Every night is party night in sizzling Hong Kong. Here’s how to enjoy the Hong Kong nightlife.
Slouched in a cushy lounge on the terrace of 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. But 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 customs
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 business man 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 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.
Hong Kong nightlife
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.
We head to Lan Kwai Fong, a square of streets in Central Hong Kong. Even though it’s a week night, there’s a carnival atmosphere.
People wander from cool jazz bars (try Joyce is Not Here for jam nights and live gigs) to faux-English pubs where trivia, pints and sport are on tap.
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.
It’s a balmy evening and Central Hong Kong’s mid-level escalators are a blessing for those of us silly enough to walk the steep streets in high heels. I’m perspiring by the time we arrive at the sign-less blue door next to the Anchor’s Point pub.
We push aside thick drapes and enter a dimly lit room, Feather Boa, a private club where the décor is as quirky as its service. Think French boudoir drapes, grandma’s favourite lampshade and scowling waitresses who slap the cocktail glasses on the tables. But with daiquiris served in glasses the size of soup bowls, there’s one reason the club is popular.
The hotel club lounge
You could party for months in a different bar or club each day. But if you’re looking for something a bit calmer, another way to enjoy Hong Kong’s night life is to stay in a hotel with an executive club lounge.
Hotel Club lounges in Hong Kong are extremely competitive. Most offer refreshments and snacks as part of the package.
Christina Pfeiffer was a guest of Langham Hotels
Discover Hong Kong
Langham Hotel, Hong Kong, 8 Peking Road, Tsimshatsui, Kowloon, ph +852 2375 1133, has a European-chic Langham Club lounge decorated with tweed from Chanel and curtains from Saville Row. The elegant décor includes hand-embroidered wall panels created by a lingerie designer and an antique mahogany table used by 18th-century English landlords to file receipts.
A Symphony of Lights is on at 8pm each night.
Aqualuna sails five times a night from Tsim Sha Tsui and Central, HKD180 (adults), HKD 150 (children).