An Insider’s Guide to Central, Hong KongWritten by Arran S
There’s a whole lot more to Hong Kong’s Central district than high rises and harbour views. Check out our guide to Central for its best hotspots – from artisan coffee houses to old-school cocktail bars – to keep you entertained!
Hong Kong’s most iconic district is famous for its staggering high rises, hectic streets and tourist highlights. Look beyond the bustle, however, and you’ll find a thriving scene of excellent eateries just waiting to be discovered. Tucked away in the teeming streets just moments from the Hive Central on Queen’s Road Central are hotspots for every budget and taste. Here are our favourites!
Best Coffee Shops in Central
A stark contrast to the bustling Des Voeux Road waking up outside its doors, the small Amber Coffee Brewery is a calm and relaxing spot to kickstart your early morning adventures. Thanks to award-winning barista Dawn Chan, the coffee here has its own little twist with original and unique blends (pineapple, anyone?) and is served up alongside breakfast options perfectly suited to a morning on the go.
Insider Tip: Order the house black and you’ll get yours in a neat, sake-inspired flask.
Address: 142 Des Voeux Road, Central
Open From: Mon – Fri: 8 am – 6 pm, Sat: 9 am – 6 pm, Sun: 10 am – 6 pm
Tucked away through an inconspicuous doorway in Soho, Fineprint is the place to head for a high-end and hip coffee experience. Serving up artisanal coffee and a no-frills menu of breakfast favourites such as their much-loved avocado toast, its communal table is packed each morning with regulars who wouldn’t start their day without a pit stop here – you’ll even find some perching on the stoop. Check it out after work for an extensive wine menu, making it a great place for your more relaxed meetings as the day progresses.
Insider Tip: Happy hour runs from a generous 4 – 8 pm, Mondays to Saturdays.
Address: 38 Peel St, Central
Open From: Mon: 6 am – 6 pm, Wed: 8 am – 10 pm, Thu: 8 am – 12 am, Fri – Sat: 6 am – 12 am
Best Restaurants in Central
Kicking off with the basics, a visit to 27 Kebab House is a no-frills experience that punches well above its weight on taste. Located under Central’s escalators and a long-held local favourite, this hole-in-the-wall has been serving up classic kebabs to passing visitors, hungry workers and the late-night crowd for years. Casual, deeply satisfying and totally fuss-free, this is fast food that delivers.
Insider Tip: Stop by on your way home after a night out to keep the wolf from the door, and consider getting their chicken doner for a juicy meal.
Address: Shop D-E, G/F, 27 Hollywood Road, Soho, Central
Open From: 10 am – 6 am
Walk down adjacent Lyndhurst Terrace and you can’t miss the daily queues to be found outside the Tai Cheong Bakery. Famous for its traditional egg tarts, this spot has been a firm part of Hong Kong culture since opening its doors in 1954, dishing out sweet treats to visitors and locals who all flock here for their afternoon fix – and an Insta-worthy shot, or two.
Insider Tip: Avoid going at peak hours to skip the long queue, although it moves fast.
Address: 35 Lyndhurst Terrace, Central
Open From: 8 am – 8:30 pm
The winner of a Tripadvisor certificate of excellence for four years running, Ding Dim has made its mark as a traditional dim sum restaurant offering up simple and accessible fare. Coupling quality with reasonable prices, it’s an obvious and easy choice for anyone tempted by some Hong Kong dumplings – highlights being their classic Xiao Long Bao.
Insider Tip: The dishes here are often bigger than usual, so come hungry!
Address: 59 Wyndham Street, Central
Open From: Sun – Thu: 11 am – 9:15 pm, Fri – Sat: 11 am – 10:15 pm
Tsim Chai Kee Noodle has been around for over 20 years, making it a veritable Hong Kong institution. Inconspicuous from the outside, this tiny restaurant is frequented by locals and often only discovered by the more intrepid explorers. It’s well worth seeking out. Not only does this place serve up a slice of authentic local food culture, but its wontons are also truly delicious.
Insider Tip: Try the fish and beef ball noodles – a local favourite.
Address: 98 Wellington St, Central
Open From: 9 am – 10 pm
If you’re looking for something green and healthy, MANA! is a great bet. One of the first movers in Hong Kong’s now buzzing vegan scene, it’s also a restaurant with a firm zero-waste philosophy and commitment to sustainability. With delicious flats and juices, hearty veggie burgers and good takeaway salad options, this guilt-free hotspot sees the crowds coming lunch after lunch.
Insider Tip: There aren’t a lot of seats here so make sure you arrive early. And for a treat, check out the garlicnaise chips.
Address: 92 Wellington St, Central
Open From: 10 am – 10 pm
If you fancy Italian food before your night out in Lan Kwai Fong, Ciao Chow is a sound choice. From its streetside location at the base of California Tower and in the heart of the action, this sleek Italian-style cafeteria serves up delicious Neapolitan-style pizzas and fuss-free pasta to a relaxed, happy crowd – plus, it’s got 25 craft beers on tap.
Insider Tip: Check it out at the weekends for its well-priced brunch, serving up all the classics.
Address: G/F, California Tower, 30-32 D’Aguilar Street, Lan Kwai Fong, Central
Open From: Sun – Thu: 12 pm – 2 am, Fri – Sat: 12 pm – 4 am
Offering up the best of British cuisine, Mr Wolf is an all-day dining concept from the Castelo group that offers a stylish escape from the hectic streets below at any time of day. Open daily from 7 am, head to Mr Wolf for a hearty breakfast, or check it out throughout the day for its British bistro classics, cocktails served up from its terrace and an extremely popular weekend brunch featuring an all-you-can-eat British roast.
Insider Tip: Happy hour happens here seven days a week from 3 – 9 pm, starting at HKD 45.
Address: 5/F Crawford House, 70 Queen’s Road, Central
Open From: 7 am – 12 am
Understated from the outside but teeming with character on the inside, a visit to the New Punjab Club is a truly memorable experience. Recently awarded a Michelin star in the 2019 guide (the first Punjabi restaurant to win the accolade), the Black Sheep group’s small hotspot has quickly consolidated itself as a definitive highlight in Hong Kong’s food scene. Taking inspiration from post-colonial India and Pakistan, everything from its botanical gin and tonics to its wonderfully atmospheric decor, truly delicious dishes and traditionally-dressed doorman oozes swagger and style.
Insider Tip: It’s all about the tandoor here – and the exceptional gin and tonics.
Address: World Wide Commercial Building, 34 Wyndham Street, Central
Open From: Mon – Tue: 6 – 10:30 pm, Wed: 6 – 11:30 pm, Thu: 12 – 2:30 pm, 6 – 11:30 pm, Fri: 12 – 2:30 pm, 5 – 11:30 pm, Sat: 5 – 11:30 pm, Sun: 5 – 10:30 pm
Bringing Peruvian flavours and plenty of South American party vibes to Hong Kong, Ichu has become a firm, high-end favourite in the swanky foodie destination that is H Queen’s. From its earthy-meets-industrial space, this restaurant serves up a modern take on Peruvian cuisine – think sharing plates of delicious ceviche and mains such as banana leaf-wrapped sea bass and short ribs. Coupled with its extensive, speciality cocktail list and happening outdoor terrace where a DJ plays on well into the night, it’s a great spot for a glam night out.
Insider Tip: Take note of the Ichu Chilcanos, a signature cocktail which varies month by month according to seasonal fruits and different piscos.
Address: 3/F, H Queen’s, 80 Queen’s Road Central, Central
Open From: Mon – Thu: 12 – 2:30 pm, 6 – 10:30 pm, Fri: 12 – 2:30 pm, 6 – 11 pm, Sat: 6 – 11 pm, Sun: 6 – 10:30 pm
Best Bars in Central
For a truly original pre-dinner drinks spot, try Behind Bars, a cocktail bar located in amongst the old cells of the now-repurposed Tai Kwun Police Station. Setting itself apart from the saturation of drinking holes in the near vicinity thanks to its quirky location and sleek decor, this venture from dining empire the JIA Group serves up high-quality cocktails to guests sitting in booths housed in former cells and at a central communal table.
Insider Tip: Feeling peckish? You can order food in from other JIA locations such as the delectable Old Bailey restaurant next door.
Address: Shop 15, G/F, Barrack Block, 10 Hollywood Rd, Central
Open From: Mon – Thu: 4 pm – 12 am, Fri: 3 pm – 2 am, Sat: 2 pm – 2 am, Sun: 2 – 11 pm
Arguably one of the most welcoming bars in Central, Bobby’s Rabble prides itself on its welcoming atmosphere and anything-goes attitude. With two branches on offer, head to Wyndham Street for plenty of space, fun-loving crowds, a big selection of craft beers and live music events.
Insider Tip: Bobby’s Rabble offers a freeflow deal on Fridays at 6 – 8 pm for HKD 200.
Address: 46 Wyndham Street, Central
Open From: 5 pm – 2 am
Bringing all the colourful flavours and vibes of the Mexican street food scene to Hong Kong, Brickhouse is a reliably lively dining and cocktail experience. With its graffiti-strewn walls, delicious tostadas, and delectable margaritas, what this place lacks in formality it more than makes up for in atmosphere. Head here when it opens at 6 and stay late.
Insider Tip: Our favourite? A toss-up between their in-house-made tortillas and the Brickhouse Margarita, providing a twist on a much-loved classic.
Address: 20 D’Aguilar Street, Central
Open From: Mon – Wed: 6 pm – 2 am, Thu – Sat: 6 pm – 4 am
Looking out for a high-end bar to celebrate a special occasion, or just feeling particularly lavish? PDT, or Please Don’t Tell, at the Landmark Mandarin’s MO bar ticks all the boxes. An outpost of New York’s famous East Village cocktail lounge of the same name, this decadent, tiny drinking den houses a luxurious yet cosy bar, serving up top-class cocktails and top-notch bar snacks. The snag? Getting in. Make sure you book well in advance.
Insider Tip: To locate PDT, look for a secret telephone booth hidden above the Landmark Mandarin’s MO Bar.
Address: The Landmark, 15 Queen’s Road Central
Open From: Sun – Thu: 5 pm – 1:30 am, Fri – Sat: 5 pm – 2 am
What To Do in Central
Situated on an overpass spanning the Hong Kong hillside the length of Jubilee Street, the Central-Mid-Levels escalators are more than just a mode of transport. Providing an elevated view of the chaos below, as well as a break from all that pavement pounding, they’re the beating heart of this district and a great place to get your bearings from.
Insider tip: Keep your camera at the ready… you never know what you’re going to pass by.
Address: Jubilee Street, Central
Open From: 10:15 am – 12 am
Once the city’s Police Married Quarters, PMQ is a cultural and shopping destination packed with small, boutiquey finds and creative spots perfect for finding small gifts, trinkets and mementoes. While you’re here, 794729 Metalwork is worth a visit, producing lovely and individualised silver, copper and gold accessories, while Chailie Ho, Loom Loop, and Sake Central are other interesting boutiques. And, if all that retail therapy makes you peckish, head to Sohofama, an offshoot of Locofama, for some healthy dumplings or Jason Atherton’s Aberdeen Street Social for a cocktail and bites.
Insider Tip: There’s a lot to explore here, so consider taking a break at the Loupe Teahouse where they serve some delectable craft deserts and teas.
Address: 35 Aberdeen Street, Central
Open From: 7 am – 11 pm
Hong Kong’s latest dining and cultural hotspot, Tai Kwun on Hollywood Road reopened in May 2018 after over a decade of refurbishment. Once the city’s Central Police Station, incorporating parade ground, prison cells, offices and more, this network of stunning heritage buildings has now been restored to create a hub packed with excellent food and drinking spots, great shops and cultural exhibits. Start off your visit in the central courtyard with a cappuccino at Cafe Claudel to get your bearings before checking out the exhibitions tucked away in the complex’s corridors, exploring each floor to discover great shops and excellent dining that ranges from the fast to the fancy.
Insider Tip: Looking for a great spot for alfresco evening drinks? Tai Kwun is awash with options. Our favourite is Ashley Sutton’s Dragonfly with its utterly captivating and otherworldly green decor.
Address: 10 Hollywood Road, Central
Open From: 10 am – 11 pm
Feature image: IG: @arransaunders97
Come visit us!
the Hive Central, 14F, Manning House, 38-48 Queen’s Road Central, Central