Best Place to Rendezvous With a Secret Agent

You've seen it in a dozen Ian Fleming confections: The compelling-forbidding cavelike entrance, the golden Buddha grinning from his shrinelike crevasse, the picturesque lanterns dangling from the ceiling, the bar where a white-suited George Lazenby sips and waits. The supporting characters, placed atmospherically at tables and barstools, are impassive, wary, or colorfully verbose. This venerable Chinatown saloon (it was a sailor's hangout in Barbary Coast days) wears the exotic wickedness of its heritage like a badge of honor, and is the next best thing to a pre-'97 Hong Kong dive.

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