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Max Traverse

Founder and Owner

Max Traverse is a veteran in the high-end cocktail scene, with over 14 years of experience behind the bars of France and England’s top spots. Having made a name for himself in the cocktail circuit, he was invited to Hong Kong to manage “Le Boudoir”, where his particular blends of rum and bourbon old-fashioneds soon became the talk of the town.

Taking note of the lack of authentic cocktail lounges in Hong Kong, Traverse set off on his own to create a tailor-made venue to match his style and service in the summer of 2012: Honi Honi Cocktail Lounge. As Hong Kong’s first Tiki cocktail lounge, Honi Honi quickly earned the reputation as one of Hong Kong’s favourite and most popular drinking destinations. It was named a “Bar to Watch” by The World’s 50 Best Bars in 2013, Sassy’s “Favourite Girls Night Out” for two consecutive years, and the #1 Best Tiki Bar in 2015 by The Spirits Business.

Recognising the growing popularity of the Wan Chai neighbourhood and riding on the success of Honi Honi, Traverse set out to open Mahalo Tiki Lounge, an upscale Tiki bar and lounge conveniently located in the penthouse of QRE plaza in South Wan Chai. Designed by interior architecture company In Situ & Partners, Mahalo has a high-end, luxury feel that transports guests back to the 70's and 80's, offering sweeping views of Hong Kong Island from its top floor location.

Traverse draws on his extensive international experience to bring his guests the best of the best at Mahalo. He began his hospitality career serving European royalty and celebs 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) where he quickly moved up the ranks.

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, Traverse has continually pushed the envelope 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.

Amongst his endless list of creations, Traverse’s personal favourite is Mahalo’s QRE’s Doctor No, a strong mix of Bacardi, Wood’s 100 Navy Rum, homemade Falernum, cinnamon syrup, grapefruit juice, lime juice, orange juice, Tiki bitters and Absinthe.

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Illiana Bodnar-Horvath
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