In a city that’s always bustling with new trends and movements, things that were relevant yesterday seem to quickly fade into relics. Do you feel like old-school objects resonate more with you? No doubt, those of us that were born in the '80s, '90s or even later will always have a special place in our hearts for anything that symbolises these wonderful times. Here’s our round-up of retro-themed cafes, bars and restaurants you can find in Hong Kong to fill your old-school heart. By Cj Villanueva
Travel back in time at these retro cafes and restaurants
Into some retro neon nostalgia? Then Bound by Hillywood is the perfect place for you. This 80s themed interior cafe by day, neighbourhood bar by night located right at the border between Prince Edward and Sham Shui Po won’t be hard to miss as it’s bathed in aesthetic neon lights. You can enjoy a beer from overseas brands like Yeastie Boys and Hitachino, or grab yourself a local craft beer like Maks or Black Kite. Film cameras at the ready boys and girls, let’s take a trip back to the 80s.
Who remembers the 70s being the time of Love and Peace? Awash with plants and potteries, Mum’s Not Home is a cute little cafe owned by a couple who loves to go travel. Every time they return from a trip, they bring knick-knacks from places near and far. Apart from being a chic, bohemian cafe oozing with aesthetic, this is also a sanctuary for all people of different backgrounds, race and sexuality. Anyone can freely express themselves in this cafe while enjoying a nice cup of coffee and cakes. Maybe even a haircut for HK$50.
Craving for some American diner food with Go-kart on the side? This 1950’s diner-inspired restaurant will make you feel like you’re inside Pop’s Chocklit shop in the Archie Comics, complete with neon lights, arcade games like air hockey, claw machines and a basketball machine. After you’re done chowing down on a juicy burger with, of course, a side of chocolate milkshake, head over to the 50m race track and unleash your inner Mario. For only $69 per session (6 minutes) on the track, you and your friends will be zooming off like Sonic the Hedgehog in no time – literally.
There’s something about neon lights that just screams Blade Runner, but when you have neon lights mixed with old school Hong Kong? Well, that’s a sight to see. Adorned with old, Hong Kong-style mailboxes on the wall, a Street Fighter arcade cabinet, wet market lamps and even a fridge door leading to the toilet, you’ll find this precious little gem quietly perched along Yiu Wa Street in Causeway Bay. Serving local beer, Hong Kong snacks like Siu Mai or fishballs and a delicious variety of Taiwan delicacies. My.DEA is definitely a place where we’d gladly just hea (Canto slang for killing time) for a couple of hours.
Enjoy retro vibes at this hotpot restaurant. Decked out in furnishings inspired by 60s and 70s Hong Kong, Happy Together is a fun and photogenic setting to enjoy a steaming hot meal. The restaurant offers vats of homespun broth, which you can use to cook everything from hand-wrapped dumplings to Japanese beef. You’ll also find cool and creative dishes, such as the six-flavour Shake Shake deep-fried fish skins (no doubt inspired by McDonald’s) and old-school shrimp toast.
Tai Lung Fung hits a sweet spot when it comes to paying tribute to Hong Kong’s cultural heritage. For example, the bar’s name is derived from renowned Cantonese Opera troupe Tai Lung Fung from the 1960s and the name is now a term/slang for the showy and extravagant. Why not enjoy a Hoegaarden (sud on taps $60) inside a place where it throwbacks to the time of Doe Ching’s Love Without End (1961) with your friends while also enjoying a little taste of Hong Kong.
Feast your eyes on a modernised Bing Sutt (Ice room in Cantonese) you can find in Hong Kong. The first-ever Starbucks in Hong Kong to incorporate a theme. A Bing Sutt is a type of traditional coffee house in Hong Kong and was very popular during the 50s to 60s. From the outside, it looks like your average Starbucks shop but once you enter inside, tables, seats and booths are designed to be an exact replica of what a Bing Sutt used to look like before! Enjoy your favourite Starbucks delicacies while feeling like you’re in the 1950s in Hong Kong.