A nightlife guide to Hong Kong’s Art Week for an extra splash of colour with your drinks
After a day looking at artworks around town, you’ll probably be ready to relax and enjoy a tipple. From hotel bars to gallery bars to clubs, here are four recommended schedules for arty drinkers
Art Week has staked its claim as one of Hong Kong’s premier annual events, ranking up there with the Rugby Sevens, the Arts Festival and Clockenflap. What started life as a small contemporary art showcase has blossomed into a cultural cornerstone that locals and visitors can’t ignore.
But once the lights dim in the exhibition halls, what to do next? Here, we present four possible itineraries aimed at Art Week schmoozers.
FOR A NEARBY DRINK
You’re a mover and shaker, and you don’t have time for messing around. But in the interests of good art-world relations, drinks sometimes must be had. Here are the best spots for a quick tipple near the events.
Next door to the Convention Centre, the Grand Hyatt’s main bar is Art Basel’s premier see-and-be-seen spot, a classic hotel affair where the bubbly flows and live jazz is in the air. Order a bottle and soak in the luxe atmosphere.
Lobby, Grand Hyatt Hong Kong, 1 Harbour Rd, Wan Chai, tel: 2584 7722
Brim 28’s convenient location, just minutes from Art Basel’s Convention Centre location, makes it a popular choice, with its numerous bars. DiVino Patio is the artiest of the bunch, a sleek Italian affair where aperitivo fans spill out into its outdoor space.
Shop 11, 1/F, Causeway Centre, 28 Harbour Rd, Wan Chai, tel: 2877 3552
Pier 3 Bar & Restaurant
Most Art Basel fans will congregate at the fancy choices near the piers – such as Watermark and Pier 7 – but we recommend Pier 3 Bar, a slightly grungy local spot with a good selection of beers, cheap and greasy snacks and great harbour views.
Podium Level, Central Pier No. 3, 11 Man Kwong Street, Central, Hong Kong Island, 5188 3332
FOR ARTIST SPOTTING
For many in the arts world, an inventive interior is as important as the drinks on offer. If you’re on the lookout for visiting luminaries, gives these artistic bars a shot.
Part bar, part art gallery, Duddell’s is a Hong Kong artistic hub and should be top of your list. The spacious place offers an open terrace where contemporary faces are often found, alongside socialite-friendly lounge areas for celeb spotting.
Level 3, Shanghai Tang Mansion, 1 Duddell St, Central, tel: 2525 9191
Le Comptoir de Bibo
With works by Basquiat, Banksy and Murakami gracing its walls, Bibo is as much a gallery as it as is a restaurant – but a full dinner is a little too invasive, so stick to its bar next door at Le Comptoir instead. With art deco surroundings and numerous cocktails, it’s one of the best places to schmooze with artists.
163 Hollywood Rd, Sheung Wan, tel: 2956 3188
Thanks to a recent graffiti makeover from street artist Szabotage, hidden French bar Le Boudoir has staked its claim as one of the city’s most artistic spots. Order a creative concoction, take in the newly surreal surroundings and make a beeline for Art Week’s glitterati.
B/F, 65 Wyndham St, Central, tel: 2530 3870
FOR STRIKING THAT DEAL
The money’s being transferred, that hotly contested art piece is signed and almost delivered. Now it’s all about the final handshake – but any old bar won’t do. You need a secret spot to seal that deal.
PDT (Please Don’t Tell)
The latest speakeasy on Hong Kong’s scene is located in the Art Week-centric Landmark Mandarin Hotel – an important meeting spot for gallery owners staying as guests. Find the phone booth, enter the secret number and immerse yourself in slick drinks and cool class.
Landmark Mandarin, 15 Queen’s Rd Central, tel: 2132 0110
The Old Man
Ernest Hemingway was a notable art fan, so why not pay tribute while indulging in a tipple at this Hemingway-themed bar? With reasonable prices, creative mixes and an inviting atmosphere, it’s one of the more down-to-earth speakeasies in town.
LG/F, 37-39 Aberdeen St, Soho, Central, tel: 2703 1899
Tai Lung Fung
Keep things near Art Basel’s Wan Chai location this ode to old Hong Kong is a Wong Kar-wai fever dream located around the corner from the iconic Blue House. With a discerning crowd, nostalgia-filled design and affordable cocktails, it’s perfect for Hong Kong-focused deals.
5-9 Hing Wan St, Wan Chai, tel: 2572 0055
That viral Hong Kong miniatures artist, Joshua Smith, is coming at last to see city for real, and show new stuff in street art exhibition
FOR NOCTURNAL ANIMALS
The art is all well and good, but maybe you’re here for the parties. And with world-renowned DJs making their way to the city, who can blame you? Here are the some of the best Art Week-themed club spots.
Just up from Lan Kwai Fong, Cassio’s late-night Spanish food, airy dance terrace and cool set of Art Week DJ events makes it a go-to spot during Art Week, from March 28 to 31. Catch Seth Troxler on Wednesday, the LACMA After Party on Thursday, Gy & Friends on Friday and Blond: Ish on Saturday.
2/F, LKF Tower, 33 Wyndham St, Central, tel: 3792 0129
“Taz”, as it’s known to regular club goers, turns into an artistic hotspot for themed DJ showcases during the week, its expansive dance floor and lengthy bar keep the crowds going all night. Make your way past the surly bouncer on March 29 for an Art Week special featuring LA hip-hop DJs Deux Twins.
1/F, LKF Tower 33 Wyndham St, Central, tel: 2801 5009
Ce La Vi
For that ideal balance between chilled rooftop cocktails and pumping dance-floor tunes, head to Ce La Vi, a bar/club with arguably the best outdoor views of the city. On March 31, they’ll be capping off Art Week with DJ Ceet, an underground music figure and graffiti artist.
25/F California Tower, 30-32 D’Aguilar St, Central, tel: 3700 2300