Looking for a little bit extra next time you head to the pub? Maybe you’re tired of the same old night at your local, drinking pints and eating peanuts. Or perhaps your group of friends can’t seem to get past the same stale conversation over a round. There are lots of ways to spice things up, like a rousing pub quiz or entertaining open mic nights at bars across the city. Take a look!
Let’s Get Quizzical: Best Quiz Nights
Who doesn’t love a good pub quiz night? The incredibly popular UK pub fixture can also be found in several watering holes in Hong Kong, where you can test your trivia knowledge almost every day of the week. Some are goofy, some are serious (no mobile phones!) but each one is fun. Remember it’s not about who wins, it’s about hanging out with friends and having a good time…right?
White Stag does one of the more popular ones in the city, with quiz nights twice a week (Sunday and Monday from 7.30pm), where the winner gets a round of drinks. Questions are fairly easy and laughter always abounds.
Where: G/F, The Broadway, 54-62 Lockhart Road, Wan Chai
Contact: 2866 4244 or email@example.com
Rummin Tings, the bustling Caribbean bar in Central, does theirs every Monday at 8.00pm, when teams battle it out for $500 worth of bar vouchers. Losers get a free shot of rum, so it’s not all bad.
Where: G/F, 28 Hollywood Road, Central
Contact: 2523 7070 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Tuesdays at 8.00pm load up on British pub grub while seeing just how good your general knowledge is at Trafalgar. Everyone’s a winner here, with prizes for all teams that take part, and a jackpot prize of bar vouchers worth $500 for the winning team.
Where: 5/F, The Broadway, 54-62 Lockhart Road, Wan Chai
Contact: 2110 1535 or email@example.com
Mr and Mrs Fox hosts a bi-monthly quiz (check their Facebook page for dates and times) with some choice prizes like dinner vouchers, bottles of booze, a $1,000 bar tab and a trophy to show off at work the next day.
Where: 23 Tong Chong Street, Quarry Bay
Contact: 2697 8500 or firstname.lastname@example.org
McSorley’s runs a quiz night every first and third Wednesday of the month at 8.00pm. It´s always packed with the post-work Central crowd who love a good meat pie, trivia and bagging a dinner voucher prize, for more of those tasty pies down the road.
Where: G/F, 46 Staunton Street, Soho, Central
Contact: 2385 5515 or email@example.com
Old Wan Chai favourite The Queen Victoria does a Monday pub quiz at 8.30pm with rotating categories every week like ‘world leaders’, ‘royalty’ and a video round. Like most of the other quizzes, $500 in bar vouchers is up for grabs, and even those who don’t win still get a little something.
Where: 108 Lockhart Road, Wan Chai
Contact: 2529 7800 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Hong Kong’s Got Talent: Open Mic Nights
If you think you’re pretty funny, show your stuff with other budding comics at an open mic night, or sit back and have some laughs while others have a go. More of a Shakespeare than a Seinfeld? There’s an open mic night for poets too.
Yes, Hong Kong has its own comedy scene, and if you weren’t aware, BAR109’s Comedy Open Mic Mondays (in English) is a great introduction. Entry is free, drinks are cheap, and it’s pretty darn funny to witness the city’s comics testing out their latest material. Every first and third Tuesday of the month, Cantonese speakers get a dose of comedy at the Chinese Comedy Open Mic. Either way, give it a go – there’s a free beer in it for you if you go on stage.
Where: 109 Lockhart Road, Wan Chai
Contact: 2861 3336 or email@example.com
Champs Restaurant and Bar at The Charterhouse Hotel holds comedy nights once a month, with some recognised comedic talent having graced the stage such as Dwayne Perkins, Barry Hilton and Tom Cotter. Decent pub food and beer, plus plenty of hilarity, means you’re in for a good night out.
Where: 209-219 Wan Chai Road
Contact: 2833 5566 or firstname.lastname@example.org
If once in a while isn’t funny enough for you, TakeOut Comedy Club does comedy all the time. In fact, it’s billed as the first full-time comedy club in Asia. Various comedians from around the world pass through here to do shows, and there’s also an open mic night every Tuesday at 8.00pm. It’s free to perform, or $50 to just observe and chuckle with a cold one.
Where: Basement, 34 Elgin Street, Soho, Central
Contact: 6220 4436 or email@example.com
For a spot of prose during the evening, head to Social Room in Central with Peel Street Poetry. The local poetry and spoken word collective meets weekly for open mic readings at 8.00pm. Everyone is welcome, so let your inner poet shine.
Where: 3/F, Won Hing Building, 74-78 Stanley Street, Central
Contact: 2915 0373 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Who said bar games are just darts and foosball? Hong Kong bars have bowling, crazy golf and other activities for those who like their beer with a some physical entertainment, and even old-school arcades and plain old board games for chilled-out folk.
You’ll quickly become a regular at Tikitiki Bowling Bar, if not for the lively bowling at their ‘Krakatoa Lanes’, then for the gorgeous Polynesian interior and cool tropical cocktails. The lanes come alive with bright lights and a visually engaging video wall, with lots of room for a group of friends to take turns playing. Head out to the restaurant area after for island-style food and live music.
Where: 4/F, Centro, 1A Chui Tong Road, Sai Kung
Contact: 2657 8488 or email@example.com
Strokes is a 9,000 sq-ft crazy golf venue and bar/restaurant, where the food is actually restaurant-quality. The ‘green’ and ‘guilty’ food menus offer lots of options far from nachos and wings, plus delicious cocktails and artisan drinks. Take them in the retro lounge in between games of crazy golf played on one of the bright courses – ‘Palm Springs’ or ‘Coachella Valley’ – featuring loop-the-loops, tunnels and ball jumps.
Where: G2-3, 1/F, Fashion Walk, 9 Kingston Street, Causeway Bay
Contact: 2877 1800 or firstname.lastname@example.org
‘Life is like a carnival, enjoy it!’ say the gang behind the Tsim Sha Tsui venue Carnival that houses lots of gaming fun under one roof, with booze to boot. Drinks are served on festive mini merry-go-rounds and Ferris Wheels, and the overall ambiance is, well, carnivalesque, with bright lighting, bouncy music and interactive games like beer pong, and craps tables with LED lighting.
Where: 6/F, 8 Observatory Road, Tsim Sha Tsui, Kowloon
Contact: 3705 3985 or email@example.com
Bedecked in cool graffiti and tucked away on the third floor of Lyndhurst Terrace is HQ by Terrace Concepts, boasting a large space with plenty of gaming options to go along with drinks and nibbles. Play a game of pool, a round of flip or slap cup, or relive the 80s in their dedicated arcade zone, where a highlight is the Mario Kart video game in which multiple players can take the wheel.
Where: 3/F, 1 Lyndhurst Terrace, Central
Contact:2602 7118 or firstname.lastname@example.org
It may sound dull to some, but hey, some of us like an old-fashioned board game. Odd Boardgame Bar & Cafe caters to those who like their Jenga with a pint, or a tipsy game of Scrabble. Try spelling out those big words over a round of shots, smart guy.
Where: 12/F, Hanway Commercial Center, 36 Dundas Street, Mong Kok
Contact: 9884 5776
Boozy Bands: Where to Catch Live Music
There are times when you fancy a smooth whisky and some jazz, or a stiff drink with loud guitar. Aren’t you lucky, then, that Hong Kong has an eclectic mix of bars with live music on almost every day of the week for all tastes.
The Wanch has been kicking it in Wan Chai since 1987. It’s the kind of place that is anything but pretentious, where you know the music will be raw, you can dance without caring what anyone else thinks, and are guaranteed to make some new mates. The live acts rotate and are often cover bands, but once in awhile there’ll be a real gem thrown into the mix, with bands coming from all over the world to perform.
Where: 54 Jaffe Road, Wan Chai
Contact: 2861 1621 or email@example.com
If you ask anyone in Hong Kong if they know of a good bar in Kowloon, they will most likely say there’s a place in Tsim Tsa Shui that has great jazz. That place is Ned Kelly’s Last Stand, and the music is rousing Dixieland and New Orleans jazz. Greats like Rosemary Clooney and Sergio Mendes have all graced the stage here at some point, and nowadays the China Coast Jazzmen, led by Colin Aitchison, keeps them entertained. All lovers of music should come here.
Where: 12 Ashley Road, Tsim Sha Tsui
Contact: 2376 0562
One of the city’s most celebrated music locales has gone through some changes. Orange Peel is now BB Jazz Lounge and is members-only. This does make sharing the love of live music a bit harder, but membership has some perks: buy a bottle of your favourite cognac or whisky and they’ll put your name on it, so you can come in whenever you like and enjoy it. The swank club (serving items like oysters and caviar for snacks) brings in some of the top names in jazz in a very relaxed and chic setting.
Where: 2/F, Ho Lee Commercial Building, 38-44 D’Aguilar Street, Central
Contact: 2641 2880 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Another sophisticated jazz venue, this time disguised as an umbrella shop. Foxglove goes after the feel of drinking dens of the 1950s and offers a rare selection of cognac and spirits. The speakeasy serves superb cocktails and French bistro-style food in a stunning interior: gorgeous leather chairs and dim lighting invite you to relax against a sweet backdrop of live music ranging from jazz to Latin.
Where: G/F, 18 Ice House Street / 6 Duddell Street, Central
Contact: 2116 8949 or email@example.com
Jazz and whisky go hand in hand at Gecko IB Whisky & Live Jazz bar in Central. It’s intimate, meaning you’ll often be fighting for space with a saxophonist, but that’s part of the charm. After midnight, a DJ spins a different kind of sound to mix things up a bit.
Where: LG/F, Au’s Building, Ezra’s Lane, Central
Contact: 2855 9533 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Fire Up the Shisha
You’ve no doubt walked through a cloud of shisha smoke on a night out in Lan Kwai Fong. The sweet-smelling flavoured tobacco smoked in eye-catching glass pipes (also called hookahs) is enjoyed in parts of the world like the Middle East, and Hong Kong has its share of bars for sitting back and puffing away.
Probably the only shisha joint that serves bubble tea, Boba Bear started in Los Angeles´ Koreatown and has since set up shop in Seoul, and here in Causeway Bay. Shisha smoking is a serious affair at Boba Bear, with tailored pipes to choose from depending on how strong you like your pull, special add ons, and a myriad of flavours ranging from blueberry muffin to spiced chai.
Where: 30/F, 38 Yiu Wa Street, Causeway Bay
Contact: 2618 6907 or email@example.com
Vibes at The Mira is a fave bar/lounge for spreading out with a group of friends in the large open-air terrace, or having an intimate one-one-one evening in a private cabana. Lotus-shaped open fire pits, running waterways and bamboo groves will make you feel like you’re sitting in a sort of paradise, which becomes Middle Eastern-esque with belly dancing entertainment, mezze platters and shisha. Prices are steep, but at least the service is attentive (they change the charcoal frequently) and the tobacco flavours are minty and fruity fresh.
Where: 5/F, The Mira, 118 Nathan Road, Tsim Sha Tsui
Contact: 2315 5999 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Lilya brings Morocco to Hong Kong in so many wonderful ways, from the delicious tagine to a glorious wall of bright babouches (Moroccan slippers) inside. The Middle Eastern decor is straight out of Marrakesh, with short lounge tables, mosaics and silk patterned pillows. Cocktails are served in photo-worthy drinking vessels and shisha is smoked while relaxing on velvet pouffes on the terrace, in tropical flavours like pineapple and coconut.
Where: 2/F, 77 Wyndham Street, Central
Contact: 2526 2578
A prime spot for people watching from the balcony overlooking the packed streets of Lan Kwai Fong while unwinding with some shisha, Otto Lounge has sugary sweet picks like gummy bear tobacco served in Lavoo shishas. The hand-blown glass shishas are unlike the tall shisha pipe, instead low-lying in design, which apparently provides a smoother flavour. As well, it means there’s no towering shisha pipe getting in the way of conversation with friends, or checking out the animated scenery a night in LKF often brings.
Where: 4/F, 15-16 Grand Progress Building, Lan Kwai Fong
Contact: 6627 7499 or email@example.com
Drinking and Diving: Pool Parties
No, we don’t condone swimming while under the influence. We’re talking about pool parties, Hong Kong-style! This means rooftop pools with wicked views and beach-side settings boasting exquisite vistas, all equipped with top-notch bars.
Every summer, The W Hong Kong splashes out with the mother of all pool parties, and this year they’re back with the X Summer Crush Pool Party. It takes place on four dates (June 23, July 14, August 11 and September 1) with the famous WET rooftop pool, 211 meters above ground on the 76th floor, as the backdrop. Panoramic city and harbour views, DJs, Champagne, cocktails, a playful augmented reality photo booth, dazzling live performances and a poolside BBQ await.
Where: W Hong Kong, 1 Austin Road West, Kowloon Station, Kowloon
Contact: 3717 2783 or firstname.lastname@example.org
On Hong Kong’s southside, Cabana is an inviting luxury beach club with an outdoor bar and plenty of sunbeds to lounge on while taking in soothing views of the sea. The spacious (10,000 sq ft) open-air rooftop is just the ticket for some repose, where you can soak up your worries in one of the tranquil Japanese baths, or crawl away with a book in a private cabana.
Where: East Wing, L2, Shop 216, The Pulse, Beach Road 28, Repulse Bay
Contact: 2889 5939 or email@example.com
Still not sure what to do this weekend? Let us help with our comprehensive guide to what’s on around Hong Kong!
Nancy Matos is a lifestyle and culture writer from Vancouver, Canada currently based in Hong Kong and London, who always makes time for a pub quiz.