IN CASE YOU MISSED IT

Hong Kong is party central

This story was first published in The Straits Times on March 24, 2013

Name: Mr Phillip Poon, 36, one of the founders of lifestyle management agency Massive Collective, which co-owns venues such as nightclub Mink, luxe club lounge Royal Room and modern tapas bar Foodbar Dada. It recently entered into a business collaboration with nightlife group LifeBrandz. The bachelor, who is from Australia, has been based in Singapore for more than 10 years.

Favourite city: Hong Kong

Why: I go to Hong Kong about three or four times a year because my younger brother works there and I have quite a few friends there as well.

Hong Kong is similar to Singapore in that it is very vibrant. However, it has the four seasons, which is a good change from the weather here. Its nightlife scene is interesting too, with everything centred in the main area of Lan Kwai Fong so you can club-hop easily. I have club-hopped across five or six nightspots in one night. The clubbing crowd is also older and more mature, and so there are a lot of exclusive clubs.

Favourite hotel

I am into design and architecture, so I like staying at The Upper House (Pacific Place, 88 Queensway, Admiralty, tel: +852-2918-1838, www.upperhouse.com). The modern and luxurious hotel is designed by young local design sensation Andre Fu. Fu created really interesting interiors that evoke a sense of calm. I like staying in one of the 700 sq ft studios, which is spacious by Hong Kong standards.

Favourite restaurant with a view

I go to RyuGin (101/F, ICC, 1 Austin Road West, Kowloon, tel: +852-2302-0222, www.ryugin.com.hk), the first overseas branch of the famous threeMichelin-starred Tokyo Nihonryori RyuGin. It features a spectacular view from the 101st floor of the ICC building and serves modern kaiseki cuisine consisting of items such as monkfish liver, buri (amberjack) sashimi and egg custard with sea urchin and yuba (beancurd skin). A 10-course kaiseki menu costs HK$1,980 (S$320) a person.

Where to go for comfort food

Megan's Kitchen (5/F, Lucky Centre, 165-171 Wanchai Road, Wan Chai, tel: +852-2866-8305, www.meganskitchen.com) is good for its hotpot. The soup has an interesting layer of cappuccino-like frothing. They serve fresh seafood, dumplings and have good quality meat. Budget about HK$500 a person.

For dim sum, I like to go to Fu Sing Shark Fin Seafood Restaurant (1/F, Sunshine Plaza, 353 Lockhart Road, Wan Chai). It has really good char siew that is fatty and well caramelised. I also like their BBQ pork bun. We usually spend about HK$310 a person.

Favourite bars

Sevva (Prince's Building, 25/F, 10 Chater Road, Central, www.sevva.hk) has a rooftop terrace where you can overlook the HSBC Building and Victoria Harbour. Go slightly before 8pm so you are in time to catch the daily light show. Drinks cost around HK$120.

For after-work drinks, check out Alfie's by Kee (Landmark Prince's, 10 Chater Road, Central, tel: +852-2530-4422), a gastrobar frequented by bankers in the area, or Quinary (G/F, 56-58 Hollywood Road, Central, tel: +852-2851-3223, www.quinary.hk), known for its progressive cocktails with prices from HK$90 to HK$160.

Lastly, 001, (Shop G1, LG/F, Welley Building, 97 Wellington Street, Central, tel: +852- 2810-6969) is a speakeasy located behind an inconspicuous door sandwiched between a fruit and a paper lantern stall in Graham Street wet market. The door is located near the junction of Graham Street and Queen's Road Central. Once you enter, you have to walk down a flight of stairs into the dimly lit bar. Besides its excellent cocktails, make it a point to order its grilled cheese sandwich too. Budget about HK$500 for two cocktails and some light bites. Do call to make reservations.

Where to go for pre-party bites/drinks

Yardbird (33-35 Bridges Street, Sheung Wan, tel: +852-2547-9273, www.yardbirdrestaurant.com) is a modern yakitori eatery that serves all things chicken, including the heart, liver and butt. I will usually order the chicken fillet and chicken with egg rice and chug it down with Yardbird's wide range of sake. The women will be thrilled to know that the waiters are all very good-looking too. Budget about HK$620 to HK$1,240 a person.

Casa Lounge (1/F, Wo On Building, 8-13 Wo On Lane, Central, www.casalounge.hk) is my pre-party drinking spot, and has a vibe similar to Royal Room here. It plays deejay-spun electronic dance music. Drinks cost around HK$100.

Tips for partygoers

Have a local bring you around the clubs, or else it may be hard to get into them because you need to be on a guest list or have table reservations. You cannot walk into a club like you would in Singapore. You will also need to dress up more. For the women, the typical club attire is a dress and heels. For men, no shorts and sneakers, and avoid wearing T-shirts if possible.

Favourite nightspots

dragon-i (UG/F, The Centrum, 60 Wyndham Street, Central, tel: +852-3110-1222, www.dragon-i.com.hk) is the best place to spot celebrities. I once attended a postconcert party for American rapper Kanye West there.

Down the road from dragon-i is Tazmania Ballroom (1/F, LKF Tower, 33 Wyndham Street, Central, tel: +852-2801-5009, www.tazmaniaballroom.com), a more laid-back club with sleek interiors by British designer Tom Dixon. There are gold-plated pool tables and ping-pong tables for Ping Pong Tuesdays. The pool tables are raised to the ceiling to make space for a dance floor.

Best places for bespoke apparel

Jantzen Tailor (Room 504 & 505, 5/F, On Lok Yuen Building, 25-27 Des Voeux Road, Central, tel: +852-2810-8080, www.jantzentailor.com) makes high-quality men's shirts at reasonable prices from HK$360. It is well-known among the working crowd. They use mother-of-pearl buttons and take the effort to make the patterns match at each of the folds. You can get a shirt made within two to three days.

I have my clubbing shoes custom-made at Zee's Leather Ware Co (Shop 18, G/F, 5-6 Middle Road, Tsim Sha Tsui, tel: +852-2368-2851), a more than 50-year-old establishment, for about HK$1,240. They are relatively affordable and of a decent quality, so I will not feel the pinch when I dirty them while clubbing.

Best place to buy furniture

Across the street from the famous Kau Kee noodle restaurant at 21 Gough Street at Sheung Wan lies a stretch of furniture shops such as Aluminium (Whole Building, 36 Cochrane Street, Central, tel: +852-2546-5904, www.aluminium-furniture.com), known for its designer chairs from brands such as Herman Miller and Vitra. Prices at these shops are usually about 10 to 30 per cent cheaper than those in Singapore.

hfhuang@sph.com.sg

This story was first published in The Straits Times on March 24, 2013

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