Oct 28, 2010|
It’s Halloween weekend, the dirtiest, most demonic weekend of the year, when Hong Kong’s nocturnal beasts descend on the city’s nocturnal districts to drink, dance and party. But rather than give you another set of costume shop listings, we’ve decided to take the opportunity to give you all you need to have the biggest weekend ever—no matter whether it’s Halloween or not. Follow one of our suggested itineraries below, or mix-and-match to create your perfect night out. If you’ve been in Hong Kong for a while, you might enjoy taking a trip down memory lane with our nightlife retrospective that takes you from the 1950s up to the 1990s.
Start in NoHo for dinner at Basement. Not my fave but the GF loves it and this early in the evening you’re buying partying equity for the rest of the night.
29 Gough St., Central, 2854-0010
Soho for a quick drink. Globe or one of the Elgin bars. Watch the mating in cougar alley. Tip: remember the outfits in case you see them later while drunk and think, “wow, this 28-year-old is hot.”
45 Graham St., Central, 2543-1941
Up to Tazmania Ballroom to watch people play pool badly and young girls dance with old rich guys. Yes we can. You can get trapped here until 2am talking to some guy in a ponytail so mental note for a quick G&T, make the rounds, and exit early. It might be Dragon-i time.
1/F, LKF Tower, 33 Wyndham St., Central, 2801-5009
Nope, it’s not. I’m Prive-ing now—it’s just one of those nights. Prive’s the Old Hyde but Hyde has the exact same people anyway so why make the Lyndhurst walk?
G/F, The Centrium, 60 Wyndham St., Central, 2810-8199
Down the road to Volar. Step over the drunk girl passed out on the stairs. Can you say your picture will be on facebook tomorrow? No, she can’t.
B/F, 38-44 D’Aguilar St., Central, 2810-1510
Volar. The crowd’s too pushy so identify a friend with a table or carve out a space by the DJ booth. Watch some skinny male models dance arhythmically.
4:30am and the night’s not over. Only one place left: Tin Hau.
4:31am: Just kidding: Wan Chai.
5:30am: I’ve have enough Coronas, cover bands, and old guys making transactions, so it’s bed time.
Drinks at 208 (it’s across the street from work, Bitch). Taxi to LKF Hotel.
208 Hollywood Rd., Sheung Wan, 2549-0208
Get off cab right in front of LKF Hotel, head up to Lily for a nice rum Old-Fashioned.
6/F, LKF Tower, 33 Wyndham St., Central, 2810-6166
Come back down, pop across to Sliver (fabulous fruity cocktails) or W52 (great wines) for a discreet drink and dance.
Sliver: 48 Wyndham St., Central, 2522-8318
W52: 52 Wyndham St., Central, 6768-5252
Escape from the daunting walk through the nocturnal petting zoo that is Cougar Avenue by ducking down the stairways next to Pastis, and have a Kir Royale at
Le Boudoir, my FAVORITEST little dive at the mo. Jerome & Olivier have doen a good job. Check out that lovely fountain and little slip of terrace for breathing room.
Basement, 65 Wyndham St., Central, 2537-5702
Yumla and the steps, just for old time’s sake. Mingle.
L/B, Harilela House, 79 Wyndham St., Central, 2147-2383
Go through the filthy alley outside Propaganda and Gecko. And if you must, Drop.
But we’re not stopping. Just air kisses and head to REPUBLIK. Even if you don’t feel clubby, the cool new bar on the ground floor is capacious, comfortable and chic for a casual lounge.
Propaganda: G/F, 1 Hollywood Rd., Central, 2868-1316
Gecko: LG/F, 15-19 Hollywood Rd., Central, 2537-4680
Drop: B/F, On Lok Mansion, 39-43 Hollywood Road, Central, 2543-8856
REPUBLIK: 108 Hollywood Rd., Sheung Wan, 2261-1111
It’s 2:30am. Famished? Hit the pizza and poutine at Cul-de-Sac.
G/F Block A Winner Building, Wing Wah Lane, Central, 2525-8116
End night here, but if you’re fabulous party animal and gay or a fag hag, it’s time to go to Volume.
LG/F, 83-85 Hollywood Rd., Central, 2857-7683
Breakfast at the Flying Pan
9 Old Bailey St., Central, 2410-6333
The evening begins in Knutsford Terrace in the last pool hall Wilson hasn’t been barred from yet. We play nine-ball and enjoy the well-priced beer until Wilson accidentally trips a beer promotions girl with a pool cue.
Joes’s Billiards, 11/F, 1 Knutsford, Knutsford Terrace, Tsim Sha Tsui, 3188-1010
Craving a burrito, the group staggers into Tequila Jack’s. You know what goes well with burritos? Tequila. And Jack Daniels.
33-35 Chatham Rd. South, Tsim Sha Tsui, 3428-5133
Against better judgment, Nelson decides that now is a perfect time to visit a darts bar. Miraculously, no one is punctured by a flying dart, except the beer promotions girl from Joe’s Billiards who came to unwind.
IDarts Club. 2/F, Katherine House, 53-55 Chatham Rd. South, Tsim Sha Tsui, www.dartslive.hk, 2827-7701
Night’s well underway. Hop in a taxi and hit Wan Chai. Stuck in tunnel traffic? No worries! Hugh pulls out a plastic bag full of Blue Girls from 7-11. Taxi driver stoically ignores bad singing.
In Wan Chai. First stop: Irish bar. Tell outrageous lies about “the old country” (which you’ve never visited) in an attempt to impress the evesdropping hottie from the next table. Story tumbles like a tower of cards when Nelson runs outside to throw up his Guinness.
Delaney’s: 2/F, One Capital Place, 18 Luard Rd., Wan Chai, 2804-2880
Time for more games. Wilson challenges Mike to a round of foosball at the Royal Games Club in the King’s Hotel. Everyone else gets bored and plays a round of liar dice out on the 1,000 square foot terrace. Sweet.
4/F, King’s Hotel, 303 Jaffe Rd., Wan Chai, 3188-2277
It’s getting late. Taxi into Central to find the mythical strip club Mike keeps bragging about. He says it’s somewhere on Pottinger. Traipse up and down the street for 15 minutes, looking for it, stopping to laugh at some girl who broke her high heel. Give up and get a kebab. (77 licky faces, 1 sad face, as rated on openrice.com). Delicious.
Ebeneezers. 25 D’Aguilar St., Central, 2114-0555
We start the night with style with a mani-pedi “sparty” at the Sense of Touch spa in Repulse Bay. The house throws in a bottle of wine for every six guests, which we drink over manipedis in the outdoor “Ceylon Lounge.”
1/F, The Repulse Bay Arcade, 109 Repulse Bay Rd., Repulse Bay, 2592-9668
Taxi into town. Stop in SoHo to peruse the extensive wine list and cute cupcakes at Sift Dessert Bar. Tracey’s on a gluten-free diet so we pick her up a mung bean dessert soup from the dai pai dong next door.
46 Graham St., Central, 2530-4288
Pit stop into Feather Boa to see if we can get a couple of Cathay pilots to buy us some strawberry daiquiris. It works!
38 Staunton St., Central, 2857-7156
Treats with a view at SEVVA—don’t miss the famous crunch cake, or Lisa dropping her iPhone off the balcony trying to take a picture of the light show.
25/F, Prince’s Building, 5 Chater Rd., Central, 2537-1388
Back into Central to try Riquiqui’s innovative three-course dessert meal paired with wine. If you’re counting, that’s three desserts plus a mung bean soup.
2/F, 12 Wellington St., Central, 2868-3302
Time for cocktails! Eve doesn’t want to get sweat patches on her clothes before meeting Bruce, her Australian rugby player friends-with-benefits, so off into nice, cool Yun Bar for a couple of lychee cosmopolitans to cool off.
B/F, 43-55 Wyndham St., Central, 2116-8855
Jane snaps her heel walking down Pottinger Street, so we carry her to Linq and place ice-cold mojitos on her rapidly swelling ankle.
37-43 Pottinger St., Central, 2971-0680
Night ends in Tsui Wah, where the girls order satay beef instant noodles and pork chop buns. Diets abandoned as plummeting blood sugar levels caused by too much sugar lead to voracious carb cravings.
15-19 Wellington St., Central, 2525-6338
7-11 at bottom of LKF
7-11 near park in LKF
7-11 on Wyndham Street
G/F, Winner Building 27-37, D’Aguilar St., 2869-1869
The very minute you clock out, run to the Captain’s Bar in the Mandarin Oriental for a whiskey to warm up the evening. No cigars anymore but they know your name or at least your cocktail.
5 Connaught Rd., Central, 2825-4006
FCC for a pint, a whinge and some leering. Close your eyes and imagine the pre-1997 world.
2 Lower Albert Rd., Central, 2521-1511
Meet the wife and her friends for a drink at Agave. Loathe every minute of it, and silently resent buying a round of margaritas. Thankfully it’s too loud to talk.
G/F, 33 D’Aguilar St., Central, 2521-2010
Craving the comfort and atmosphere of a real pub that isn’t full of kids, decamp to the Old China Hand. Ah, home.
104 Lockhart Rd., Wan Chai, 2865-4378
Wander around sadly where Fenwicks used to be, before remembering that it closed down two years ago. Pop into Laguna instead.
1/F, 17-21 Fenwick St., Wan Chai, 2866-4736
Wind up in The Bridge at 6am, long after all those lily-livered youngsters have gone home.
G/F Beverly House, 93-107 Lockhart Rd., Wan Chai, 2865-5586
Croon your heart out at one of these popular karaoke joints
A chain with a veritable monopoly in Hong Kong’s karaoke scene, Neway CEO is pricier than most other joints—but not without reason. A trustworthy brand, Neway CEO has a large selection of local and western songs to choose from; some rooms even have PlayStations in case customers get bored. Each room is thoroughly sanitized and comes with its own private bathrooms.
Neway CEO, 2-8 Sugar St., Causeway Bay. 2196-2196, www.ceokb.com
Want to lounge about in a vast, sexy, sumptuous living room, right in the middle of Wan Chai? Vertigo will have you spinning deliriously with their plush surrounds, Wi-Fi and pool table. Savor boutique cocktails, like their signature Mango Rula, or a decadently alcoholic ice cream treat in a martini glass. Save your stellar performance for after you retire to one of the private karaoke rooms with flat screen TVs.
26/F, QRE Plaza, 202 Queen’s Rd. East, Wan Chai. 2575-8980
The Derby Pub & Restaurant
The Derby is a traditional English pub with a live band that plays a diverse array of songs on race days (given its proximity to Happy Valley). Drinkers are welcome to join in and sing, and the DJ lends a hand with background tracks to make sure you sound great. Here, singing is free, but it’s good form to buy some pub grub and drinks to wash it down.
Shop G-1, G/F Valley Center, 80-82 Morrison Hill Rd., Causeway Bay. 2893-9123
This is as fancy and opulent as karaoke bars go. One of the biggest karaoke bars in Hong Kong, Penthouse Skylounge has floor-to-ceiling windows that offer spectacular views of the harbor as well as all the most modern karaoke technology. They’ve got a five-star bar with a live DJ as well as some private rooms that can seat over 35 people.
29/F, Silver Base Center, 200 Gloucester Rd., Wan Chai. 2833-9992, www.penthouseskylounge.com
This place is a karaoke box by trade, but the lounge area has an extensive bar with a wide variety of sake and Japanese shochu. Sit and soothe your vocal chords with an ume-shiso (shochu with hot water, mashed salted plum and shiso leaf) while listening to Japanese salarymen croon. They also have the latest English pop, so go channel your inner Gaga or catch some Bieber fever.
25/F, Circle Tower, 28 Tang Lung St., Causeway Bay. 2838-0005
One of the nicer bars in Tsim Tsa Tsui, Clubhouse has a bar area as well as VIP rooms that can seat anywhere between 15 and 50 people. If you choose to pay for a VIP room, drinks are free, but the price tag makes you realize why: $250-$280 for men and $150-$180 for the ladies.
2/F, New Mandarin Center, 14 Science Museum Rd., Tsim Tsa Tsui. 9039-9922, www.clubhousehk.com
My Favourite Bar
This is no place for amateurs. First you have to find it, tucked away in a building whose many floors are crammed with bars. A completely unique karaoke experience, at My Favourite Bar TV screens line the walls and microphones sit on each table. Singers can choose songs at the bar and start singing whenever, wherever and with whomever—all in front of an audience.
2/F, The Wave, 184 Nathan Road, Tsim Sha Tsui, 9834-0777
Take a walk down memory lane as we take a look at Hong Kong’s nightlife through the ages.
Peter Gautschi arrived in Hong Kong from his native Switzerland in the 1950s to manage the then-not-as-posh Peninsula Hotel. The trim and dapper 83-year-old reminisces about his days of debauchery.
It was a very quiet, almost provincial town. If you think in those days of Paris and Hong Kong, Hong Kong was relatively dead. There was nothing sophisticated around. You saw in the streets still a lot of ladies in cheongsams. They were still very popular. And the men had sharkskin suits, the white tropical suits. We hung out with the Swiss, the English, the Germans. In all the side streets all you could hear was mahjong, mahjong, mahjong. You heard the clacking of the mahjong chips.
There was one place on the Hong Kong side called China Night. These nightclubs in those days were places where you went in, and you paid $5 for the company of a lady. You paid for one or two half-hours, and if you found someone interesting then you disappeared for a couple of hours.
There was a saying: “Are you married, or do you live in Kowloon side?” Kowloon was the wild side. On Nathan Road about half a mile up from the Peninsula there was a restaurant called Prince’s Garden. We took a lot of businesspeople there because it had good Chinese food. Later on in the evening, after dining hours, they dimmed the lights and all of a sudden we had a lot of nice little girls there. When the British or American Navy came in town, they went to lot of girly bars, the “Suzie Wong” bars, but those were for the lower echelon. China Night and Prince’s Garden were upper class.
Watch the film “Solider of Fortune”; you could learn a lot about Hong Kong in those days.
Deirdre and Fred Fung (parents of our Dep Ed, Sarah Fung) lived Hong Kong’s nightlife in the 1970s. Deirdre Fung recounts the days of sampans across the harbor, two-dollar beers and when her husband wore platforms out in public.
There wasn’t much in Central in the 1970s. The place to go was Tsim Sha Tsui, or “Tsimsy” as everyone called it. Basically, you’d start at the top end of Cameron Road and fall out the bottom at 3am, straight into Nam Ah for Malaysian satays. The places to be seen were Larry Allen’s cocktail lounge and piano bar, Speakeasy’s for jazz and the Pop Inn in the basement of The Grand Hotel. Beefy’s on Prat Avenue was where we always used to go. The first real disco was The Scene, which was in the basement of the Peninsula. But the place to really be seen was Bang Bang, a coffee shop and fashion boutique. Further along was Ned Kelly’s, which was always swinging. Nothing’s changed really. And nearby was Red Lips. There was a woman called Josephine there, who’d quote you Shakespearian soliloquies in exchange for a drink. In the Waltzing Matilda they’d cash a check for you if you didn’t have any money—there were no ATMs back then. Taxi flagfall was $2.50, but we’d get the bus into town from Kowloon Tong. There was the “Dollar Bus” if you wanted to go in style, or else it was 30 cents. If we wanted to get to Wan Chai, we’d take a rickshaw from the Star Ferry pier.
Wan Chai was even more of a red-light district than it is now, but there were some respectable bars on Hong Kong Island, such as The Jockey, the Bull and Bear and the Go-Down. In the Jockey, all the barmaids would wear beautiful red hunting jackets, and in the Bull and Bear where I worked, we had Nell Gywn-style medieval peasant dresses. All the barmaids were very pretty, but if you tried it on with any of them you’d have to answer to the manageress, a former Bluebell Girl from London who ruled the place with an iron fist. If you wanted to stay out late on the island, you had to get a walla walla back across the harbor—this was before the MTR was built.
Back then, everyone was listening to Motown, Abba and the Bee Gees, but by far the most popular for some reason were the ballads—”Mandy” was played everywhere. The Wynners were big too, and Theresa Carpio’s “Stay Awhile.” All the men were wearing platform shoes, tight trousers with huge flares and pockets everywhere. Collars were high and hair was long and parted in the middle. For the girls, kaftans were popular.
Resident 90s partier Sharon McMillan recalls pre-millennium Lan Kwai Fong, a time before Ebeneezer’s became kebab king, when Wyndham was still just a street and when the place to be seen at was… Club 97.
Club 97 was the Dragon-i of the 90s. To get in meant you had to know someone, be with someone who knew someone or learn to get friendly fast with the beautiful door bitches. Before it was transformed into the open space it is today, it was a wall of doors sectioned off by a thick velvet purple rope, with hoards of people queuing up behind it. Thankfully my good friend was the resident DJ there so we got in for free.
Right next-door was Dolce Vita, where it still stands today. It was the place to go to drink sugary Malibu pineapples while bumping hips to the beats of Mousse T.’s “Horny,” the staple song of the decade.
The night usually ended at Midnight Express, the pre-Ebeneezer’s kebab place. It was the most popular place to go for a late-night chow-down, devour your kebab and watch the figures going by dressed in wide-legged jeans, innerwear-outerwear lingerie tops and skimpy leather skirts.