Central: Ultimate Guide

The heart of the city is home to some of its best bars, restaurants and art galleries
Tai Kwun main central block
Tai Kwun
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Known for being Hong Kong’s business and financial quarter, Central might seem a bit of bore at first, at least compared to hipper neighbourhoods like Sheung Wan or Sham Shui Po. But we’re here to dispute that. This is the place where you can find some of the best bars not just in Hong Kong but Asia. Central is a hub for stellar, world-class contemporary art galleries as well as restaurants. There’s quite a lot to pack in, but here’s just a taste of some of the best things to see, do and eat in Central.

Best things to do and eat in Central

Shopping, Vintage shops

Bang Bang 70s

icon-location-pin Sheung Wan

If you’re not down with the 2010s and you reckon you were born in the wrong era, you might want to make your way over to this funky vintage store on Aberdeen Street. There you can discover groovy clothing and memorabilia that will make you nostalgic for the days when disco was king. Forget about time machines and head to Bang Bang 70s instead.

Restaurants, Chinese

Duddell’s

icon-location-pin Central

A mix of fine art, fine dining and fine cocktails, this expansive boasts a spacious terrace and elegant interiors. The restaurant specialises in traditional Cantonese cuisine to contrast to its contemporary décor. Elsewhere, the ‘Salon’ bar serves drinks well worth taking a break from your cha siu bao for. The drinks menu recently underwent a significant revamp and is full of winners thanks to the efforts of bar manager Masumi Tomioka and beverage specialist James Barker.

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Art

H Queen’s

icon-location-pin Central

One of the newest additions to Hong Kong’s art scene, H Queen’s is a purpose-built 24-storey vertical art space in Central that houses eight world-class art galleries and auction houses, including the likes of David Zwirner, Hauser & Wirth and Pearl Lam Galleries. Experience a new way to appreciate art at these massive (by Hong Kong standards) venues and enjoy plenty of large-scale installations that wouldn’t fit in other locations. There are also plenty of fine dining eateries such as Arbour and Ecriture (pictured) to enjoy afterwards.

Things to do

Lan Kwai Fong

icon-location-pin Lan Kwai Fong

Notorious for drunken debauchery, this area needs no introduction. Lan Kwai Fong is Hong Kong’s ground zero for partying. There are more than 90 restaurants and bars packed into the neighbourhood, from classy high-end joints such as Dragon-i to pubs that are more rough around the edges. The place to go – or avoid – come Friday and Saturday nights.

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Restaurants

Lin Heung Tea House

icon-location-pin Sheung Wan

More than a century old and residing in a traditional two-storey tong lau, Lin Heung is one of the few remaining tea houses to serve dim sum via pushcart, complete with vintage hanging fans and birdcages everywhere. Head over there to sample its famous and authentic dishes – especially the lotus seed buns and steamed pork sui mai with quail eggs.

Restaurants

Little Bao

icon-location-pin Sheung Wan

Helmed by local chef May Chow – Asia’s best female chef 2017 – Little Bao is a small open kitchen eatery that serves up Chow’s trademark bao buns stuffed with fillings like braised pork belly, pickles and leeks. Aside from the eponymous speciality, the restaurant also does great small plates like its short rib pan-fried dumplings and truffle fries. Be sure to leave room for the signature dessert, too: a green tea ice cream bao served with condensed milk. 

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Restaurants

Mana! Fast Slow Food

icon-location-pin Central

On the lookout for some clean eating and delicious vegetarian fare? Mana is a cool, rustic eatery that offers vegetarian and vegan-friendly food like its custom flatbreads and famous tofu burger. All the food is served in plant-based and biodegradable containers. There’s a patio upstairs if you’re keen to sit down but most customers just grab-and-go.

Restaurants, Chinese

Mott 32

icon-location-pin Central

Home to what many claim is the best – not to mention the most expensive – char siu in Hong Kong, Mott 32 is a high-end Cantonese restaurant that serves up high-quality local dishes with Western tweaks. While the restaurant isn’t exactly wallet-friendly, the food and ambience are well worth it.

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Bars and pubs, Hotel bars

PDT (Please Don’t Tell)

icon-location-pin Central

Speakeasies may be a tired trend but PDT is a damn good cocktail bar all the same. As the Hong Kong outlet of the once ‘best bar in the world’, the menu here offers a mix of PDT standards from New York, including the Benton Old Fashioned, as well as originals designed specifically for Hong Kong. Snack on upscale bar nibbles courtesy of Richard Ekkebus of Amber.

Music

Peel Fresco Music Lounge

icon-location-pin Soho

One of Central’s most vibrant live music venues, Lan Kwai Fong’s Peel Fresco hosts regular jam sessions featuring a stream of talented jazz, blues, rock and latin bands that have no cover charge. Just buy a drink or two to support these sorts of institutions and to help keep the music free.

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Looking for other neighbourhoods to explore?

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