PENICILLIN, the first bar in HK to champion a closed-loop model opens in Central


10th November 2020 – (Hong Kong) PENICILLIN, the newest brainchild of bar veterans Agung Prabowo and Roman Ghale, has now soft-open on the Lower Ground floor of 23 Hollywood Road, Central, Hong Kong. The legendary duo is joined by fellow co-founders Laura PrabowoKaty Ghale, and leading creative force Betty Ng of Hong Kong-based architectural firm, COLLECTIVE.

Inspired by the farm-to-bar movement taking the culinary world by storm, PENICILLIN is Hong Kong’s first sustainable bar that champions a closed-loop model of production. With a focus on either locally sourced or up-cycled food and drink ingredients, PENICILLIN’s bar menu finds innovation in the true flavours of Hong Kong while constantly looking for ways to minimize carbon footprint.

The origins of PENICILLIN

Named after the group of mould-derived antibiotics discovered by Alexander Fleming in the 1940’s, penicillin was truly one of the greatest breakthroughs in therapeutic medicine. Its chance discovery and introduction gave way to effective treatments for all kinds of deadly infections and changed the course of medicine. As with the inspiring story behind the discovery of penicillin, PENICILLIN bar undertakes scientific research, experimentation, and multiple trials and errors to achieve sustainability breakthroughs in the waste-heavy food & beverage industry – portrayed by the installation of The Penicillin Lab and The Fermentation Chamber by COLLECTIVE. 

“Penicillin” is also recognized by the bar community as a cocktail created by New York bartender Sam Ross in 2005, comprising a soothing concoction of honey, lemon juice, fresh ginger and a good dose of scotch whisky. Named after the healing properties of the penicillin antibiotic, the cocktail is touted as a sure-fire cure-all, and some of the drinks at Penicillin Bar take inspiration from Ross’ heady invention.


After countless experiments and trials-and-errors, PENICILLIN is proud to debut its cocktail menu –the first in Hong Kong with a fully closed-loop creation process. With a focus on conserving energy, minimizing pollution, and tapping a network of local producers to explore the various aspects of Hong Kong culture, PENICILLIN offers a completely new and sustainable bar-going experience like no other.

PENICILLIN proudly partners with ecoSPIRITS (eS), the world’s first closed loop spirits technology that strives to eliminate single-use glass bottles and dramatically reduce carbon impact. Guests will be pleased to know that each PENICILLIN cocktail accompanied by the “eS” logo saves an average of 150g in CO2 emissions.

The PENICILLIN cocktail menu, “YOU GOTTA SUSTAIN IT” is headlined by its star cocktail, One Penicillin, One Tree (HK$110). With every order of this climate-positive cocktail that would make even Sir David Attenborough proud, one native tree is planted in the endangered Kalimantan rainforest in Borneo, Indonesia. Over its lifespan in the rainforest, one Mallotus Muticus will eliminate an astounding 4,400 kg of CO2, equivalent to 8,000 single-use glass spirit bottles. PENICILLIN’s reforestation work is in partnership with ecoSPIRITS and Green Steps Group, which provides verified proof of planting technology to ensure reforestation is sustainable and long-lasting.

The cocktail menu continues with “THE PENICILLINS”, a section inspired by the Penicillin cocktail created in 2005 by New York bartender Sam Ross of Milk & Honey. Modern and signature interpretations of this classic cocktail include Something Clear (HK$90) infused with goat milk whiskey, clarified citrus, ginger honey wine, and smoky flame; Foraged and Found (HK$90), a delightfully herbaceous cocktail created with freshly foraged Hong Kong ingredients such as wild oregano and gooseberry; and Smoked & Malt (HK$90), made with buttered eS rum, ginger and lemongrass soda, malt rice, local citrus, and savoury smoked bacon.

“ON-AND-OFF” features seasonally changing cocktails that are inspired by Hong Kong’s local farmers, while re-using, recycling, and up-cycling ingredients to their fullest potential. Signature cocktails include Pick Me Up (HK$90) with eS tequila, chef’s pickles, adjusted lime juice, cassava milk, and Chiu Chow-style chilli oil; A Far End (HK$90) with Hong Kong tea rum, taro cordial, egg and crystalized honey, and local citrus; and Modernist Science (HK$90) infused with bread vodka, fermented koji-pineapple, and cheddar cheese liqueur.

A quirky aspect of PENICILLIN is its flair for fermenting unique and often strange ingredients, resulting in delectable flavour combinations under “ORGANIC FERMENTS”. Bursting with live bacteria and healthy for the gut, highlights include Red Cabbage & Passionfruit (HK$90) featuring a concoction of red cabbage, passionfruit vinegar, and apple fermented for 7 days; Guava & Baby Carrot (HK$90) with local guava, carrot, and green tea fermented for 5 days; and Purple Kohlrabi & Honey (HK$90) created with orange, kohlrabi, melon, and honey fermented for 6 days.


“LAB FOOD” was created out of the effort to reuse and recycle cocktail ingredients that would otherwise go to waste. The seasonal bar food is almost all locally sourced and makes for a perfect complementing bite to pair with the cocktails. Signature bar dishes include Ultrasonic Fries (HK$78) infused in an ultrasonic chamber, dusted with shichimi togarashi spice, and dipped in lemongrass mayo; Koji Fried Chicken (KFC) (HK$108) shio koji-fermented juicy chicken with local mushrooms and yuzu-kosho mayo, Crispy Fish Taco (HK$98) with cornmeal-fried snapper, red cabbage, fermented chilli, and local citrus; and finally, The Lucky Pig (HK$238 for 2-3 pax), a family-style slow-roasted pork shoulder with bur marigold wraps, seasonal pickles, spiced nuts, and harusame salad.

PENICILLIN strives to be the first “scrap-less” bar in Hong Kong

The ultimate mission of PENICILLIN is to become Hong Kong’s first “scrap-less” bar – in other words, a bar that produces minimal waste by the end of the night. Prabowo, Ghale, and their dedicated team pour endless creativity into the ways common waste or kitchen by-products can be recycled and upcycled, while simultaneously self-brewing, fermenting, growing, and re-using ingredients to be used in cocktails. Ingredients including botanicals are all sourced locally within Hong Kong, with PENICILLIN going a step further to minimize transport distance in order to conserve energy and reduce carbon emissions. 

Achievements of PENICILLIN founders and consultants, Agung Prabowo & Roman Ghale

Agung Prabowo and Roman Ghale are the legendary forces behind The Old Man Hong Kong, which last year took the coveted #1 rank on Asia’s Best Bars 2019 by Asia’s 50 Best Bars 2019 and currently holds the no.2 ranking on Asia’s Best Bars 2020. Following hot on the heels of their second successful The Old Man outpost in Singapore, Prabowo and Ghale continue to blaze trails in the industry with the launch of PENICILLIN, a creative and ecologically conscious innovation for the future of imbibing.

The full list of The Old Man awards and accolades are below:

#2, Asia’s 50 Best Bars 2020

#1, Asia’s 50 Best Bars 2019

#9, World’s 50 Best Bars 2019

Bar of the Year – Hong Kong, Drink Magazine Bar Awards 2019

#5, Asia’s 50 Best Bars 2018

#10, World’s 50 Best Bars 2018

Best Cocktails, T.Dining Awards 2017


Inspired by the farm-to-table movement taking the culinary world by storm, PENICILLIN is Hong Kong’s first sustainable bar that champions a closed-loop model of production. Named after the breakthrough group of antibiotics that heralded an age of medical revolution, PENICILLIN bar similarly brings a revolutionary take on sustainability in today’s waste-heavy world of cocktail creation. The bar’s prized feature, THE PENICILLIN LAB illustrates the behind-the-scenes processes of discovery and experimentation on its path towards minimal-waste.

PENICILLIN bar is founded by bar veterans Agung Prabowo and Roman Ghale (previously The Old Man), Laura Prabowo, Katy Ghale and Betty Ng of COLLECTIVE, bringing the first minimal-waste cocktail list to its historic location on Hollywood Road. With a focus on either locally sourced or up-cycled food and drink ingredients, PENICILLIN’s bar menu finds innovation in the true flavours of Hong Kong – while working constantly to minimize waste and carbon footprint.


Opening Hours: Monday – Saturday, 6pm – Late
Contact Number: +852-9880-7995
Address: L/G, Amber Lodge, 23 Hollywood Road, Central, Hong Kong