A Foodie’s Guide To Tai Kwun, Hong KongWritten by Prasheena S
Hong Kong’s latest hub for arts, culture, bars and restaurants, is packed with must-visit spots. Here’s your complete guide to Tai Kwun and its best bars and restaurants.
After much waiting and even more anticipation, Hong Kong’s former Central Police Quarters reopened in 2018 as Hong Kong’s most vibrant new hub, now rebranded the Tai Kwun Centre for Heritage and Arts. A compelling mix of restored, grand colonial buildings, new, avant-garde architecture and preserved pockets of Hong Kong history, all located around an impressive, open courtyard, it is also now the most happening place in the city’s drinks and dining scene. From upscale delicacies to local favourites to glamorous cocktail lounges and friendly bars, this place has them all covered. Here is Hive Life’s guide to Tai Kwun, featuring the must-visit spots in this foodie and drinkers’ paradise.
Best Bars at Tai Kwun
If you think prison can’t be fun, you’ve clearly never stumbled across JIA Group’s unique drinking spot Behind Bars. Located in the old Police Headquarters’s old prison, this warren of interlinked prison cells and corridors feature a cool communal table and cosy booths serving up timeless cocktails.
Insider Tip: Feeling peckish? You can order food in from other JIA locations such as the delectable Old Bailey restaurant next door.
Address: G/F, E Hall, Tai Kwun, 10 Hollywood Road, Hong Kong
Open From: Tue – Thu: 4 pm – 12 am, Fri – Sat: 3 pm – 2 am, Sun: 2 pm – 12 am
Situated on Tai Kwun’s ground floor, Iron Fairies designer Ashley Sutton’s latest cocktail lounge Dragonfly is a dramatic spot to start your night out. From its standout signature cocktails such as ‘Jaded Remedy’ (Japanese plum umeshu, rum, honeydew melon juice, and shiso leaf flavours) and ‘Dragon’s Pearls’ (milk tea mixed with mandarin, gin, cognac, and pearls), to its decadent, art nouveau-style decor complete with a ceiling filled with turquoise glass lamps, this spot is a feast in every way.
Address: Shop 10, G/1, Tai Kwun, Hollywood Road, Hong Kong
Open From: Sun – Thu: 5 pm – 1 am, Fri – Sat: 5pm – 2 am
You might also like: Meet the Man Behind The Iron Fairies: Ashley Sutton
New to Hong Kong’s nightlife scene, Gishiki Lounge (meaning ritual in Japanese) is a bespoke cocktail joint serving up drinks and decor inspired by Japanese heritage. It offers only 18 exclusive drinks on its menu, each named after a Japanese “Noh Theatre” character, featuring Japanese spirits, sakes and organic wines finished off with flavoured ice blocks in the shape of Hannya masks.
Insider Tip: Impress your date with a fancy dinner at their sister restaurant Sushi Zo, a minimal ode to Omakase, before heading here for post-dinner cocktails.
Address: 01-LG103, LG1/F, Block 01, Tai Kwun, 10 Hollywood Road, Hong Kong
Open From: Stay tuned for opening hours!
Occupying one of the best spots in Tai Kwun, the Bar at Armoury is right in the middle of the action – it opens up onto the central parade ground, serving up fresh cocktails and beers to a lively post-work crowd who come for the relaxed vibe and fabulous setting. The perfect spot for an end-of-day drink, you can also indulge in some delicious bar snacks served up from the Thai restaurant Aaharn upstairs.
Insider Tip: Enjoy sundowners at the bar’s incredible, ancient-style designed terrace.
Address: G/F, Armoury Building 02, 10 Hollywood Road, Hong Kong
Open From: Sun – Thu: 10 am – 12 am, Fri – Sat & Eves of Public Holiday: 10 am – 1 am
Back in the day, the police force constructed their very own bar, and today, The Dispensary stands on the exact same spot. Displaying a strong mixture of Hong Kong’s Eastern and Western influences, you’ll find British-inspired cocktails and Chinese-inspired drinks, all served up in the bar’s elegant, Art Deco-inspired atmosphere.
Insider Tip: Our favourite? The ‘1997 Punch’ (Johnnie Walker Black Label, passion fruit, chestnut syrup, lemon juice, egg white, and soda water).
Address: Shop 01-1/F, Police Headquarters, 10 Hollywood Road, Hong Kong
Open From: 12pm – 12 am
Best Restaurants at Tai Kwun
Another masterwork by the JIA Group is Old Bailey – a high-end Chinese restaurant specialising in Jiangnan food. Head there to discover how Chef Wong Gwan Man carefully brings the traditional and quintessential taste of Jiangnan to Hong Kong with organic, carefully selected ingredients and an immaculate, modern presentation. Factor in elegant decor and a position in the JC Contemporary Building looking out over the roofs of Tai Kwun and beyond, and you have a real treat of a night out!
Insider Tip: Pay for one drink, get two. Available daily at Old Bailey from 4:30 pm – 8:30 pm!
Address: 2/F, JC Contemporary, Old Bailey Street, Hong Kong
Open From: Restaurant: Mon – Sun: 12 pm – 3 pm, 6 pm – 11 pm
Lounge: Mon – Sun: 12 pm – 11 pm
Afternoon tea, ladylike luncheons, cool cocktails or fine dining – you can do it all at Madame Fù. With its vast space located on the top floor of Tai Kwun’s Barrack Block, this sprawling restaurant was designed in the tradition of a ‘Grand Café Chinois’ and more than delivers on the glamorous front. Check out its much-Instagrammed Pink Room, its colonnade-framed verandah tables, its Library and its Fù Bar for upscale Cantonese food, great drinks and a whole load of luxurious atmospheres.
Insider Tip: We told you, it’s the best of all worlds at Madame Fù. Take pleasure in choosing from four different brunch sets (Non-alcoholic, Standard, Deluxe or Premium) and find out which suits you best here.
Address: 3/F, Barrack Block, Tai Kwun, 10 Hollywood Road, Hong Kong
Open From: Mon – Sun: 11 am – 12 am
Café Claudel is where the veritable Parisian café lifestyle meets Hong Kong. Located in a corner of the main parade ground, this relaxed, all-day dining spot serves up authentic French food and a distinctly gallic vibe. Stop by for a Croque Monsieur and an Aperol Spritz as you sit outside at its French-café-style tables and watch the world go by.
Insider Tip: Enjoy their special brunch menu on weekends and public holidays from 10 am – 4 pm.
Address: Shop 1, G08, 10 Hollywood Road, Hong Kong
Open From: Mon – Sun: 10 am – 12 am
Known for his expertise in Thai Cuisine, David Thompson is back with a bang. Aaharn goes all out on flavours with his exquisite menu where dishes are designed with a mouthful of tang that will definitely Thai you down. While building Aaharn, Thompson took every little detail into consideration right from the chic interior all the way to designing an additional vegetarian side-menu, making sure it’s a place for everyone. Head there for an exquisite dining experience around simple round tables, or head out to the terrace to enjoy a view of Tai Kwun’s courtyard below.
Insider Tip: HKD 228 for a 3-course lunch special? Not sure about you, but we’re definitely going.
Address: 1/F, Armoury Building 02, 10 Hollywood Road, Hong Kong
Open From: Tue – Sat: 12 pm – 3 pm, 6:30 pm – 12 am
Lockcha Tea House offers a wonderful taste of times gone by. Specialists in exquisite teas, this simply decorated spot searches high and low to source its teas from small farms, offering a huge selection of authentic blends alongside healthy vegetarian Dim Sum. Wholesome, healthy, and with its own special atmosphere – what’s not to like?
Insider Tip: Be sure to take part in their private tea appreciation classes that take place all year-round! Don’t forget to ring up beforehand at 2276 5777 to pre-book.
Address: G06-07, Block 01, 10 Hollywood Road, Hong Kong
Open From: Mon – Sun: 11 am – 11 pm
Looking for a fast food fix, Hong-Kong-style? Head to MaoMao Eat where you’ll find everything from instant noodles with pork satay to a glass of tung lai cha (cold milk tea). Delivered by the city’s ubiquitous fast food favourite Tsui Wah, this newly-refined concept takes Hong Kong’s most satisfying, classic dishes and serves them up in a cool, relaxed atmosphere in a corner of Tai Kwun. Need an afternoon pick-me-up? Grab your Crispy Bun served with Sweet Condensed Milk and head to one of their outdoor tables for front row seats for people watching as the world comes and goes in the courtyard before you.
Insider Tip: Have a go at MaoMao Eat’s ‘Beyond Burger’ for a healthier choice.
Address: Shop 03, G08, 10 Hollywood Road, Hong Kong
Open From: Mon – Sun: 11 am – 8 pm
Taken on by the Hong Chi Association, the HC:Bistro is a social enterprise as well as a restaurant – one that provides employment opportunities and training for employees with learning difficulties in a city where others doing the same are scarce. Factor in its artsy atmosphere and simple and delicious Western dishes – roast chicken and salad, anyone? – and you’ve got a lot of reasons to check it out.
Insider Tip: The soup of the day is a must for a hearty lunch.
Address: Shop 14-G01, G/F, D Hall, 10 Hollywood Road, Hong Kong
Open From: Mon – Sun: 11:30 am – 10 pm