Intimate gatherings: Hong Kong's hole-in-the-wall nightclubs
Hong Kong's biggest nightspots, such as Dragon-i and Volar, steal most of the strobe light, but dedicated clubbers are often found partying in decidedly smaller spaces. With lower rents to cover, these clubs face less pressure to appeal to the typical night owl and play the most adventurous music. Adam Wright reveals Hong Kong's five favourite hole-in-the-wall nightclubs
Midnight & Co
Now well into its 10th year, if its time spent as previous incarnation Yumla are counted, Midnight & Co is small only in size. Everything else about this nightlife institution is huge: its massive Funktion One sound system, international guest DJs and reputation for quality. We've heard rumours that the club will be changing hands, but have been assured its commitment to quality will continue.
LB/F Harilela House, Pottinger Street (back of 79 Wyndham Street), Central, tel: 2147 2012.
The popular little club, formerly known as Bassment, is easily the smallest club on this list, although a large terrace prevents it from feeling claustrophobic. The Insenses dancefloor comfortably holds about 25 people but it's often jam-packed with way more hot, sweaty partiers than that. Despite its size, Insenses has hosted big names from the world of international dance music. It attracts a friendly and open-minded crowd who are always happy to welcome newcomers.
LG/F 13 Lyndhurst Terrace, Central, tel: 2815 0868
In the 13 years since it was founded, Drop has earned a reputation as one of the best venues in Hong Kong for house music. After turning into an alleyway off the Mid-Levels escalator and descending a flight of stairs into a basement, you'll arrive in an intimate and upmarket environment that has welcomed numerous celebrities and VIPs over the years. Drop attracts a slightly older and more sophisticated crowd than most of the other venues on this list, and brings in classic DJs who have stood the test of time, rather than flavour-of-the-moment types.
B/F 39-43 Hollywood Road, Central, tel: 2543 8856
Night owls who have any recollection of the late 1990s will remember Volt as the former home of the legendary CE-Top, the den of iniquity that introduced underground club culture to Hong Kong. The space has been occupied by several venues in the years since and the latest is Volt, which hosts a range of nights including everything from salsa and indie, to drum’n’bass. It’s a little down at heel and could do with a revamp, but the no-nonsense vibe makes it conducive to everything-goes events.
3/F Cheung Hing Commercial Bldg, 37-43 Cochrane Street (entrance on Gage Street), Central, tel: 2737 2499
This ironically named nightspot took over the space occupied by XXX Gallery when the latter moved to Sai Wan. The name came about as a response to the numerous upmarket members’ clubs around town. You’ll get the joke when you walk inside: with its secondhand furniture and decorative items from flea markets. The DJs play a range of music, from contemporary electronica to disco and soul.
B/F, Fui Nam Bldg, 212 Wing Lok Street, Sheung Wan, tel: 9175 1402