Call us controversial. Scream, shout, stamp your feet, do what you will – but Hong Kong's club scene is ghettosied, isolationist, frequently non-inclusive and, arguably most damaging of all, afraid to take risks.
There, we said it. It’s not the fault of the clubs themselves, their owners or their patrons. Rather, it’s the nature of the beast. People congregate in Central to drink and a certain kind of aesthetic is the done thing there, and what’s done there accounts for 90 percent of the city’s club scene.
However, the winds of change could be upon us with relative newcomer Ophelia showing what can be done with a high concept that still retains the essence of what a nightclub should be: unadulterated revelry. This isn’t to say the Central/SoHo/LKF mainstays everyone knows and loves are bad. In fact, they’re frequently excellent and deserve to be recognised for keeping themselves relevent.
The best repeating club nights in Hong Kong? They belong to the clubs that, first, continue to invest in people’s entertainment despite having been around for more than a decade and, second, the clubs that are trying to change how we party for the better. Enjoy.
Hong Kong’s best regular club nights
Since opening last year, Ophelia has been one of the biggest breaths of fresh air our club scene has had for some time, offering pure dance and cabaret escapism that sticks two fingers up in the face of homogeny.
It’s a purposefully over-the-top visual cacophony of intricate patterning, steampunk metal work and peacock feathers. Lots and lots of peacock feathers. Their Friday night offering has become our go-to for a night of unashamed partying – kicking off with cocktails and dance performances that boast peerless costuming, fire dancing, contortionism and acrobatics.
Once the entertainment wraps up, the spotlights dim as the venue transforms into a decadent dance club that rolls on into the wee hours with some of the best DJs from both home and away spinning top-shelf tunes.
This mammoth, 6,000sq ft nightclub has a supremo sound system, so you’re guaranteed quality clarity any night of the week. But, gun to head, Play’s Saturday night offering, Go Wild, is the pick of the bunch, having established itself as a mainstay of Hong Kong’s weekend nightlife.
The two resident DJs – Patrick Rizarri and Johnnie Darka – are a big part of the appeal. Rizzari, a multiple award winner who’s collaborated, toured and opened for Hedkandi, R3HAB and The Black Eyed Peas, spins chart hits, mash-ups and progressive house. Darka – with a decade of experience under his belt that includes a load of high-profile residencies, is your go-to man for electro house, trap, twerk, hip-hop, scratching and masterful cuts.
Permanence isn’t a word that’s synonymous with Hong Kong’s club scene. It chops and changes as arbitrarily as every other facet of food, drink and entertainment in the city. That’s what makes Volar worthy of its place on the list.
Doing business in Hong Kong’s for 12 years in a part of town that has seen countless others come and go is no mean feat. The sleek, ambient basement club has kept itself relevant to the city’s sociophiles. So, what’s their best repeating club night? Well, unless they have a special event on, any really. You kind of always know what you’re getting at Volar since it’s split into the Electronic Room and Club Room. The former pumps deep electro beats, while it’s hip-hop and R&B at the latter, meaning you’re always going to get a well-rounded clubbing experience.
We reckon Cé La Vi's crack at the hallowed ladies night is near the top of the pile among the cities litany of offerings - in part because of the amazing view the top floor offers, and the general appeal of the nibbles, tunes and drinks - whether you’re a lady or a ladette. Kick off the night with complimentary Canapés and bubbles. Then, once you’re adequately fed and watered, enjoy some Motown, funk and hip-hop tunes with resident DJ Bennie Bianco keeping things rolling into the wee hours.
From funky to deep, jackin’ to tech, massive, chunky beats are the name of the game for this Thursday mainstay. Resident DJ Craig Lopez is joined by Hong Kong’s hottest selectors to bring quality tunes to a crowd that always defies expectation by being decidedly unpretentious and eclectic, despite the pedigree of the surrounds.