.
Throughout his career, Max has been continually evolving his career by participating in international mixology competitions. Proud moments have included placing top ten out of several tens of thousands in the Stolichnaya Vodka Cocktail Competition in 2007 and representing Greater China in the Angostura Global Cocktail Contest in 2012.
In 1934, Don the Beachcomber opened a Polynesian themed restaurant in Hollywood serving tropical rum punches and exotic cuisine with décor featuring carved Tiki masks, flaming torches, flower leis and bright fabrics. Thus began Tiki, spreading like wildfire into music and cinema, particularly after American soldiers brought home stories and souvenirs from Oceania in 1945. Maybe Tiki is a way for modern man to forget his woes amongst misty rum drinks. Maybe it provides a connection to man’s inner tribal roots. What’s certain is Tiki is back and its long storied history will continue here at the Honi Honi Cocktail Lounge.