China. The best nightlife in Hong Kong’s Old Town Central
Cé La Vi
For the bright young man
Lan Kwai Fong’s central nightlife district can offer a messy evening or a more refined evening, depending on the establishment that attracts your attention. Cé La Vi is one of the most prestigious and highest establishments on the physical level. The main point of sale of this bar and club is its magnificent outdoor roof terrace, which allows you to soak up the glow of the surrounding buildings and watch the idlers of Lan Kwai Fong.
For the sensitive soul
Built on the top two floors of a historic pre-World War II building, Sense 99 is a city classic. Its ground floor offers unpretentious drinks, high ceilings and an original Hong Kong inspired décor: keep an eye on the beautiful original tiling. Upstairs, there is a much more intimate atmosphere, while talented (and not-so-gifted) musicians and amateurs come to scramble over the instruments that litter the room. There are almost always a few people who let themselves go, and everyone is welcome. If you have played with all your heart – or if the music becomes a little too “experimental” – then the outdoor balcony is cool, quiet place to chat in the early hours.
Bar Sake Central
For the enraged love
Bar Sake Central doesn’t seem to be in the right place for one of the most intimate and intimate holes in town. Why is that? It is hidden behind a dark curtain in a large, well-lit sales space as part of PMQ’s artistic development. But being nestled in the middle of all the stacked shelves with sake bottles and accessories is a poorly lit 16-seat room, with a constantly rotating list of Japanese sake, served in fine glassware. There is also a seasonal menu of otsumami – Japanese snacks – that will not be linked to a single cuisine, with pork belly agnolotti pasta accompanied by Cantonese style squid or tempura with fresh market vegetables. Be sure to order an unpasteurized glass of sake, as if it came directly from the brewery – herbaceous, fruity and extremely fresh.
For the mescal master
If you’re after a tequila, you’re in the wrong joint. Mezcal is the least refined and most smoky cousin of tequila. Jay Khan, owner and mezcal fanatic, regularly travels to the Mexican region of Oaxaca to find COA‘s mezcal menu of 90 people, some of whom have never crossed Mexico’s borders. There are drinks of all kinds of agave, each with a unique tasting profile. Khan even has a few bottles of Pechuga Mezcal, in which the liqueur is redistilled under the fruit, spices and – yes – a raw chicken breast. The result is a distinctly tasty tang. If you’re looking for something a little lighter in the warmth of Hong Kong, home made pineapple and fermented cinnamon tepache hits the spotlight. The same goes for Oaxacan Paloma, a mixture of mezcal, tequila and grapefruit soda, served in a glass filled with pink worm salt, which is about what you think.
For the left intellectual
Club 71 is a Hong Kong institution. Hidden in the quiet lane of Man Hing Lane, just off Hollywood Road’s Antique Dealers Street, the city’s largest anti-cultural bar has long been a favourite spot for the city’s journalists, activists and leftist writers. The bar was once called Club 64, an ironic allusion to the repression of Tiananmen Square on June 4. When he moved, he rose to 71, ironically bearing the same name after Hong Kong’s national holiday. Order a drink and take her to the large public park just outside, which is co-opted in the evening into the 71′ outdoor café. Next door, the bar T: ME (B/F, 65 Hollywood Road, Central) is one of the most welcoming gay bars in town.
The Old Man
For the cocktail connoisseur
The Old Man is inspired by Ernest Hemingway and an artistic portrait of the author despises all those who walk through the doors of this tiny and extraordinary cocktail bar. Belonging to three of the best mixologists in the city, the drinks are as Hemingway himself would have wished: strong, superb and affordable. Well, affordable for Hong Kong, anyway: all drinks cost 90 dollars (8.70 pounds), which is a rare surprise in a city where cocktails often cost twice as much. Tipples is classic with a touch: Death In The Afternoon is composed of absinthe, sparkling wine and a coconut pandan mousse, while Farewell To Arms is a fascinating plot of dirty martini, butter gin, dry vermouth, salty Pernod and nori seaweed dust.
Party spot, intellectual dives and jam sessions: the central district has an evening for all. Hong Kong’s central district is located in the very heart of the city and includes slender towers and historic buildings. It is also home to some of the city’s best nightclubs, from Lan Kwai Fong’s nightlife party to some of the most technologically advanced cocktail establishments. But what is your ideal place? Here’s everything you need to know about Old Town Central’s nightlife.
Don’t drink and drive.