One of the cool things to do in Hong Kong is to get out and explore Asia’s most vibrant city at night. Every night is party night in sizzling Hong Kong. It doesn’t matter if you’re visiting Hong Kong for business or on vacation, there are heaps of cool nightspots to have fun after dark in Central Hong Kong, Lan Kwai Fong and SoHo. Here’s where to enjoy Hong Kong nightlife.
Why you should experience Hong Kong nightlife
I’m constantly amazed at how ancient customs continue to run strong within a city that enthusiastically embraces cutting-edge technology.
The smell of incense wafts from a temple positioned next to a skyscraper. Traditional Chinese herbalists are as popular as electronic stores stocked with the latest gadgets.
There are few places in the world where you’d walk into a no-frills soup house to find a businessman in a Zegna suit tapping on an iPhone while ingesting a bowl of snake soup to increase blood circulation, cure aches and keep away winter chills.
But the most amazing thing about Hong Kong is when night falls the concrete jungle turns into a twinkling fairyland. To me, the city’s transformation from chaotic business metropolis to a glittering oasis of fun is more magical than lucky numbers or snake soup cure-alls.
It’s like Cinderella’s pumpkin turning into a coach. Only in Hong Kong, the dark suits vanish and beautiful people materialise dressed in this season’s Chanel, Hugo Boss and Jimmy Choo.
Choosing a cocktail in Hong Kong
Slouched in a cushy lounge on the terrace of the ultra-glamorous bar, Sevva, I’m floating in a daze of tequila and dry vermouth.
I’m 25 stories high in Central Hong Kong, gazing at the inky sky and the towering office buildings lit up like Christmas trees.
My Vampire has a bit of a bite to it. The menu says it’s blended with crushed Kaffir lime leaf, lime and lightly spiced fresh chillies.
I’ve chosen this cocktail because last night I dreamt I was chased by a vampire.
Before you start sniggering, let me tell you that in Sydney, New York or London, choosing a cocktail because of a dream might be considered frivolous.
Such irrational logic is perfectly reasonable in superstitious Hong Kong where numbers can make or break a business (4 is shunned; 3, 8 and 9 are lucky), where people wear red for luck and not a brick is laid without first consulting a feng shui master.
Hong Kong nightlife around the harbour
My evening begins along the Tsim Sha Tsui waterfront between the Avenue of Stars and the Hong Kong Cultural Centre watching coloured laser beams dance on brightly-lit skyscrapers along Victoria Harbour.
The multimedia show, A Symphony of Lights, made the Guinness World Records as the “World’s Largest Permanent Light and Sound Show”.
The show is spectacular, free-of-charge and on every night of the week. And it’s not just for tourists; locals also wander down to the harbour to admire the lights.
At Pier 1 we board the Aqualuna, a Chinese junk with red sails constructed by an 80-year-old craftsman in the traditional way.
Cocktails in hand, we cruise past a fairyland of brightly lit skyscrapers listening to a recording of a silky-voiced 1930s-style Shanghai nightclub singer over the junk’s stereo system.
The work hard play hard theory is very true in Hong Kong. There’s a really positive vibe – it’s all about releasing the stress of work. Hong Kong’s nightlife is fabulous. It’s a hub of activity every night of the week. It’s also extremely safe.
Hong Kong nightlife in Lan Kwai Fong
We head to Lan Kwai Fong, a square of streets in Central Hong Kong. Even though it’s a weeknight, there’s a carnival atmosphere.
People wander from cool jazz bars to faux-English pubs where trivia, pints and sport are on tap.
Lan Kwai Fong is party central in Hong Kong and a warren of streets packed with eating places, bars and clubs. You could do a week-long bar hop and still not try them all (there are more than 80 bars in this area!).
Upmarket drinking establishments serve up international wine and cool cocktails. On the weekends, the vibrant atmosphere is part of the Hong Kong experience.
Things start heating up around 9 pm, so make sure you have a nap in the afternoon!
In Wyndham Street, we weave through a crowd of chatty wine drinkers loitering on the footpath and into chic Scandinavian-themed bar and restaurant, Finds (an acronym for Finland, Norway, Denmark and Sweden).
Finds is the social den for Hong Kong’s expat community of Swedish clothing manufacturers and Nordic shipping executives.
Restaurant manager Rico Haus insists we drink a traditional Swedish spirit called Skane Akvavit, distilled from potatoes and flavoured with herbs. “It’s the water of life. You’ll love it,” says Haus.
The liquid is 40% alcohol and tastes like mouthwash. But the cocktails look promising with intriguing names like Shanghai Gaga and Blueberry Koskenkorva. A couple of Earl Grey Tea Martinis later, we move on to Staunton Street.
Hong Kong nightlife in SoHo
Hong Kong’s hip spot is a cosmopolitan entertainment district with cool restaurants, hip bars, hopping nightclubs and a comedy club. It’s no wonder SoHo attracts a sophisticated expat clientele.
Also, check out the longest elevator in the world.
Hip spots include Drop, Quinary mixology bar and Varga Lounge for retro music and a step back into the past. Relax in the Whisky Bar, or if you’re hungry, SoHo has no shortage of international fare.
Hong Kong nightlife – top bars
Discover Hong Kong
Hitting the shopping malls in Hong Kong is fun but it can be an expensive exercise. For atmosphere, local food and souvenirs try the Mongkok market instead. If the pace of the city gets a bit too much, you can always escape to Lantau Island. Here are some things to do on Lantau Island.