By way of introduction...
One evening, as an exercise in curiosity, I tried to count the bars, clubs, and pubs that speckle the streets running down through the areas on Hong Kong Island known as SoHo and Lan Kwai Fong. En route, I bumped into several friends, stopped for a drink and to explain what I was doing, moved on, and then met another group of chums. Shortly after midnight, someone across the table fixed me with a beady eye and slurred: “You know, you’re just playing alcohol pinball."
Verily, verily, in vino veritas. In Hong Kong you are rarely more than a few minutes’ walk or cab from yet another joint selling booze, spinning discs, and potentially sporting someone attractive and Up For It, so bouncing your way from one establishment to another takes very little brain power and “getting an early night” usually means some time before dawn. On the Island, the party zones of SoHo and Lan Kwai Fong are only five minutes’ by taxi from Wan Chai – a slightly more edgy nightlife district.
Many of the staff are Filipino or Nepali, while the clientele is a mini United Nations, principally united by a pressing need to let off steam and totally unfazed by a small bottle of beer being priced at HK$50. Despite the sea of alcohol, it’s rare to see any rough stuff, ie fisticuffs or similar. The bouncers are usually charming but of limited intellect.
While there are opportunities to kick up your heels further afield, I’ve concentrated on The Fong, SoHo and the Wanch simply because they’re so, well, concentrated. And making an educated guess at how many places there are to party therein, I’d say 342, if you include grabbing a beer at 7-Eleven and chatting to passers-by.
As with the restaurant listings, I’ve skipped hotel bars for the moment. Now run along and have fun.