Hong Kong Nightlifeby mo on 02/24/2012
Time for Party Mode.
After extensive googling and asking friends, it became clear that the two party places to check out in Hong Kong are Wan Chai and Lan Kwai Fong. Wan Chai is semi-chill and LKF is very dance/clubby, so it makes sense to hang out in Wan Chai on the weekdays and LKF on the weekends (it is slightly RIDICULOUS on weekends). Also stay tuned for a romantic picnic spot and some incoherent sentences about the highest bar in the world.
Wan Chai – just go to Carnegie’s and dance on the bar
Wan Chai is kinda old, grungy in a good way, and full of ex-pat bars and topless bars — it’s got a red-lighty history but seems tame these days. There are people out and about any night of the week, up and down Lockhart Road, but it can be sort of a weird crowd. Lots of older ex-pat dudes in groups, sometimes accompanied by local and/or southeast asian ladies (prostitutes? probs). Outside each nude bar was always a little old asian lady sitting there, but she didn’t do much to try and solicit us in. Not really our scene, old white dudes and hookers.
For a more student-aged crowd, follow the internet’s advice and go to Carnegie’s on a Tuesday or Wednesday (why YES, they DO have an angelfire website!)
But be warned: as soon as you step inside Carnegie’s, you will no longer be in Hong Kong, but in total ex-pat/exchange-student/traveler’s Narnia. White people THEY ARE EVERYWHERE.
For my Lund friends, Carnegie’s is just like stepping inside of VGs on Wednesdays / Kalmars on Tuesdays (all exchange students all the time!) Seriously, the resemblance was eerie…
Same playlist /waka waka.
Same demographics (Australians, New Zealanders, and Germans, I swear you’re EVERYWHERE.)
Same “It’s Tuesday And Therefore We Must Party” attitude.
Also, Carnegie’s is apparently THE ONLY PLACE.
I went there both Tuesdays, and then after the horse races in Wan Chai (a Wednesday), the exchange students we had just met and were hanging with were like,
“We’re going out in Wan Chai, want to come?”
“Maybe, where to?”
“Carnegie’s, where else?!”
SERIOUSLY??? I have been in this country for seven days and already know to be affectionately annoyed that we always go to that place. (Like I said, it’s Hong Kong VGs.)
So the deal with Tuesdays is that vodka-based drinks cost 10 HKD = $1.25, so yes, people are ordering (and consuming) in bulk. I wouldn’t wear my favorite shoes.
The other deal with Carnegie’s is that when the clock strikes midnight, you are GETTING ON THAT BAR and doing it Katy Perry style.
MIDNIGHT. And life is like this.
When you’re done getting your Sexy And You Know It on, go get keBABs at Ebeneezer’s with everyone and scream and shout, then hop in a cab and go home. Good job, you’ve just Wan Chai’d.
Lan Kwai Fong – Let’s cram all the party of Hong Kong into a two block radius.
I have never seen a more densely-packed party district. You sort of wonder what the point of having streets is, and then you remember that if there were no streets there wouldn’t be enough room for people to stand. This place is INFESTED with partiers on Fridays and Saturdays.
When you see this mural, you know you’re basically in the right place. (It’s not that hard though, go to Central and follow the exits to Lan Kwai Fong).
If it’s a weekday, you can chill at any of the numerous bars and sit outside people-watching. No bars really seem to have doors/very many walls, everything is very open and inside/outside run together. It’s seriously tiny, but everything is a bar or a club. Illustrated by this really wonky map of LKF.
If it’s Friday or Saturday though, not a lot of sitting will be going on because this will be happening:
I think it would be physically impossible to go to LKF and go to *a* bar. First of all, it’s totally unclear sometimes where one bar starts and another one ends, due to the general lack of storefronts/walls, and second of all, it’s a party tidal wave and you’d best just ride it out, wherever the current takes you.
Case in point, we stopped into one bar, Stormies, because we were mildly overwhelmed and this place looked relatively empty/calm. Then:
Me: “This looks like a chill place. Let’s just stop here and get a beer.”DJ: “EVERYONE IN THE BAR GETS FREE SHOTS”Cue “Shots” by LMFAO.
— Robert Boyce (@rboyce) February 10, 2012
I’m not sure I’ve ever seen bartenders pouring shots DIRECTLY into PEOPLE’S MOUTHS from the liqueur bottles before. Like, ALL CASUAL and stuff too. We spent a lot of time on this trip trying to identify precisely where the Zombie epidemic would start in Hong Kong, and in retrospect I think Lan Kwai Fong is a likely candidate. Zombies take note: start the apocalypse on a Saturday night.
I was told by an internet friend to go to Beijing Club, but when Boyce and I got in line there, we were shuffled by a bouncer to a different line a block away, for Magnum Club. Turns out this is a new place (looks like it opened in the past few months), so maybe that’s why they herded us that way.
Although the streets of Lan Kwai Fong were filled with trashy, trashed white people (the young ex-pats strike again), once we got into the club it was suddenly 100% well-dressed Chinese twentysomethings. We were literally the only non-Chinese people we saw for the next three hours. But if these people were never in the LKF street crowd, WHERE WERE THEY? And how did they even get to the club?!?!
Entering the club was as Twilight Zone-y as entering Carnegies in Wan Chai was, but in reverse: going from ex-pat zombie crowd -> Chinese mob.
The club itself was a well-executed, definition-of-club type club: club music, club lights, club outfits, club djs. I was really excited when they played Knife Party because that song is a) ridiculous, b) involves The Internet and blocking people on Facebook, c) Zombie-apocalypse appropriate, and d) danceable in a cray way.
Queue the several hours of dancing. I wasn’t sure how into dancing Hong Kong peeps would be, but this crowd did not disappoint. They seemed like young professionals (lots of suits) rather than students, which isn’t surprising considering the outrageous cover, but also mostly guys, which is REALLY surprising, considering the outrageous cover…
The Outrageous Cover:
For girls – free.
For dudes – $400 HKD = $50 USD WHAAAAAAAT (okay, not as bad since mine was free, so we split it, but STILL.)
And yet, the club was somehow FULL of dudes. Boyce didn’t feel like it was super sausage-festy, meaning there were probably girls around there somewhere who I never actually saw because I was too busy being literally swarmed by dudes. Who were unexpectedly aggressive. Not in a scary way, or anything…but just, AGGRESSIVE. One guy who I had not yet seen, talked to, or danced with, who was standing a few people away from me, shoved his phone past 3 innocent bystanders and into my face, asking for my number. WHO ARE YOU AND WHAT’S WITH THE LONG-RANGE NUMBER-GRAB ATTEMPT? Perhaps swarmy tendencies were further aggravated by me being the only foreign female in the establishment? Or maybe they were extra ragin’ because of whole $400 cover situation, who knows. Maybe this is just how things work in Hong Kong.
But so, so strange.
Eventually we left the club because it was 3:30 AM, and we hadn’t finished our LKF tour yet. We wandered into Club 97, which was a more Wan Chai style club, with a bunch of 19-year old looking dudes jumping and hitting this low-hanging vent at the back of the club for some unbeknownst reason. But it was annoying and we left, heading for old faithful 7-11, and then sat on the curb people-watching as the zombie-mob walked down the hill when 4 AM rolled around and the bars and clubs began to close.
We watched, entertained, as some dude puked down the street from us. We knew it was time to leave when a dude with a bleeding head (bottle smashed on it, perhaps?) sat down next to us to chill for a sec, with his friends. They looked harmless, but, come on, bleeding head? Cab time, BYE.
Lan Kwai Fong probably had as much party mojo as the entire city of Lund, except that it was all packed into a 2 block radius instead of distributed evenly across town. I hereby challenge all future travel destinations to outdo LKF’s ridiculousity. Best of luck.
For a Super-Romantic Evening, Head to the IFC Mall Rooftop
Okay, you’re totally overwhelmed by Carnegie’s and LKF, and it’s time for a relaxed, romantic evening. Go to the IFC Mall Rooftop and have a picnic! Stare at the view of Kowloon, and ask someone to marry you.
The chairs/tables on the roof are for the public, but there’s a real bar here too. Also, lots of color-changing lights.
Then, take pictures with the pretty lights, and call it a successful evening. The mall is open until 1 AM so you have plenty of time, and on the way out be sure to stop by the bathrooms in the mall, because they are super-nice and you can get your shoes shined in the men’s room, as reported by Bhargav.
Ozone – Highest Bar in the World
I have no more energy to write anything even partially coherent here, but it’s on the friggin’ 118th floor. Drinks cost infinity dollars, and it’s ritztastic.
Don’t go on a foggy day like we did (oops) and get no view. It could have been 118 floors underground for all we know.
Which might actually have been MORE AWESOME.
Do bring your friends to Ozone, unless you want to hang out with groups of old asian businessmen, who are the only people who can afford this place and want to be at a bar 118 floors in the sky in a district where there is nothing else going on.
So, there is fun to be had in Hong Kong. QED.