HK Magazine Archive

Lan Kwai Fong's Legendary Club 97 Closes This Weekend After 34 Years

Some epic tales and fond memories of Club 97.

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 24 August, 2016, 6:35pm
UPDATED : Wednesday, 19 October, 2016, 5:23pm

Lan Kwai Fong's Club 97 will close for business this weekend on August 27, after 34 years of operation. Opened in 1982, Club 97—also known as 1997—soon became one of Hong Kong's most exclusive nightspots. Together with Disco Disco and California, 1997 put Lan Kwai Fong on the map. Back then it was a place for the city's well-heeled to mix and mingle. These days, the vibe is much more casual, though that doesn't stop it from being the origin of plenty of legendary debauchery. So, we asked and you told—here are a few anecdotes from nights at 97.

Read More: The Complete History of Lan Kwai Fong

"I first started going to Club 97 when I was a teenager. To me, it was the height of sophistication to sip on a vodka orange during a ladies-only open bar on a Thursday (why doesn't LKF do open bars anymore?). One summer, I was there with a friend from out of town. We were minding our own business during one of these open bar nights when a guy approached my friend and asked to have her panties, so he could sniff them."

You Will Meet A Tall Dark Stranger
"I got so drunk at Club 97 once that by the end of the night, I had bought a girl two Flaming Lamborghinis, made out with a Japanese dude who didn't speak a word of English, and had a local Hongkonger boy twerk against my crotch on the dancefloor. Afterwards, I ended up passed out on D'Aguilar St. at 4 in the morning, so a tall, hunky dude carried me to the taxi stand and gave the driver $300 for my ride home."

Toilet Break
"My friend and I were at 97 after spending the first part of night at a "Seven Deadly Sins" party at Play, which means we were already totally smashed. It was Thursday, which meant free Cosmos for girls at 97 which sounded like the best idea ever. My friend went to the bathroom, and I hobbled outside on my 6-inch heels to wait for her (because y'know, all those creeps who try to touch you up when they squeeze past you in the unisex toilet queue), and then I hear a HUGE cracking sound. I barge in like 'WTF is going on' and I see my friend cracking up—the urinal was smashed open. It had somehow dislodged itself from the wall when my friend slipped in the cubicle. The lady who worked there appeared and started screaming at us so I picked my friend up from the ground and we ran for our lives."

"Club 97 is where my parents met. My mom says that Club 97 used to be separated into two parts, one supposedly for board games and the other as the club (not sure if this is true, I wouldn’t trust her memory). They were connected by a ‘secret passageway’ according to her. At the time she was waitressing at the Bull & Bear in Wan Chai, and one night she went to over to the "club" part of 97 for drinks. When my Dad walked in that night, she thought “Oh my god, it’s the Asian Bryan Ferry!” which I guess means she found him very attractive. He came over to her and bought her a drink, asking whether she lived in Hong Kong and what she did. She answered with 'I’m working as a waitress in a cocktail bar' (sing to the Human League song for extra 80s points). He bought her a sweet martini and coke... apparently it was vile.

A few nights later, she was back at Club 97 and my dad walked in. She’d just been working so rushed to the bathroom to put lipstick on. She didn’t have an gel for her ‘spiky blonde’ hair so used the horrible, astringent soap so make it ‘spike’ more. When she went back into the club, two of the other guys she was seeing had arrived (such a player!). Not wanting the two other guys to notice her or each other, and wanting to go and see my dad, the bartender advised her to take the 'secret passageway' instead of walking out through the club. So, not sure if this ‘secret passageway ever existed, but she apparently used to it find my Dad again... and now I’m here."

He Stole My Headband!
"This was the age of when Blair Waldorf made headbands hot. I wore a sparkly headband once to 97, and you know how small the dance floor is there, so dancing with the strangers next to you is super easy and common. A big guy was moving very close to me and I started to dance with him for a few minutes. When I walked off to the bar my headband was gone..."

Existential Crisis
"That huge step as you go into the bar. And the other one when you exit the bathroom. Why did they exist???"