Bar Star with Dr. Fern’s Paul Chan

Like gin? Well then you’ll love this month’s Bar Star, Mr. Paul Chan. Chan is the ‘Head of Prescriptions’ (aka Bar Manager) at Hong Kong’s favourite doctor’s office, Dr. Ferns, a charming speakeasy in the Landmark.

In addition to overseeing the city’s largest gin collection, Chan has to make sure their drinks and service are on point each night. He left the JW Marriott to come and work for ‘The Doctor’ a little over a year ago, and he hasn’t looked back since.

Find out all about the man behind the white coat, right here…

bar star dr ferns paul lam gin spirits best bartender hong kong lkf
What do you love most about bartending?
There are various styles in bartending, and they make each bartender unique. It’s such an honour to be a part of this growing industry in Hong Kong, a hub of great bar concepts executed by great bartenders.  

What is your biggest challenge? 
The challenge is staying ahead of the trends. There are more gin bars opening here in Asia, and even though the concept of a gin & tonic seems simple- there's an art to perfecting it. 

Did you like gin before you worked here? 
Gin has always been one of my favourite spirits!

Dr. Ferns has the largest gin collection in the city, was it difficult to learn about all of the different options?
I study the history of each gin, meet and understand the distillers and match each gin to seasonal botanicals to create new cocktails for all my patients. It's all about the palette and differentiating the taste of each one; finding out what makes the distillery unique.

bar star dr ferns paul lam gin spirits best bartender hong kong lkf
Do you have a favorite cocktail to make?
My favorite cocktail is the Aviation [a classic drink made with gin, maraschino liqueur, crème de violette, and lemon juice) because of Luxardo Maraschino (a classic liqueur made from the marasca cherry).

What about a favourite one to drink? 
Whitley Neil Quince Gin Tonic! A variation on the classic Whitley Neill Gin recipe, featuring a hearty helping of quince juice at its core. Smashing in a gin and tonic!

What do you wish people knew about your job? 
It's not always about having the biggest collection of gin, though I do take pride in that. But, it's about how we handpick each gin and keep our knowledge updated. We’re kind of like a gin encyclopedia.

bar star dr ferns paul lam gin spirits best bartender hong kong lkf
Are there any new skills you’re honing behind the bar?
I am actually in the process of creating my own tonic water, and eventually, I would like to distil my own gin line. 

Is it hard maintaining good service at a busy bar?
Busy is not an excuse for providing average customer service. We as a team have to follow our standards and keep every patient's experience with us memorable. We are the bar, and we make it what it is. We may only have one opportunity to serve and meet guests from abroad, and we want them to remember Dr. Fern's as a journey into another realm. It's the beauty of our concept. 

What’s the craziest thing that’s ever happened to you on a shift?
I get to meet amazing people around the world, and one of my idols visited Dr Fern's. We ended up taking a selfie together, which I treasure! 

Dr. Fern’s Gin Parlour
Shop B31A, First Basement Floor, Landmark Atrium, Landmark, 15 Queen’s Road, Central; +852 2111 9449

All photos are the rights of their respective owners.

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