It should come as no surprise that a city like Hong Kong boasts a kick-ass nightlife scene. And no, we’re not talking about karaoke bars! Hong Kong’s bars and clubs run the whole gauntlet from the super posh to the super seedy, and offer a whole host of totally fun and entertaining ways to spend the long, hot, steamy summer nights no matter what kind of mood you’re in.
When we said Hong Kong nightlife has something for everyone, we really meant it…
The flashy and fabulous traveller
The rooftop of the Ritz-Carlton Hotel on Austin Road is home to the highest bar in the world: Ozone Bar. This extremely luscious joint, high up on the 188th floor, is as stylish and elegant as Hong Kong comes and is rated the best sunset watering hole in town. Granted, visibility here is a bit hit and miss at the best of times, but never mind that. The crowd is cool, the happy-hour cocktails pure evil (but in a really good way) and, well, you’ll be in the world’s highest bar and that’s cool enough! Enjoy the open air terrace at sunset, and comfy indoor lounges when you want to indulge in some delectable Asian-infused tapas to go with your Blackberry Mojito.
The cool & casual traveller
In a city like Hong Kong, where trendy youngsters spend hundreds of dollars every week-end in 5* cocktail lounges, and struggling students get wasted outside the local 7-11s for just a few bucks, you’re bound to find a bar which offers thirsty locals and visitors a happy medium. Enter the Beer Bay. Located right on the waterfront at Central, this bar-cum-takeaway-stall serves wicked cocktails and a wide selection of local and imported beers and wines…not that you’d tell just by looking at it. Ignore the unassuming façade and join the jolly crowds as they sip and slurp from take-away cups. The atmosphere outside Pier 3 is always fun and relaxed and this place manages to attract quite a varied crowd, thanks to its central location and lack of fancy dress code.
The young and restless traveller
If the abovementioned two options are making you yawn with boredom, don’t worry young thing, we’ve also got a perfect place for you. Carnegie in Wanchai is, hands down, the most popular drinking and dancing hub for all of Hong Kong’s young and restless. In this place, they want you to get up and dance on the bar! So much so, that they’ve even installed railings on the bar, on the count of some chick who fell on top of a waitress that one time. Head here if some good old fashioned rock music, grungy atmosphere and young hip crowd are what tickle your fancy most.
The insomniac traveller
If you’re looking for an all-nighter while out clubbing in Hong Kong, know that most bars and clubs in Lan Kwai Fong have the annoying habit of making the night-time hours simply disappear. The music is usually boppy and fun, with most playing good old fashioned hits from the 80s and 90s.
If you’re into some seriously rocky tunes, then we suggest you hit Dusk till Dawn (76 Jaffe Road), one of Wanchai’s most famous rock clubs. Live bands churn out brilliant music all night long, and are considered to be the best rock cover acts in Hong Kong. As the name suggests, the club is open aaaaaaalllll night long.
The old-school, sentimental traveller
Once upon a time, Hong Kong was the favourite stop-over hub of servicemen on leave from the Vietnam War. It was right here that the very first girly-bar was born, and right here that they still linger. As seedy (or sleazy) as they may be, they are still a bona fide Hong Kong institution and a side of the city’s nightlife which also deserves a mention. It’s totally fun and legal, so if you want to experience the naughty side of Honkers then by all means…go right ahead.
The neon-lighted girlie-bars in Wanchai still attract a healthy Western-male/Asian-female crowd, and the two seem to work together in perfect harmony. If you’d like to feel particularly popular, then why not check out places like Neptune or Escape. Sure, the drinks will cost you double here, and you may have a hard time leaving, but it’s all in good fun. You’ll enjoy a lap dance or two, lots of really stimulating conversation…and as much attention as your wallet can handle.
The shy solo traveller
If the thought of going to any of the abovementioned bars leaves you feeling weak at the knees with fear, don’t worry shy solo traveller, we’ve also got the solution for you. An intuitive group of expats, who realized how intimidating Hong Kong can be for the first-time visitor, have put together an epic pub crawl business, called Hong Kong’s Best Pub Crawl . The guys at HKBPC have managed to grab hold of a niche market, and have transformed their humble idea into the most popular night-time tourist attraction in town . For just HK$100 you can join in the fun as the friendly and knowledgeable guide takes you on a bar and club crawl through the trendiest parts of Hong Kong. You get a free shot at each bar, free entry into a club at the end of the night, and the added bonus of an instant crowd of travelling friends to drink and party with. The perfect solution for those travelling solo, or even couples and groups of friends who are more than a little apprehensive about hitting the city’s hotspots on their own.
Jparise via Flickr
Henry Lawford via Flickr