Like the Victoria Harbour light show, Hong Kong is happening every night. Nightlife in Hong Kong is, to use an expression I picked up during my Manchester uni days, next level. But also literally, since the world’s highest bar, aptly named Ozone, is on the 118th floor of the Ritz-Carlton in Kowloon. Even at lower levels, such as SEVVA on the 25th floor, the rooftop views are very impressive.
Hong Kong is divided into two parts, Kowloon and Island, with a frequent ferry between the two. First-time visitors often struggle to choose which side to stay on, but it doesn’t really matter. We stayed Island-side, which is a smidge more popular for its bars and restaurants. Island is also the expat zone and financial centre. And since everyone knows that finance guys need help spending their money, this is also where you’ll find most of Hong Kong’s high-end venues.
During a weeklong trip, however, there was only so much drinking we could do. In case you have more time, I’ve added suggestions for similar top-rated places we didn’t make it to. And if you’re wondering why not a single bar from the famous Lan Kwai Fong area made it onto my list, I’ve included an explanatory photo of LKF just below. It’s more a place where you go after drinks for dancing. We had a great time at Cassio club, ending up at Petticoat Lane!
Cafe Grey Deluxe, Admiralty
One of the most talked about places has to be Cafe Grey inside Upper House. It’s a restaurant and bar – popular for breakfast, Afternoon tea and cocktails – that undeniably has the wow-factor. Like many places in HK, it’s a bit tricky to find! Enter through Upper House Hotel next door to (not inside) Pacific Place and take the lift up to the 49th floor. Make your way down a candlelit hall and allow the oohs and ahhs of architecture and interior design appreciation to commence. The super sleek venue oozes luxury from the 14-metre-long marble bar to the high ceilings and plush furnishings. Even the bathrooms are incredible, but of course they are.
Other top picks for views: SEVVA and Cé La Vie rooftop bars and Aqua at the Intercontinental
Ophelia Speakeasy, Wan Chai
Ophelia has to be one of the most beautifully designed bars I’ve ever been to, even if they use real-life women as decor… Yes, I can hear how that sounds, but somehow it works. I want to say more about it, but think I’ll leave it as a surprise instead! The designer of the bar and concept is none other than Ashley Sutton, one of Asia’s most famous designers best known for Iron Faires and Maggie Choo’s in Bangkok. He now holds an extensive portfolio throughout Asia, including J. Borowski and Dear Lilly in Hong Kong. To find the peacock-themed speakeasy, look out for Mr Wong’s Aviary.
Other top speakeasy picks: Dr Fern’s Gin Parlour, Mrs Pound and Foxglove
Lobster Bar, Island Shangri-La Hotel
Of all the bars we tried during our weeklong stay in Hong Kong, Lobster Bar & Grill inside the Island Shangri-La Hotel had the best cocktails. No wonder it’s considered one of the best bars in Hong Kong and even Asia, at number 10 on Asia’s 50 Best Bars 2018. They were so good we couldn’t resist popping by after our dinners for a nightcap. Expertly mixed and beautifully presented, we sat at the bar and watched the mixologist work his magic. It’s a classic, lively American-style hotel bar, which also features live jazz music throughout the evening.
Also try: Ping Pong 129 Gintoneria, Blue Bar, the Quinary (with live music); VEA and the Chinnery (without)