Hong Kong Nightlife | Bars, nightclubs, & live music

Lan Kwai Fong

Drinkers will like Hong Kong.  Even though most bars close around 2am, many other bars and nightclubs don’t close down until late into the night (well, at least a lot later than in the US).  In fact, I don’t even think there’s a mandatory last call since I know of some clubs that stay open until 5am or later (oh, those were the days…).  Lan Kwai Fong in Central is the place to get your drink on; it’s where the main nightlife action is, attracting ex-pats, locals and tourists.  Head uphill on Wyndham Street to SoHo for more options, although the area has more restaurants than bars (or take the Mid-Level Escalators instead of walking up the steep incline).

Or if you’re looking for a mellower (and cheaper) drinking vibe, head to Wan Chai.

One downside to staying in Kowloon is that the last MTR trains (and Star Ferry) are at 1am at the latest.  But of course, there are Kowloon drinking options as well, which tend to be populated more by locals, if that’s your thing.  Most nightlife options are in Tsim Sha Tsui, around Knutsford Terrace (alley north of Kimberley Road), where you’ll see lots of restaurants & bars with lots of mellow outdoor seating.

Happy Hours can be found in most bars and some clubs, from about 4pm-8pm.

For the most up-to-date Hong Kong entertainment and goings-ons, check out:

Hong Kong Magazine (www.asia-city.com.hk)

Time Out (www.timeout.com.hk)

bc magazine (www.bcmagazine.net)

China Mike’s collection of Hong Kong’s best entertainment (as rated by the major travel guides):




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BEST BARS: HONG KONG ISLAND


Lily (Time Out HK’s 2010 “Best New Bar”)
2810-6166
6/F, LKF Tower, 33 Wyndham St, Central
www.lily-bloom.com
Time Out magazine:It’s ironic that a bar based partly on America’s prohibition era should inspire such wild enthusiasm in our alcohol-abundant city. But Lily, together with its sister restaurant Bloom, has become Hong Kong’s most talked about new drinking den, and for good reason. Based on 1920s speakeasies, Lily has taken mixed drinks to a new level, specialising in classic cocktails with a twist, from Old Fashioneds and Southsides to our favourite, the Periodista, serving them up in a cool yet relaxed hotspot.”

Le Boudoir (Time Out HK’s 2010 “Best New Bar” — Runner-up)
2530-3870
B/F, 65 Wyndham St, Central
Time Out magazine: “The whimsical, Wonderland-esque décor sets this stylish, underground French lounge and bar apart from the rest. The creative drinks list adds to the allure, with carefully crafted concoctions by Le Boudoir’s chief mixologist Max Traverse. The Devil Rocks cocktail of bourbon, ginger, citrus and bitters is especially intoxicating.”

Barco
2857-4478
42 Staunton Street, Central
3pm-late
L. Planet:One of our favourite SoHo bars….great staff…is small enough that it never feels empty and attracts a cool mix of locals and expats.” Happy Hour 4-8pm

Club 71
2858-7071
Basement, 67 Hollywood Road, Central
Mon-Sat 3pm-2am / Sundays 6pm-1am
Formerly Club 64 but relocated to a quiet alley, Club 71 is described by L. Planet as “once again one of the best drinking spots for non-poseurs.” Look for small footpath off either Peel St or Aberdeen St. Happy Hour 3-9pm.

Pawn
2866-3444
62 Johnson Road, Wan Chai
11am-late
LP:hot new place in Wan Chai” with a huge range of beers and wines.

Bohemian Lounge
2526-6099
3-5 Old Bailey Street, Central
4:30pm-late
LP: Suitably bohemian décor and live jazz make this a fun place to hang out

Chinatown
2861-3588
78-82 Jaffe Road, Wan Chai
Noon – 2:30am
LP:Soft lighting from large red lanterns and service from cheongsam-wearing waitresses make for kitsch fun

Joyce is Not Here
2851-2999
38-44 Peel St, SoHo
Tue-Fridays 11am-late / Weekends 10am-late
LP: A superchilled café-bar periodically offering poetry readings and live music”

Red Bar
8129-8882
L4, IFC Mall, 8 Finance St, Central
M-Thu noon-midnight/ Fri & Sat noon-3am/ Sunday noon-10pm
LP:Harbour views, DJs and alfresco drinking combine at this hot spot above the IFC

BEST BARS: KOWLOON


Aqua Spirit (New York Times’ Pick)
852/3427 2288
1 Peking Rd, Tsim Sha Tsui
Sun-Thurs 5pm-2am / Fri & Sat 5pm-3am
www.aqua.com.hk
NYT:A hip local crowd drinks at this bar and restaurant complex high in an office building. Snag a comfy sofa and place your Aquatini (Ketel One vodka, lychee liqueur, Chambord and gold leaves) on a glowing blue table. .” Frommer’s: “This glam venue is one of Hong Kong’s hottest bars, due in no small part to its unbeatable location on the 30th floor of a Tsim Sha Tsui high-rise…note the minimum drink charge of HK$150.”

Felix (Fodor’s Choice)
2315-3188 / 2920-2888
28th Floor, Peninsula Hong Kong Hotel, Salibury Rd, TST
6pm-2am
LP:Swanky…amazing views and expensive drinks.”  Fodor’s: “Not only has a brilliant view of the island, but the interior was designed by the visionary Philippe Starck. Don’t forget to check out the padded mini-disco room. Another memorable feature is the male urinals, situated right by glass windows overlooking the city.”

Delaney’s
2301-3980
Basement, Mary Building, 71-77 Peking Road, TST
8am-3am
LP: Popular Irish pub has full Irish theme…good choice for watching sports.”

Chillax
2722-4338
8 Minden Ave, TST
Mon-Fri 4pm-1am / weekends 2pm-2am
LP:  “Tiny space lit by candles, patronized mainly by young locals, is good for simply sitting, slumping….things get livelier later when the DJs gets going.”

BEST LIVE MUSIC


Hidden Agenda (Time Out HK’s 2010 “Best Music Venue”)
6/F, Ko Leung Bldg, 25 Tai Yip St, Kwun Tong
www.hiddenagendahk.com
Time Out magazine:It seems so appropriate that one of our most influential underground venues should reside in a hard-to-find industrial space. After moving from its previous Kwun Tong location earlier this year, Hidden Agenda has endeavoured to create a proper livehouse unlike anything in the city. International and local acts are now regulars at the grittily charming venue, and having hosted the likes of Go Chic, Caspian and Noughts and Exes album launch party, as well as the odd jazz gig and club night, this year, we’re thoroughly excited about what 2011 might bring.”

Wanch (Time Out HK’s 2010 “Best Music Venue”– Runner-up)
2861-1621
54 Jaffe Rd, Wan Chai
www.myspace.com/thewanchhk
4pm-2am
LP: Small venue…mostly rock & folk seven days a week…with the occasional solo guitarist thrown in.” Time Out HK:In many ways, The Wanch is the beating heart of Hong Kong’s independent music scene. The diminutive Wan Chai bar has long been a magnet for music lovers, but since John Prymmer and his team took ownership earlier this year, they’ve turned it up a notch, hosting frequent showcases and top local bands.”

Cavern
2121-8969
Shop 1, lower ground floor, Lan Kwai Fong Tower, 33 Wyndham St, Central
Mon-Sat 6pm-late
LP:Effectively a showcase for two tribute bands: Sixties Mania Showband…and the Rolling Bones, a great Filipino band”

Gecko Lounge
2537-4680

Lower ground floor, 15-19 Hollywood Rd, Central
www.gecko.com
Mon-Thu 4pm-2am / Fri  & Sat 4pm-4am
LP:An intimate lounge that attracts a fun crowd, especially for the live jazz sessions Tuesdays to Thursdays….great wine list.”


BEST NIGHTCLUBS


Yumla (L.Planet top pick)
2147-2383
Lower basement, 79 Wyndham St, Central
www.yumla.com
Mon-Th 5pm-4am / Fri & Sat 5pm-4am/ Sundays 7pm-2am
LP: Hip without trying too hard, this scruffy, tucked-away place serves up excellent tunes and a cool crowd.

Drop
2543-8856
Basement, On Kok Mansion, 39-43 Hollywood Rd, Central
Mon-Fri 7pm- late . Sat 10pm-5am
LP: “Dance music that’s a cut above….dress up to pass the door test.”

Dusk till Dawn
2528-4689
Ground floor, 68-74 Jaffe St, Wan Chai
Mon-Sat noon-6am / Sun 3pm-5am
LP: fun place is one of Wan Chai’s more reliable nightclubs…atmosphere is friendly rather than sleazy.”

Bahama Mama’s Caribbean Bar
2368-2121
4-5 Knutsford Terrace, Tsim Sha Tsui
Mon-Sat 5pm-late / Sun 6pm-2am
LP: an island feel and attracts a youngish crowd…weekends usually sees DJs playing to a tightly packed dance floor.”

Club 97
2186-1897
Ground floor, Cosmos Building, 9-11 Lan Kwai Fong, Central
Mon-Fri 6pm-late / weekends 8pm-4am
LP:Schmoozy lounge bar has a ‘members only’ policy to turn away the badly dressed—so make an effort….happy hour on Friday is a gay event. On weekends, it kicks after 1am.”

BEST GAY & LESBIAN VENUES

For latest happenings, events, etc, check:   Gaystation (www.gaystation.com.hk) and DS Magazine (www.dimsum-hk.com)

Propoganda
2868-1316
Lower ground floor, 1 Hollywood Rd, Central
Weekend cover HK$100
Tue-Sat 9pm-late
LP:Hong Kong’s premier gay dance club….weekend cover gets you into Works on Fridays. Enter from Erza’s Lane, which runs b/w Pottinger & Cochrane Streets.”

Works
2868-6102
1st floor, 30-32 Wyndham St, Central
Weekend cover HK$60-100
7pm-2am
LP: Propoganda’s sister club, it’s a popular starting point for an evening on the town.”


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