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Bar Crawling Hong Kong

Having lived in this incredible city for a year back in 2009/2010 I feel it's a responsibility to share the setting of many a drunken night. Let’s start at the beginning; where to spend the warm-up hours.

A few quiet ones
One thing you can't help but miss in Hong Kong is the breath-taking harbour (indeed Hong Kong is Cantonese for Fragrant Harbour - something I struggle to believe was ever the case) and the best bars on the Island take advantage of this natural panorama. As you ascend the escalators of one of seemingly infinite malls in this city you won’t believe that it is home to one its best rooftop bars. Red Bar is highly recommended for any trip. It’s great for tourists, backpackers and, thanks to the local authority owning the land, is suited to any budget. As you will see when you sit at one of the tables there is a small plaque on each which says anyone can drink there. So, if you’re on a budget pop to seven eleven en-route and pick up a few Tsing-Tao’s to enjoy with one of the world’s most exclusive views.
After Red Bar, walk through the mall and head down to the waterside towards central Ferry Pier Number 3, home to another great view, live bands and unbelievably cheap beer.

Only in Hong Kong
Hidden bars’ are a concept that has been spreading since they started popping up speak-easy style in New York. Hong Kong has its own collection, my favourite of which was the Feather Boa. This venue is a tiny room, which you could easily miss unless you make a real effort to hunt it down. Don’t be afraid to open the mysterious wooden door and step through the curtains as when you enter this colonial style French cocktail lounge you will not be disappointed. Pricing is a little high for the average backpacker but it is well worth to price to know you’ve been somewhere that only the locals frequent.

Wednesday Night
Oh yes it’s ladies night – although admittedly you could not be blamed for thinking it was ladies night every night in Wan Chai, the home of our next suggestion. If you’re a woman who likes a drink in this city you are apparently in such short supply that bars are willing to ply you with free booze just to get you through the door. I spent many a happy hour with many of my more-than-happy female friends in Carnegies, an Australian bar where there is free-flowing champagne after 9pm on a Wednesday. Before you head to Carnegies we used to check out Swindler’s, which, although it looks like somewhat of a dive from the outside, often has a live band, and decent drink offers.
Wan Chai is worth a visit, even if you’re not drinking. Have a wonder through but try not to get pulled into any of the questionable strip joints by the persistent old ladies.

Clubs
I experienced a number of clubs in my time in Hong Kong but unfortunately there is a pretty high turnover of the cheaper-end of these kind of venues. ‘Club no 9’ was one of my favourites, which has apparently since closed down. However, Lan Kwai Fong is the place to go as generally there are pretty good offers touted by the promoters. Club Beijing is apparently the local celebrity hangout but I was unwilling to shell out the cover fee and so never bothered.

If you’re looking for a cheap night, every evening you will find hoards of the city’s youth simply hit up the 7-11 in the centre of Lan Kwai Fong and soak up the atmosphere in the square. Meet a few people and find out where they’re heading and you’re bound to have a far better night than if it was pre-planned.