First published on 30 Sep 2010. Updated on 19 Oct 2010.
Stepping out of the madness of D’Aguilar Street and into the relaxed intimacy of this bar is a welcome relief. Once you adjust to the warm lighting, a palatial French drawing room from the past awaits (but with a mellow mix of beats and jazz instead of Bach), replete with burlesque-style curtains. This is a place tailor-made for an after-work drink, a romantic wine or, if it’s your style, a little bit of posing too. Lan Kwai Fong, G/F, 20-22 D’Aguilar St, Central (+85 2525 6628).
Hosting regular poetry readings, intimate musical performances and film screenings, Joyce doubles as a drinking hole and a rare meeting point for the arty. Its inviting blue space is filled with books and random furniture, as well as a few deliberate attempts at peculiarity, like the silver human legs masquerading as table legs and its ‘sad hour’. Soho, 38-44 Peel St, Central (+85 2851 2999).
Located right next to the Mid-Levels escalator, Staunton’s might just be the best people-watching spot in town. The steps outside make for a particularly congenial spot to linger with a beer and watch the world go by. If you get peckish, nip upstairs to Scirocco for an elevated vantage point and Mediterranean-style tapas. G/F, 10-12 Staunton St, Soho (+85 2973 6611).
This intimate den on hip Peel Street welcomes Hong Kong’s jazz royalty on a nightly basis. Within its walls, adorned with sweeping Renaissance-inspired paintings, Fresco hosts a regular rotation of jazz styles – from organ trios to rockabilly blues, classic standards to contemporary originals. And, what’s even better? It’s always free. 49 Peel St, Central (+85 2540 2046).
Hong Kong’s big clubs usually favour glitz and exclusivity over a quality music policy, but at Volar you get the best of both worlds. This multi-room subterranean labyrinth with decor that veers from industrial to fairground chic (think merry-go-round horses and popcorn machines), pump techno and electro, with big names like Boys Noize, 2manydjs and Justice having graced the decks in recent memory. Make sure you call ahead to get on the guestlist. Basement, 38-44 D’Aguilar St, Central (+85 2810 1272).