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Douglas Parkes

Douglas Parkes

Articles (117)

Hong Kong’s coolest hidden alleyways

Hong Kong’s coolest hidden alleyways

Hong Kong is blessed with amazing secret islands, gorgeous beaches and brilliant hiking trails that are the envy of Time Out cities worldwide. Oddly enough, Hong Kong’s many alleways aren’t held in quite such high esteem. But if you think all alleyways are dank, dark and dangerous, then think again. The intrepid staff of Time Out have jumped oily puddles, dodged noxious bin bags and sidestepped unknown drips to locate the best secret spots in alleyways actually worth lingering in. In fact, these streets are so secret they don’t even have names...  

The best bars in Lan Kwai Fong

The best bars in Lan Kwai Fong

Love it or hate it, Lan Kwai Fong is increasingly home to a number of great bars as well as clubs. In recent years there’s been a concerted effort to raise standards in the neighbourhood – places like the departed Hong Kong Brewhouse, its floor littered with peanut shells and sticky with spilt beer, clearly represent the past. Ignore the mob out on the street or the teenagers hanging outside ‘Club 7-Eleven’, and find out for yourself by visiting one of these best bars in Lan Kwai Fong.RECOMMENDED: If you want more great drinks, check out our guide to Hong Kong’s 50 best bars. Or in case you need to sober up, try one of Central’s best coffeeshops.

The best late night Hong Kong bars

The best late night Hong Kong bars

There’s no shortage of good places to get a drink in Hong Kong. The city is home to some of the best bars and bartenders in the world, after all. But what to do if it’s reaching midnight and you’re still going strong? Fear not. Hongkongers work hard and play hard, and many excellent establishments stay open for discerning customers seeking a quality drink in the wee hours before the sun comes up. Here are the best of them.RECOMMENDED: Prefer your drinks with a view, try one of Hong Kong’s best rooftop bars.

Free things to do in Hong Kong

Free things to do in Hong Kong

We all know that Hong Kong isn’t a cheap place to live in. And with exorbitant cemetery plots, this city isn’t even an affordable place to be dead. But cheer up! There’s no need to panic when payday far away and you’re down to your last cents, as there’s a wealth of free things to do in our SAR. From free gigs at Hong Kong's best music venues to free galleries and free comedy nights, there's plenty to keep you going out every day of the week, without having to spend a cent!

The best bars in Central

The best bars in Central

Deciding on the best bar in Central is a contentious issue. While we can’t scientifically prove it, there’s probably nowhere on Earth with as many quality drinking dens just around the corner from one another as our cramped CBD. Sure, the ’hood might not have the underground kudos belonging to Hong Kong’s most hipster neighbourhoods like Sheung Wan and Sai Ying Pun, but who cares when the area is home to some of the best cocktail bars and whisky bars on the planet.Whether you’re interested in the latest meticulously made cocktail at Bar De Luxe, a fine selection of wine at La Cabane, local craft beer by the bottle at The Globe, or one of the best rooftop bars in Hong Kong like at Popinjays, you can find whatever you desire in Central. The only trouble is knowing where to start. That’s why we’ve rounded up 28 of the best bars from the neighbourhood that provide Central’s finest libations. You need never go thirsty again.

The best places to surf in Hong Kong

The best places to surf in Hong Kong

With more than one beach called Big Wave Bay, Hong Kong sounds like it was made for surfing. In truth, the waves here aren’t as colossal as at more exotic locations like Hawaii or Tahiti. Still, the origins of the sport date back at least 40 years to 1978, the year the Hong Kong Surf Club was established. Although it only lasted four years, members of the club were pioneers of a pastime that’s been gaining increasing popularity of late.If you’ve ever wanted to join the surfers you’ve seen at local beaches, or if you’re just the world’s biggest Point Break fan, now’s your chance to get involved. Winter is arguably the best time of year to surf in Hong Kong, and these are some of the best spots to ride the waves.And if surfing doesn’t strike your fancy, why not get active on one of Hong Kong’s best hikes or cycling routes? 

The best shops in Hong Kong

The best shops in Hong Kong

With a complete lack of sales tax – except on alcohol and tobacco – Hong Kong has long been famous as a shopping destination. We’ve got both great malls and fantastic street markets that are well worth shoppers’ time. But that’s not all. There’s a fantastic range of small, independent shops that are perennially interesting to browse and which fly under the radar. They deserve not to be missed and that’s why we’re featuring them here. And if all this shopping makes you hungry, remember to check out our guide to Hong Kong’s best restaurants.

The best specialist bars in Hong Kong

The best specialist bars in Hong Kong

There’s a bar in Hong Kong whatever your particular poison. Mad for mezcal? Start at Coa. Thirsty for tequila? There’s Agave for all your needs. Giddy for gin? Try John Anthony. The city’s fantastic bar scene has something for just about everyone. In years past, if you wanted a tipple, your options were limited. But as Hong Kong’s bar scene has grown and matured, so have the options available to curious drinkers. Nowadays, Hong Kong’s many fine bars cater to all sorts of different tastes, whether you prefer bourbon or saké – it’s not all just posh whisky bars and rumbunctious beer joints here. From gin palaces with hundreds of bottles of  ‘blue ruin’ to the city’s only vermouth bar, whatever your drink of choice is, we’ve found a place for you.

Volunteering in Hong Kong: local charities to support

Volunteering in Hong Kong: local charities to support

Hong Kong might well be one of the richest cities in the world but life here isn’t all about quirky cocktails and flashy dim sum. There are still many in need of assistance here. That’s not because Hongkongers are tight, in fact, we have an excellent record of philanthropy. Indeed, it’s not fundraising that’s difficult in our city but finding the time to help the individuals and charities that need it most. If you can spare time to volunteer, here are 20 small local charities that could dearly do with your assistance.

The best Hong Kong action movies

The best Hong Kong action movies

Some of Hong Kong’s most famous movies – at least abroad – belong to the action genre. Traditionally, local audiences, weaned on a diet of wuxia novels, preferred to see their heroes dispatch villains with their fists or swords. But for a decade between the mid-80s and mid-90s, guns were king. So iconic were Hong Kong’s action flicks that they became a subgenre unto themselves, sometimes called ‘heroic bloodshed’ or ‘bullet ballet’. In case you don’t know what all the fuss is about, here are 11 of the best Hong Kong action movies you need to see.RECOMMENDED: Looking for more great local movies? Try Hong Kong’s best wuxia films or romcoms.

10 things every Hongkonger has Googled at least once

10 things every Hongkonger has Googled at least once

Hongkongers pride themselves on their local knowledge, especially anything that involves getting the best value out of a situation. But our multifarious city still presents plenty of riddles. Fortunately, Google is now a thing (what impoverished lives our 20th century descendents must have lived), so whether you’re looking into real estate or figuring out a new commute, you’re not the only one taping into your smartphone to solve your problems. Here are some things we’ve all searched for at least once. And in case you need more Hong Kong life hacks, check our guide to all the free things to do in town here. 

The best mocktails in Hong Kong

The best mocktails in Hong Kong

It may not seem it in Lan Kwai Fong or Knutsford Terrace come Saturday night but low- or no-alcohol drinking is a trend gaining traction. Dry January is officially a thing and last year Heineken became the latest brewer, after the likes of Budweiser, to unveil an alcohol-free version of its beer. Even Diageo, home to Smirnoff, Guinness and Johnnie Walker, is investing in the sector, having bought a stake in Seedlip, a start-up producing a non-alcoholic spirit designed to replace gin in cocktails. Some Hong Kong bars are way ahead of the trend with excellent mocktails every bit as creative as their alcoholic offerings. Here’s where to head if you’re getting on the wagon. RECOMMENDED: Changed your mind and fancy some alcohol instead? Why not check out the best whisky, best beer bars and best gin bars in Hong Kong.

Listings and reviews (26)

The ThirtySix Bar & Co

The ThirtySix Bar & Co

3 out of 5 stars

高球雞尾酒(Highball)以烈酒為基底,混合梳打水或其他非酒精飲料,通常是 gin & tonic 又或者 Jack and coke。 兩年前﹐紐約潮人區 Williamsburg 的 Kinfolk 90 為第一家引入高球製造機(由威士忌蒸餾酒 Suntory 提供)的酒吧,短短一年,這款雞尾酒在美國竄紅,連《紐約時報》也大肆報導高球熱潮。 近年,高球雞尾酒也漸漸在香港冒起。繼去年 Black Sheep 飲食集團旗下 Fukuro 居酒屋之後,位於荷李活道的 The ThirtySix Bar 是近期城中備受注目的高球雞尾酒餐廳酒吧。儘管這裏的裝潢已改頭換面,但實際佈局幾乎跟前身的威士忌雞尾酒吧 Angel's Share 分別不大,整體配搭有點雜亂無章,如矮枱矮櫈襯深色皮梳化(疑是上手遺留);還有,當一杯製作認真的雞尾酒,放在一個會發光的杯墊上,感覺實在跟這裏優雅的氛圍格格不入。酒單簡單,主打九款的高球雞尾酒、啤酒和葡萄酒。我們先點了一款經典口味 Hojicha Mizuwari($140)。 基底用 Nikka from the Barrel,加入梳打水,黑檸檬苦精和焙茶,入口非常順滑,帶極微的氣泡,尾段滲出淡淡焙茶香,整體味道不俗,但以這個價錢來說,沒太大驚喜。The 21st Century California ($140)── 混合了Alipús San Baltazar 梅斯卡爾酒 、白可可甜酒、Rinomato Bianco、檸檬梳打水和青檸濃縮果汁,味道複雜有層次,有別於一般高球雞尾酒,以梅斯卡爾酒代替傳統龍舌蘭,更添怡人的煙燻味, 同時保留了這經典雞尾酒特色。我們最後點了一杯清爽的高球雞尾酒 Terrior($140),採用來自加州的 St George Terroir 氈酒,混入西瓜汁和梳打水,略帶草本氣息,令人一試難忘。 總括這裏的雞尾酒水準尚可,但新意欠奉,價格略嫌偏高。不過值得欣賞 The ThirtySix 以經典高球雞尾酒為主題概念,期待他們會有更多創意驚喜。

The ThirtySix Bar & Co

The ThirtySix Bar & Co

3 out of 5 stars

One of the most popular cocktail breeds in Japan, the highball is a mix of a spirit and a larger portion of a nonalcoholic mixer. While plenty of drinks fit this classification – a G&T and yes, even a Jack and coke, technically belong to this family – the highball is enjoying a new spot in the limelight, fuelled in part by the new-found popularity of the whisky highball in the United States. It started in 2017 when Williamsburg hipster hotspot Kinfolk 90 became the first bar in New York to have a highball-making machine (supplied by whisky distiller Suntory, no less). That kick-started a surge of interest in the cocktail in America and within a year, the New York Times was declaring the summer ‘highball season’. The highball trend is slowing picking up here in Hong Kong too and The ThirtySix is the newest space to jump on train, after Black Sheep’s take on an izakaya, Fukuro, beat it to the punch last year. Sitting above Hollywood Road, this new concept occupies the spot formerly belonging to whisky and cocktail bar Angel’s Share. The physical layout is nearly identical, though the décor has changed substantially. Where Angel’s Share had a uniform gentlemen’s-club vibe, The ThirtySix is a somewhat incoherent mishmash of styles. The place takes its drinks seriously but serves them on light-up coasters that look like they belong at Levels or Drop. The furniture, also, is a mix of clubby tables and stools and deep leather chairs that look like they were left behind by the previo

The Pontiac

The Pontiac

3 out of 5 stars

It’s not everyday you come across a jukebox in Hong Kong that includes the Gorilla Biscuits’ early hardcore anthem Start Today. But the Pontiac is that rare breed in this city – a grungy, down-at-heel American-style bar that looks like it would fit in just as well in downtown NYC as it does on the steep slope of Old Bailey Street. When it strikes midnight and a couple of bartenders hop on the counter to begin pouring Becherovka into patrons’ mouths, the Coyote Ugly comparisons are even harder to resist.  The bar is helmed by Beckaly Franks, a lady who’s mixed it with the best. She was formerly lead bartender at Portland’s Clyde Common, the highly respected tavern led by Jeffrey Morgenthaler, the mixologist credited with inventing barrel-aged cocktails. Beckaly is an affable hostess, one who belts out the lyrics to Livin’ on a Prayer (her and half the bar) when the track comes on and tells us ‘talk to me’ when we grab a seat at the counter. Eager to please, we ask for a Death Row ($88), an interesting sounding mix of Plantation Original Dark rum, Cynar, Carpano Antica sweet vermouth and lemon juice. Unfortunately, the drink is rather sticky and its disparate elements don’t combine well – the vermouth is overly sweet and while the Cynar leaves behind an excessively bitter aftertaste. Stung by our experiment with one of the house signatures, we opt for a classic Old Fashioned ($108). Franks checks what bourbon we’d like, but we run with her suggestion of Rowan’s Creek. It’s a mu

The Dispensary

The Dispensary

3 out of 5 stars

Contrasting details are a deliberate feature of Tai Kwun. It’s why the Victorian era Barrack Block sits a stone’s throw from the 21st-century JC Contemporary building and stark colour schemes are employed to help guests navigate the different sections of the site. It’s a theme that extends to the various bars and restaurants operating there, too. Nowhere is this more apparent than at The Dispensary. Not only is it resolutely traditional in comparison to Behind Bars and Dragonfly, but it sits in-between Aqua Group’s Sino-centric concept The Chinese Library and Statement, its western-focused restaurant.Thankfully, unlike Hugger Mugger, The Dispensary feels like its own space rather than a holding pen for either restaurant. The design is gorgeous. Occupying a spot that was formerly part of the police officers’ mess, the black and white flooring is similar to the mess’s original, and the rich blue colouring the walls is apparently inspired by old police uniforms. These are just some of the thoughtful touches that have gone into the design.Fittingly for a bar bridging an eastern and a western restaurant, the cocktail menu here is separated into a Chinese and a British collection. Flavours like mango and egg tart are present in the former while rhubarb and chestnuts feature in the latter. Starting close to home, we order a Dan Tat ($98), which takes pineapple rum and shakes it with the aforementioned egg tart, cream soda cordial and elements of lemon and nutmeg. Probably best serve

The Dispensary

The Dispensary

3 out of 5 stars

位於中環前中區警署古蹟活化項目 ── 大館內最華麗的酒吧。時尚酒吧 The Dispensary 設計融入摩登與復古韻味,酒單分為英式和中式主題,體現了大館糅合中西文化與歷史故事。雖然雞尾酒的款式不算很多,但款款都別具魅力。

The Chase

The Chase

3 out of 5 stars

If there’s one thing that the Hong Kong drinks scene suffers from, it’s pretention. It takes many forms: the establishment that masquerades as a dive bar but which charges top shelf prices, the place that claims to be a whisky bar while stocking little more than what you can buy at Wellcome, or the molecular mixology bar that’s about as inventive as washing your hands with soap.The Chase – which together with Hunter, its sister establishment upstairs, occupies the space formerly belonging to steakhouse The Shore – is a mercifully honest venue. The PR prattle may describe it as a ‘multi-faceted dining and mixology destination’ but there are no gimmicks here and the drinks menu is a straightforward list of wines, cocktails and some half-a-dozen beers. There’s plenty of room, making it ideal for groups, and The Shore’s excellent outdoor terrace remains and it’s still a great space for alfresco drinks come the cooler months in Hong Kong.There are eight cocktails on the menu – the common theme being old classics given a new spin – and we begin with a Deliciousourus ($118), a twist on the sidecar which sees applejack, crème de pêche, lemon and orange juice combined. While the original cocktail may be better, the citrus fruits play nicely together and, light and refreshing, it’s a very comfortable drink. Another Chase original, La Dolce Vita ($98) is served looking like a cross between a negroni and a cosmopolitan. Made up of gin, Aprerol, root syrup, watermelon juice and yellow cha

Distinction

Distinction

4 out of 5 stars

In the entire history of the Hong Kong Film Awards only one individual has directed back-to-back Best Film winners. And it’s not Wong Kar-wai, Tsui Hark, Ann Hui, Johnnie To or any other of the local industry heavyweights. Rather, it’s Jevons Au, whose previous works – local dystopia Ten Years and triad throwback flick Trivisa– were king in 2016 and 2017 respectively. Of course, and here’s the catch, both films were collaborative efforts made with other co-directors, and Trivisa had none other than Johnnie To guiding it as producer. Still, Au was the one constant between those two films and his newest film has been eagerly anticipated since its announcement.For his solo debut, Au has penned Distinction. The film centres on a musical being organised at a special needs school. Around this event orbit a host of characters each with their own cross to bear – the truculent student from a poor background wearied by living with his intellectually disabled brother; the teacher whose father has Alzheimer’s and who needs to move to a smaller flat to help pay for his care; the young girl studying for her DSE exams buckling under the twin pressures of her parents’ expectations and keeping up appearances alongside her rich classmates; the sunny and genuinely caring Xiao Li, a pupil shunned for her Mainland origins. The list goes on.Mercifully, Distinction never descends into misery porn the way it easily could. Although it feels contrived that no-one has it easy, each character’s burden i

Whisky & Words

Whisky & Words

4 out of 5 stars

From Mizunara to Butler to Angel’s Share, cocktail and whisky bars are dime a dozen in Hong Kong. From the best to the worst, there’s often a set template: dark wood interiors, a jazz soundtrack (if any music is tolerated at all) and, in the worst instances, an excessive solemnity that’s meant to act as a substitute for genuine sophistication. It’s a relief that Whisky & Words dispenses with these clichés.Sitting opposite Coa on the steps of Shing Hing Street, the entrance – a simple wooden door – is understated and easy to miss. A narrow bar with a pleasantly high ceiling, the interior is decked out in muted greys and faux wood decals. Pleasant lo-fi hip-hop – the employee in charge of the playlist once worked at Drop – punctuates the atmosphere, engendering a laid-back vibe absent from many bars of this sort. Another striking feature is – gasp! – a decent happy hour. If there’s anywhere else in Hong Kong we can get an Ardbeg 10 year for $60, we haven’t found it yet.Another item on the happy hour list is the Coffee Old Fashioned ($150; $88 during happy hour), which is what we start with. The menu’s description makes no mention of how the coffee flavour enters into the cocktail – it merely mentions Mitchers’s Straight Rye, orange bitters, Angostura bitters, orange peel and cherries – and the bartender is no more forthcoming, but whatever the process, it works. Unlike many coffee cocktails in town, this one is expertly balanced, the main ingredients working perfectly in tandem

Project Gutenberg

Project Gutenberg

3 out of 5 stars

Hong Kong cinema used to be famous for its originality. Nowhere made a comedy like one of Stephen Chow’s mo lei tau movies or produced films with the distinct visual style of Wong Kar-wai. Even those local elements that didn’t find favour with international critics, such as the jarring genre hopping or the rapid-fire editing, were nonetheless hallmarks of a particular Hong Kong cinematic style. What makes Project Gutenberg so disappointing is how much it borrows from Hollywood. The film’s big twist, and even its initial setup is borrowed from a certain movie that shall remain nameless, in order to avoid spoilers. That lack of originality is sad for a Hong Kong film that boasts the talents of Chow Yun-fat, Aaron Kwok and director Felix Chong, the writer of Infernal Affairs.The action begins with Lee Man (Kwok), a counterfeit artist, incarcerated in a Thai jail. He’s soon hauled out and bundled on a plane to Hong Kong to assist with an investigation looking to nail Painter (Chow), the mysterious head of a counterfeit banknote organisation of which Lee was formerly a member. With no leads and little information on Painter, the police interrogate Lee, who recounts how he met Painter and the illegal activities that followed.All the way through, there’s a nagging suspicion that this is the kind of movie that Hollywood would do better. The intricacies of crime are never explained as smoothly as, say, American Gangster; the globetrotting is never as lavish as in the Mission Impossibl

Hugger Mugger

Hugger Mugger

3 out of 5 stars

Arguably the most notable local F&B trend of the last 12 months has been bars and restaurants doubling down on the drinks side of their operations. Got yourself a popular bar? Well, why not stick another bar in there like The Lodge within The Woods, Frank’s Library within Foxglove or PDT within MO Bar. Restaurants are getting in on the act too – witness The Wilshire within Mexican eatery 11 Westside, and now Hugger Mugger, a vestibule that feeds into Pirata Group’s new Indian bistro Chaiwala.Fittingly, given a name implying secrecy, Hugger Mugger sits underground, behind an inconspicuous door on Wyndham Street, opposite the likes of Bungalow and Dragon-i. The ornate wooden doors at the far end of the room that lead into Chaiwala are the most interesting design aspect. If we hadn’t received a press release detailing the British theme we’d be hard-pressed to describe what kind of concept the bland, if pleasant, décor was in aid of.The drinks menu is more explicit, however, with its range of house specialities dedicated to famous Brits like Shakespeare, privateer Francis Drake and naturalist David Attenborough. Desiring to feel like royalty, we plump for the Buckingham Aroma ($120), dedicated to Queen Elizabeth II. A combination of Tanqueray gin, chrysanthemum wine, jasmine cordial and violette [sic] oil, it comes attractively served in a perfume bottle. A pleasant hint of perfume does indeed linger around the glass, though, thankfully, it doesn’t impact the flavour which is dom

Hugger Mugger

Hugger Mugger

3 out of 5 stars

英式酒吧 Hugger Mugger 和新派印度菜餐廳 Chaiwala 聯手合作,於每日歡樂時光5pm-7pm 特別挑選了幾款招牌小吃加入 bites 菜單內,以配合各款創新雞尾酒及葡萄酒。菜式包括佐以醃番茄蛋黃醬的 Bombay Fried Chicken、送酒一流的香口炸芝士波 Cheese Chaska 等,一律$50。

Mizunara: The Library

Mizunara: The Library

4 out of 5 stars

    The steady elevation of Wan Chai continues. While quality watering holes like Le Quinze Vins, Ham & Sherry and Djibouti have established themselves as destination bars, there’s still room for something a little more debonair, for when you feel the need for somewhere quiet and sophisticated. You know, a place to wear your pretty heels or flaunt that new money clip. Tucked away on the fourth floor of an anonymous Wan Chai commercial building, this Japanese-style bar is headed by ‘bartender-in-chief’ Masahiko Endo. Impeccably attired in a white dinner jacket and bow tie, Endo has been winning bartending competitions since 2008. More recently, in May, he was crowned both Hofex’s regional and international classic cocktail champion. The Fukuoka-native heads a pleasant space with the look of a modern members’ club – all dark wood, sharp lines and sombre upholstery. There are more than 600 whiskies on offer, including an impressive range of Japanese distilleries and lesser-seen bottles out of India and Taiwan. Still, we start with a Smokey Manhattan, one of a number of cocktails Endo has created specifically for Mizunara. A wonderful Maker’s Mark-based take on the classic, the Laphroaig-rinsed glass adds a strong campfire flavour, nicely countered by a sharp fruity edge bleeding off the skewered cherry. We follow up with a Sazerac, a cocktail rarely done well in the city, if it’s available at all. Purists might tut at Endo’s decision to use Canadian Club 12 Year whisky instead

News (131)

New cocktail bar The Wise King to open in Central this July

New cocktail bar The Wise King to open in Central this July

Following the tremendous success of 2017 newcomer The Old Man – which was named the fourth best bar in the continent by Asia’s 50 Best Bars – comes The Wise King.The concepts, despite vague similarities in name, are unrelated except for the fact that both are being headed by top local talent. Where Agung Prabowo, James Tamang and Roman Ghale made The Old Man such a success, this new cocktail bar is being headed by head mixologists and co-owners Joe Villanueva and Sandeep Kumar. Villanueva won renown as part of the team at Lobster Bar – a fixture on the World’s 50 Best Bars list – and as the first Chivas Master Competition Champion to represent Hong Kong at the global finals. For his part, Kumar is a two-time India Bacardi Grand Prix National Champion and has directed the beverage programmes at establishments like China Tang and Howard’s Gourmet.The name The Wise King comes from Alfonso X, a 13th-century king of Castile, who decreed that alcohol should not be served with food. Hence why, as well as inventive cocktails, the Staunton Street bar is serving tapas – the likes of patatas bravas, pollo kebeb and scarpetta. Speaking of cocktails, the cosy lounge environs of The Wise King will be home to concoctions like The Monti-Tipple ($108) featuring a mix of Xeco Amontillado sherry, Gin Mare, Café Vermouth and aromatic choco bitters. For something stronger, barrel-aged tipples like the Pacharán Manhattan ($98) with Woodford Rye whiskey, Blackthorn liqueur and Abott’s bitters are a

Sing your heart out at a Grease sing-along screening

Sing your heart out at a Grease sing-along screening

These summer nights deserve some summer lovin’ and if regular karaoke isn’t cutting it for you anymore, why not try belting out the hits to Grease at two special sing-a-long screenings? The highest-grossing musical of all time, Grease is returning to the big screen in celebration of the film’s 40th anniversary as part of August and September’s Life is Art film festival. There are set to be two screenings – one in August in Central at the Palace IFC and another in September over in Tai Koo. Gather your friends, dress up as a T-Bird or a Pink Lady, and belt out hits like You’re the One That I Want and Hopelessly Devoted. Tickets usually go quickly for these sorts of special screenings, so we recommend booking now. But if you want to stick to karaoke booths, remember to check out our guide to Hong Kong’s best places for karaoke.

Mong Kok’s ‘magic-themed’ Harry Potter café is being sued by Warner Bros

Mong Kok’s ‘magic-themed’ Harry Potter café is being sued by Warner Bros

Hold on to your wands, it seems Warner Bros has finally caught word of 9¾ Café. The restaurant opened in 2017, clearly taking inspiration from Harry Potter – if the name doesn’t give the game away there’s also the luggage trolley half-submerged in a wall, music from the HP movies playing over the speakers and Butterbeer on the menu.The venue claimed to be generally ‘magic-themed’, though its legality was suspect from the start, what with issues of copyright infringement. Now it seems Warner Bros is finally saying ‘expelliarmus’ to the Mong Kok venue. According to Inside Retail, the movie studio is seeking the removal of offending infringements and multiple injunctions as well as ‘an unspecified sum of damages’. Hong Kong has a number of themed eateries, but none has attracted controversy like 9¾ Café. The venue remains open for business for now but if you still haven’t checked it out and want to, you’d better head over soon.

Taipei’s Room by Le Kief is popping up in Tsim Sha Tsui for one night only this week

Taipei’s Room by Le Kief is popping up in Tsim Sha Tsui for one night only this week

In what could well prove to be one of the most exciting guest shifts all year, Seven Yi of Taipei’s Room by Le Kief is coming to the InterContinental Grand Stanford. Popping-up at the hotel’s popular whisky bar, Tiffany’s, for just one night, on Friday January 25, Yi has won plaudits in Taiwan for his ‘drinking kitchen’ which sees him distil liquids from foodstuffs like toast or grass to use in his concoctions. If that sounds a little suspect or novel for novelty’s sake, know that Yi worked at the Michelin-starred L’Atelier de Joël Robuchon Taipei for a number of years, so he’s earned his chops.Here in Hong Kong, Yi will be serving three of his signatures: Cat (pictured, featuring liquids distilled from bread and yoghurt), Makao (which contains an aboriginal spice grown only in Taiwan), Cocoa (a cocktail topped with an orange sugar flake), plus a limited edition creation made just for Hong Kong. Each cocktail will cost $118 (plus 10 percent).

Win tickets to a preview of Mary Poppins Returns

Win tickets to a preview of Mary Poppins Returns

Nominated for a clutch of Golden Globes and Bafta awards, Mary Poppins Returns is a triumphant, if belated, sequel to the 1964 original. Starring Emily Blunt as the titular British nanny, the film takes place in 1930s London, 25 years after the original film, and sees Mary Poppins returning to her former charges after tragedy strikes the family. The film has received rave reviews and Time Out called it ‘a big-hearted cinematic high’.If you’ve been dying to see it ever since it was released in the US last November, finally, now’s your chance. We’ve got 15 pairs of tickets to give away to a special advanced screening on Saturday January 19 – nearly two weeks ahead of the film’s official Hong Kong release. The screening will take place at 3pm at Movie Movie Cityplaza in Tai Koo, and to grab yourself a pair of tickets, all you need to do is answer this simple question below. The competition will close on Wednesday 16.    Loading...

Sequel to The Old Man, The Sea is scheduled to open next month

Sequel to The Old Man, The Sea is scheduled to open next month

Here’s an early Christmas present for all you cocktail connoisseurs – The Sea, the follow-up to award-winning bar The Old Man (clearly maintaining that Hemingway theme, in name at least) is finally set to open. Promising yet more quality cocktails, rumours about The Sea have existed since the opening of The Old Man back in 2017, with early whispers saying it was to be a restaurant component to sit alongside the bar. Although that never transpired, rumours about The Sea refused to die down, especially given the success of Agung Prabowo, James Tamang and Roman Ghale’s original concept on Aberdeen Street.The finishing touches are being put to the venue on Po Yan Street, which sits almost across the road from Hollywood Road Park. We’ve been told Monday January 7 is the intended opening date, so mark that in your calendars and look forward to more details nearer the time.

There’s a Korean pop-up dining experience coming to Sake Central

There’s a Korean pop-up dining experience coming to Sake Central

Following its tremendously popular Nhau Nhau pop-up last month, Sake Central has organised another tempting gastronomic crossover. This time, on Sunday December 16, coming to the kitchen in the PMQ venue is Jason Oh, a member of the ‘Kimchi Boyz’ group of Korean chefs in Hong Kong. Oh will be crafting a particularly unusual selection of pickles using Korean cooking techniques applied to Japanese ingredients that will be able from 3pm, with Sake Central opening early for the occasion.Then, from 6pm, there will be a special food menu available to order à la carte or as a set. The following dishes are included:Beef pyeon-yuk: braising beef brisket (simmered for 24 hours), beef tongue with Korean mustard sauce saladPork belly bossam: steamed pork belly, kimchi salad, and veg ssamBulgogi: stir-fry beef with soy sauce, pea leaves jangajji, and veg ssamSeafood pancake: sea food, dry scallop, and leek pancakeSeaweed chicken soup and rice: seaweed, chicken meatball soup, and multi-grain ricePrices per plate start at $120; the pickle tasting platter will also be available in the evening for $68. If the pop-up is anywhere near as popular as the Nhau Nhau one, reservations are definitely recommended to avoid disappointment.Emailreservations@sake-central.com or call 2656 6552 to save your spot.

A Johnnie Walker pop-up is coming in the New Year

A Johnnie Walker pop-up is coming in the New Year

’tis the season for merriment, and anyone who thinks they’re unlikely to get their fill throughout the holiday period can look forward to a special New Year’s present come January. An exclusive Johnnie Walker pop-up is coming to the Ritz-Carlton’s bar, Ozone. The pop-up is coming to town to celebrate the release of the whisky giant’s intriguing new release – Blue Label Ghost And Rare Port Ellen. This is a blend of (the rather expensive) Johnnie Walker Blue and Islay ‘ghost distillery’ Port Ellen, which closed in 1983. Expect ‘rolling waves of waxy citrus, rich malt and tropical fruit flavours... perfectly balanced by the distinctive maritime smokiness of Port Ellen’. As well as trying this new product, whisky fans can also try a wide range of JW’s luxury tipples.When Blue Label Ghost And Rare Port Ellen goes on sale here it is expected to cost $2,980 per bottle, so this is a good chance to get a wee dram for a lot less. No exact start date has been announced besides ‘January’ but we’ll let you know when we get confirmed details.

Time Out Hong Kong Bar Awards – Readers’ Choice winner

Time Out Hong Kong Bar Awards – Readers’ Choice winner

A big thank you to everyone who turned up for our Bar Awards party at The Pawn last night. It was a huge success as Time Out Hong Kong readers got to savour the best and brightest of our city’s bar scene – with drinks made by established names like Antonio Lai and Agung Prabowo as well as rising stars like Amir Javaid – for our first-ever Bar Awards. Magnus Ribbing of The Flying Elk. Photo: Calvin Sit There was also a special announcement on the night – the reveal of who won our Readers’ Choice award. It was a close affair but Stockton was the ultimate winner. Maximal mixologists Suraj Gurung, of Stockton, Amir Javaid from John Anthony and Magnus Ribbing from The Flying Elk celebrated by closing the event with the final guest shift of the evening. Popular newcomer Whisky & Words polling a strong second. Award winners Antonio Lai and Agung Prabowo. Photo: Calvin Sit Congratulations to all our winners and runners-up. You can read the full list here, and we’ll see you again at our Bar Awards next year by which time we hope to have recovered.

Get a free Christmas coffee at Pacific Coffee the rest of this week

Get a free Christmas coffee at Pacific Coffee the rest of this week

Christmas is coming and Pacific Coffee clearly got the memo. Thoroughly in the spirit of giving, the local coffeeshop chain is offering guests the chance to get any of its three festive specials for absolutely no charge in a special buy-one-get-one-free deal. Lasting from now until Sunday, to participate all you need to do is show you’re following the company’s Instagram account (no judging if you unfollow once you’ve got your java). The three flavours you can pick from are nougat ruby mocha, ruby matcha latte and nougat ruby latte, so we hope you’ve got a sweet tooth. Best of all, if you can’t convince anyone to go to Pacific Coffee with you, staff will happily combine two medium Christmas specials into one giant alto cup. Merry Christmas!

Antonio Lai to open Bar 309 this July

Antonio Lai to open Bar 309 this July

Hong Kong’s local mixology hero Antonio Lai – the man behind the highly regarded Quinary and Origin, among others – is set to open his first new bar in almost three years. Located within boutique hotel The Pottinger, Bar 309 is likely the biggest new local bar opening of the year and is Lai’s first venture since partnering with Vicky Cheng on VEA Lounge back in 2015. The establishment will sit on the third floor of The Pottinger hotel and while not a speakeasy, is said to be accessible ‘by invitation only’. Patrons must check-in at ‘The Reception’ in order to get a key card that will allow them access to the intimate space which will seat no more than 20. Once nestled inside, visitors can look forward to personalised cocktails courtesy of Lai (as executive mixologist) and bar manager Hungie Fong of The Envoy, Lai’s other establishment in the hotel.Scheduled to open in late July, we’ll be first in with a reservation and review when Bar 309 opens. Here’s hoping it lives up to Lai’s typically high standards.

Our new issue is out tomorrow!

Our new issue is out tomorrow!

Holidays are coming, and that means a new issue of Time Out Hong Kong is on its way too. In our winter issue, we reveal the winners of our Bar Awards 2018, from the number one bar in town to our favourite eco-conscious spot. Get your tickets now to our celebratory party on December 5 where we’ll be toasting the winners and sampling custom cocktails courtesy of special guest shifts.Elsewhere in the issue we’ll be providing you some Christmas inspiration with a special gift guide for foodies and a look at Hong Kong’s best furniture stores. There’s a look at the history of Shaw Brothers, which is celebrating its 60th anniversary, and we get a professional’s guide to simple exercises that you can do at home to burn off any excess Chrimbo calories. There’s that, plus a look at Hong Kong’s newest music venues, what’s going on in Macau and the unusual venues doubling up as art spaces.Distribution is being staggered throughout the coming two weeks, so don’t fret if you’re out of town this week. Our free magazine will be available throughout Hong Kong at MTR stations, cafés and restaurants, hotels, residential clubs and airport lounges. Click here for a detailed list of locations so you don’t miss out.