Living it up — Hong Kong bars & clubs

A mini guide to Hong Kong Living (EPISODE IV)

Hong Kong is for the romantics who want to stare at the skyline. It’s for the party animals who want to dance all night. It’s for the lovers of hidden bars with a password. It’s for the music virtuosos and the cocktail crazies… it’s for everyone. For many, Hong Kong’s nightlife is centered around Lan Kwai Fong (LKF), a small maze of streets around D’Aguilar Street in Central. But Hong Kong has so much more than LKF. From the skyline views to the late night electro clubs, here’s a list of the best bars and clubs

ROOFTOP BARS: for the views and co.

§ Sevva: the must-go place for first time visitors to enter directly into the center stage of the famous HK skyline. Sevva is located on the 25th floor of Prince’s Building (just next to the Central MTR station) and it is usually a buzzing afterwork location, especially Thursdays and Fridays

§ Aqua: if you head to the other side of Victoria Harbour, which expats lovingly call “The Dark Side”, then Aqua is probably your best choice for a breath-taking view of the skyline opposite. Aqua does not have an outdoor terrace but an equally stunning view of the whole Hong Kong island skyline and great cocktails

§ Upper House — Café Gray Bar: the bar at the Upper House hotel (Pacific Place in Admiralty) is another lovely spot on the Island side to have a coffee or a pre-dinner drink and enjoy complete immersion into the HK skyline. Make sure you get yourself a corner or an entire lounge by the window

Nighttime view from the Cafe Gray Bar

§ Ce la Vie: above the hustle and bustle of Lan Kwai Fong (LKF) is this rooftop bar/club which is as nice for daytime drinking as for nighttime madness (25F, California Tower, D’Aguilar St)

§ Duddell’s: Dudell’s does not offer crazy views of the skyline, but is a nice rooftop in the middle of Central, with good DJs from time to time and decent dim sum and snacks as well

§ Honi Honi: if you’re feeling exotic, head to this Hawaiian Tiki lounge on Wellington Street. It’s a classic for a quick drink before or after dinner — the rooftop is small and mostly crowded and the cocktails can be shared (see below)

One massive watermelon — “Honi Honi All the Way”

SPEAKEASIES & WINE BARS: for the vibes

§ The Pawn: cool bar with fancy cocktails and a nice outdoor terrace overlooking central Wan Chai. Every 2nd Wednesday they have a live Jazz band to bring out the Gatsbies in you (62 Johnston Rd)

§ Le Quinze Vins: this great little wine bar has a huge selection of wines and nice cold cuts and cheese, perfect for an apero a la francaise before dinner. There’s a location in Wan Chai (9 Swatow St) and they recently opened one in Central

§ Ping Pong Gintoneria: Spanish vibes in Sai Ying Pun, refreshing Gin Tonics and tapas menu as well as a cool crowd (arguably a bit of a shitwehite place hidden behind that red door)

Ping Pong Gintoneria (129 2nd St Sai Ying Pun)

§ Stockton: a speakeasy with a proper Gentleman’s club atmosphere, old fashioned cocktails and large leather couches, hidden away behind Wyndham St, just above the LKF craze. (32 Wyndham St Central, look for the little doorway on your right)

§ Mrs. Pound: another hidden bar on Pound Lane in Sheung Wan, with a fun entrance behind a stamp shop, and some good drinks, but not that much in terms of food

In front of Mrs Pound — Made it through the door

§ Foxglove: this place is just off Duddell Street and has cool live Jazz music several days a week (Printing House, 6 Duddell St)

YOUR PERFECT PREGAME BARS (for the cocktails)

§ Varga Lounge: our all-time favorite bar for drinks after dinner is Varga Lounge. It’s nestled in the middle of Soho, on the corner of Elgin, Peel and Staunton Street, right in the middle of everything. The Espresso martinis and Raspberry daiquiris are to die for

§ Brickhouse: Brickhouse is LKF, yet not LKF. This little Mexican place is just off D’Aguilar Street (small alleyway on your left heading up from Wellington St, opposite Wo On Lane) and therefore only seconds from LKF madness. Try their Pisco Sours and the firy house cocktail called Diabla.

§ Soiree: another Soho hangout on Elgin St, head here for the best Daiquiris with chocolate rim

Passionfruit Daiquiris at Soiree (Besttt)

§ 7/11: If you’re not into fancy bar, but are looking for a cheap yet fun place for drinks and some Lan Kwai Fong madness, head to the 7/11 shop at the top of D’Aguilar St and simply have a Somersby in the street and dance to the music from the nearby bars

HONG KONG CLUBS: for the dance moves

§ Dragon i: Along the club and bar stretch on Wyndham Street, dragon-i and Tazmania Ballroom are the more high-end (stricter door policy) clubs. All the clubs around here are fun though, and they are arguably hard to miss (The Centrium, 60 Wyndham St)

§ Fly: a bit further down Wyndham St is Club FLY, a slightly smaller and a bit more funky/electronic club (24–30 Lower Ice House St)

§ Volar: when the night gets later, head to either Volar (44 D’Aguilar St, LKF) or…

§ Drop: for some more underground and electro vibes. If you leave Drop, which is located right underneath the Escalator below Hollywood Rd, grab a Kebeb at the stand next door.

§ Raves & co: Apart from the usual suspects listed above, check Resident Advisor and Facebook for raves happening somewhere in the Hong Kong Jungle or events like the once annual Secret Island Party

KARAOKE: last but definitely not least

Finally, if you’re not too in love with the idea of clubbing in LKF or raving in the Hong Kong Jungle, there’s always good old Karaoke. KTVs — as the Karaoke locations are called in China and SE-Asia — are all over Hong Kong. Either head to my Hong Kong friend’s favorite — a bar called Alabar in Happy Valley or go to one of the KTVs and rent a room with a group of anything up to 30 people and sing until the break of dawn. The Red Mr. Karaokes are cool and can be found in Wan Chai, TST and Causeway Bay

Check out all the Hong Kong posts:

Episode I: not entirely #shitwhite

Episode II: 6 Hong Kong trails to not miss

Episode III: Hong Kong eateries: the top picks

Episode IV: Living it up in Hong Kong bars & clubs (the one you’re on)

Episode V: 10 things you cannot not do when in Hong Kong

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