Here’s something to add about the nightlife in Hong Kong that you might not find in your travel guide.
Although most guides will point you toward Lan Kwai Fong and SoHo (South of Hollywood St.) for a night out, many locals look down on those bars — literally. After work, office workers head to the nearest boutique bar — basically a small, trendy lounge blaring top 40 — in one of the hundreds of nondescript office buildings. Some are in the same building as their offices. I’m told Tokyo has a similar scene (Kentaro, can you confirm?).
So it wasn’t surprising to go to one last night and see a group of 20-something guys drinking and smoking and huddled around their computer studying a spreadsheet. It probably wasn’t the roster for their softball team.
You definitely need to know a local to guide you through these boutique bars. What’s cool was how each time the elevator stopped for other people, it revealed a boutique bar or a restaurant or a karaoke bar (the boutique bar I went to was on the 27th floor). I’d like to imagine that at 8 p.m. every night a cadre of workers dismantle the office’s cubicles and equipment to erect a fancy bar in its place. Kind of like when an arena switches from a basketball court to a stage for the Ringling Brothers circus.
I also went back to Lan Kwai Fong in Central last night. After paying an exorbitant amount for drinks at a hotel bar, the night ended with a torrential downpour. The bars were closing and it was a mad scramble for people looking for cover or a taxi. The hotel front desk was selling umbrellas for $100 HK — capitalism at work.
Here’s a short video I took — the guy in the Superman T-shirt is soaked. At least the rain was warm, it probably felt like taking a shower.