When the sun dips behind the metallic skyline, the neon lights take their cue and blaze from every tower block, reflecting off the still waters of the bay and illuminating the hawker stalls with their simmering broths and crispy reptile-skin snacks. This city certainly knows how to party and has done so with relish throughout its colonial rule and right into the twenty-first century. Ex-pats guzzle beers and cocktails in pubs down shadow-streaked alley-ways where the oak-panelled walls, faded carpets and musty air soothes home-sick thoughts. However, although these places still exist, they are fast being replaced with the modern and funky bars that are establishing themselves in Central and Tsim Sha Tsui.
Hong Kong Nightlife Travel Guide
The Lan Kwai Fong and SoHo areas of Central offer sleek drinking experiences (dress smartly to avoid rude stares) and chic eateries abound in the area around Mid-Levels escalator between Lyndhurst Terrace and Robinson Road. Tsim Sha Tsui is popular with the young set who inhabit the guesthouses and pour themselves into the bars and clubs when midnight strikes.
The Wan Chai district used to house Hong Kong’s nightlife underbelly with slightly seedier fun being offered. However, gentrification has meant that it’s becoming a more family area and it’s a good place to visit.
Bars tend to open at lunchtime and close when the last punter staggers out of the door which can be anytime between 1am and 8am – some are even open 24 hours. Unfortunately sampling the after-dark delights of Hong Kong can be expensive and you may have to pay an admission charge if there is a DJ playing or a club night going on, particularly on Friday and Saturday nights. Expect to tip 10 per cent in trendier places.
Find out about what’s going on in local listings magazines BC, Hong Kong Magazine or the 24/7 supplement in the South China Morning Post. Absolute is a free guide to the most fashionable places to be seen and can be found in bars and designer shops.
Some of the most popular clubs include;
1. Chemical Suzy
AWT Centre, 2a-b Austin Avenue, Tsim Sha Tsui Telephone – 2736 0087 Opening Hours – 6pm-4am
An unusual – much like its name – cyber-trendy club complete with DJ. Thursday hosts a fun gay-night.
2. 348 Disco and Kareoke
Majestic Centre, 348 Nathan Road, Jordan Telephone – 2332 8132 Opening Hours – 7pm-9am
Packed full of rich kids dancing to Asian club favourites, this place is frequented by locals and has a rather fantastic entrance flanked by robots and skulls.
3. Boom Bar and Club
Chevalier House, 41-45 Chatham Road South Telephone – 2366 9928 Opening hours – Tues – Sat, 9pm-late
For all drum ‘n’ bass and techno fans, this club attracts international DJ’s and a die-hard clientele.
20-25 Peel Street Telephone – 2581 1025 Opening hours- Mon-Sat, 4pm-late
Definitely one for the fabulously wealthy bankers that work in the area. This ultra-stylish bar offers internet connection and even conference rooms for those who can’t stop working…and there is a DJ most nights too.
Hong Kong is also beautiful in a manic, packed and frenetic kind of way, particularly at night when the famous skyline is picked out by the twinkling and flashing neon lights that wink and blink at their reflections in the water. An absolute must-do is to take the Star Ferry from Tsim Sha Tsui to Central and gawp at the dark mountains rising up from behind the glowing metropolis as people have done since the nineteenth century.