The former Tai Kwun Central Police Station, now beautifully restored into a heritage and arts centre, makes an atmospheric and scenic backdrop for dinner and drinks. The complex is an intriguing mixing pot of fashion boutiques, independent art galleries and Tai Kwun Contemporary, night life, and a look into the past of the station’s use as a prison yard.
Walking around, especially at night time, the area is abuzz with incredible fine dining and live music. If you wonder what to eat or where to drink during when visiting Tai Kwun, here is the complete range of bars and restaurants for you to choose from.
The charming interior of this casual French bistro at the entrance of Tai Kwun Parade Grounds is reminiscent of a 1930s Parisian café and they have a spacious terrace on the ground floor of Tai Kwun. Classic breakfast dishes are offered from 10am to 12pm, and there’s an excellent and reasonably priced set lunch. À la carte highlights include oven baked cod fillet with fennel, asparagus and grenobloise butter or beef tenderloin with mashed potato and roasted garlic. Children are also welcome and there’s a kids’ menu available. At nighttime, the space becomes a comfortable al fresco drinks hub with charcuterie platters, mini burgers, and value-for-money beers.
Where: Shop 01-G08, Tai Kwun, 10 Hollywood Road, Central | +852 2411 1310
The stunning art noveau design at Dragonfly sets the tone for this sophisticated but laidback cocktail bar. The Instagrammable interiors are the perfect backdrop in which to indulge in some fun and creative cocktails with quirky names (‘Yum Cha with Mr Tang’ anyone?) and quirkier ingredients. There are regular live music and cabaret performances at the legendary Tai Kwun bar and Dragonfly is open until 2am at weekends.
Where: Shop 10 – G1, 10 Hollywood Road, Central | +852 2777 2633
A series of interlinked former prison cells has been turned into a cool bar where a concise selection of cocktails are served up in bottles featuring unique, funky designs. Happy hour at Behind Bars is on from Tuesday to Sunday, with drinks starting at $35 and going up in price every hour from 4pm to 8pm. This Tai Kwun bar also acts as an events space, so keep an eye on their social media for upcoming happenings.
Where: Shop 15, G/F, Barrack Block, Tai Kwun, 10 Hollywood Road, Central | [email protected]
Madame Fu – Grand Café Chinois
This sprawling 8,000 sq ft space on the third floor of Tai Kwun features 6 dining rooms, and also has delightful verandahs overlooking the parade ground. The interiors are inspired by the glamour of 1920s Shanghai and Paris, and each room has its own distinct atmosphere and style. The Grand Café, for example, has an air of colonial elegance and 1920s Parisian glamour and is the pefect for elegant fine dining. Meanwhile Fu Bar’s more masculine and casual atmosphere is great for a relaxed lunch or late night cocktails. With 6 rooms to choose from, this restaurant at Tai Kwun complex is perfect for private events. Cuisine is Chinese with Western touches in the ingredients and the dessert menu. Dim sum is on the menu for lunch and afternoon tea, and there is a decadent free-flow weekend brunch too. There is a full vegetarian menu and gluten-free menu.
Where: Shop 03-101a, Block 3, 10 Hollywood Road, Central | +852 2114 2118
The Chinese Library
One of the best restaurants in Tai Kwun and sister restaurant to the terribly British ‘Statement’, The Chinese Library is the other side of Hong Kong’s heritage coin. Conceived by aqua group founder David Yeo and inspired by his vast personal library of Chinese cookbooks, The Chinese Library showcases dishes from the diverse culinary regions of China. While paying homage to Hong Kong’s culinary heritage and regional Chinese cuisine, the menu here is not at all stuffy, and favourite dishes are given updated preparations and ingredients. Lunch is a lighter affair, including unique dim sum options such as the squid ink shrimp dumpling in lobster bisque & ginger foam or the pan-seared turnip cake with crisp palma ham. For dinner you could indulge in the sweet & sour Iberico pork with dragon fruit & caramelized cashews or try the delicious Chiuchow style flaming New Zealand rack of lamb.
Where: Shop 01-1/F, 10 Hollywood Road, Central | +852 2848 3088
Tying together two restaurants that reflect Hong Kong’s East meets West heritage is the small but perfectly formed cocktail bar, The Dispensary. This elegant Tai Kwun bar offers a collection of cocktails that bring the flavours of East and West together, which you can also take on the terrace overlooking Tai Kwun’s parade ground. Their non-alcoholic mixes are good too.
Where: Shop 01-1/F, 10 Hollywood Road, Central | +852 2848 3000
Not your average high street Thai restaurant, at Aaharn internationally celebrated chef David Thompson explores authentic Thai flavours and presents a truly elevated Thai dining experience. The chic, classic interiors set the scene for attentive service and intriguing flavours. Tempt your tastebuds with a jungle curry of red snapper with wild ginger and sour leaves and crispy perch with tamarind and chilli. Diners can choose from the à la carte or a set menu with wine pairing, which is perfect for a special occasion. Vegetarians have an extensive choice here with delicious mains such as aromatic curry of corn, potato, cherry tomato and cucumber relish and a full vegetarian tasting menu.
Where: 1/F Armoury Building, 02, Tai Kwun Centre, 10 Hollywood Road, Central | +852 2703 9111
Linked to Aaharn (Armoury is downstairs, Aaharn is upstairs) this lively bar spills out onto a terrace and into Tai Kwun’s parade ground. You’re in safe hands when hunger pangs strike with a simple but tasty menu of modern Thai bar snacks courtesy of the Aaharn kitchen team. Munch some spring rolls with prawns & Chinese chives or grab some grilled pork skewers. They also serve a simple lunch on the terrace and have happy hour daily from 3pm-8pm.
Where: G/F, Armoury Building, 02, Tai Kwun Centre, 10 Hollywood Road, Central | +852 2703 9111
Lockcha Tea House
Lokcha is passionate about tea and they make it their mission to bring us the very best, delicious, healthy and authentic Chinese teas possible. They take an interest in all stages of the tea production process, from the plantation environment through to the processing and packaging to ensure the quality is uncompromisingly high. Alongside the teas, they serve vegetarian dim sum during the day and a vegetarian set dinner priced at $328 per person. They run private tea appreciation classes at all three of their Hong Kong tea houses (the other locations are in West Kowloon Cultural District and Admiralty) all year-round. Or if you’re short for time, you can still receive a brewing demonstration for a small fee when you order your tea.
Where: 01-G07, 10 Hollywood Road, Central | +852 2276 5777
Sushi Zo has well-known venues in Bangkok, New York, and Tokyo and has landed in Hong Kong to take ‘exclusive’ dining to a whole new level. With two sittings each day (6pm-8pm and 8:30pm-10:30pm), each accommodating just 14 diners, Sushi Zo shifts the paradigm of the guest chef relationship and completely empowers the chef. The chef is entrusted to create the menu each night based on the freshest fish and ingredients, flown in daily from Japan. Food is prepared directly in front of guests at a stylish sushi bar, where diners enjoy an extremely personalised 18 dish omakase experience ($2,500 per person).
Where: LG1/F, Block 01, 10 Hollywood Road, Central | +852 2884 0114
Sushi Zo’s adjacent cocktail bar, Gishiki Lounge – meaning ‘ritual’ in Japanese – features an innovative 18-drink cocktail menu created by mixologist Billy Lau. Gishiki Lounge’s concept is based on the Japanese myth of powerful scorned women bound to inhuman form, as evidenced by the bar’s ornamental female centrepiece shown breaking free from her Hannya body and transforming into her most powerful female form. The menu features cocktails made from flavoured ice blocks pressed into the shape of Hannya masks, exclusive Gishiki label gold leaf sake and live siphon brewed spirits, served over dry ice. Alongside your cocktail you can expect a creative selection of DJs and live entertainment.
Where: Shop 01-LG103, 10 Hollywood Road, Central | +852 2884 0114
Opened in 2020 on the Parade Ground of Tai Kwun, Pazta is an al fresco Italian restaurant that has made its mark with its morning coffee, happy hour offerings, and unlimited pasta flights which allows you to order limitless servings of 10 regional pasta dishes that you can choose from a map of Italy, for just $230 per person. The hotspot also highlights excellent Italian wines and cocktails. To try multiple dishes on a budget, go for the lunch set from 12pm to 3pm (priced at $140) which comes with an appy and main plus coffee or tea.
Where: Shop 03-G08, G/F Barrack Block, 10 Hollywood Road, Central | +852 2626 1186
Cantina is aqua group’s third venture in Tai Kwun, alongside The Dispensary and The Chinese Library. Another Italian restaurant, there are a range of offerings including lunch, dinner, free-flow brunch, and a dinner tasting menu. Sample classic Italian dishes such as squid ink spaghetti, Sicilian prawn risotto, and the signature pollo alla stemperata stew (stemperata is a sauce made with capers and olives that have been stamped open to reveal their flavour) in an elegant ocean tone-forward dining room that harkens colonial style architecture.
Where: Block 01, Tai Kwun, 10 Hollywood Rd, Central | +852 2848 3000
One of the newest additions to Tai Kwun dining, having opened in May 2022, the first thing you notice when you walk into Agora is its comforting cavelike ambience. The warm beige fabric walls blend with the existing granite columns (protected by the building’s heritage status) while warming them up, while the distinct red marble tabletops, chef’s counter, and floor inject a restrained amount of colour. Besides the excellent decor, the Spanish restaurant offers seasonal tasting menus and a wine list comprised of 70% Spanish wine varieties. Dinner here is a splurge, but a worthwhile one.
Where: Shop 14, G/F, D Hall, Tai Kwun 10 Hollywood Road, Central | +852 2316 2005
Header image credits: Madame Fu