Best bars for cheap drinks
Now, if you only head out on the weekend, I have some advice for you: do not overlook the beauty of Hong Kong’s 7-Elevens and the fact that drinking in public is legal. I fear the day that I lose my honeymoon eyes for these treasure troves of bargain booze, and if you have already done so, I suggest travelling somewhere with stricter drinking laws in order to reignite the flame.
Now, considering the prices and selection at Club 7-Eleven, it’s hard to find deals that can compete. However, if you want to head out midweek on a tight budget without sacrificing a great atmosphere, these two bars have got you covered:
If you haven’t heard about Wednesdays at Devils Advocate, you’re about to be filled with regret for just about every Wednesday you’ve had in the past. For the meagre price of $20 (specifically the notes from Standard Chartered Bank), you can enjoy a generous selection of drinks from 9pm–1am. It seems too good to be true, but, by some miracle, it isn’t. Over and above this, Devils has big screens to broadcast any rugby or football that might be on, and after the game (and a couple drinks), I’m pretty sure the music won’t disappoint either. The dance floor may be small, but we trust you won’t care too much about logistics by that point.
Deal time: Wednesdays, 9pm–1am ($20 drinks with Standard Chartered notes)
48–50 Lockhart Road, Wanchai, 2865 7271
In a city with surprisingly few LGBTI-friendly bars, Petticoat Lane is at the helm for its great vibe, private location (relative to other places in the area) and – the real reason you’re reading this – the mind-blowing drink offer. On Wednesday nights (or WednesGay, as they call it), head to Petticoat for free-flow vodka after 10pm. How much is it, you ask? Absolutely free! Simply ask the bartender what’s available and, voila, regrettable levels of intoxication will appear at your fingertips. The dance floor is sure to get going as the night progresses, so don’t take advantage of the venue and overlook the party – this is the destination, not the pre-drinks. PS Petticoat Lane is welcoming to everyone, so don’t bother going if you aren’t.
Deal time: Wednesdays, 10pm–late (free vodka)
Basement, 57–59 Wyndham Street, Central, 2808 2738
Best bars if you want to treat yo’self
Every now and then, despite my student budget and better judgement, I feel I can treat myself (and manage to justify it just enough to maintain the remnants of my self-respect). These next places can give you a taste of something a bit more extravagant than what you’re used to, without breaking the bank:
This Italian-inspired restaurant in the heart of LKF is close enough to the rest of the action that, if you get a bit carried away by their happy-hour deal, the clubs are never too faraway. Their cocktails are around $100, but you can enjoy the buy-one-get-one-free deal from 5:30–7:30pm every night. They also come with a complimentary selection of antipasti, if you didn’t already feel sufficiently pampered. Mercato has a big selection to choose from, but I recommend going with one of their signature cocktails. Even if you’re not usually a cocktail fan, these Mediterranean concoctions are a treat. If you’re really looking to spoil yo’self, their food menu has also caught my eye in the past, but my wallet wasn’t complying, so you’ll have to check that one out for yourself.
Deal time: daily, 5:30–7:30pm (buy-one-get-one-free cocktails + complimentary antipasti)
Location: 8/F, California Tower, 30–32 D’Aguilar Street, LKF, Central, 3706 8567
This modern Korean spot has an interesting take on happy hour. The prices increase with every hour that passes (in suspicious unison with the degradation of my inhibitions for the night). Jinjuu’s aptly named Seoul Hour goes from 5–9pm daily, with beers and cocktails starting at $45 at 5pm. As the night goes on, the venue slowly turns up the smooth house and R&B tunes with an in-house DJ, so if you get carried away with Seoul Hour, you can stay put and keep the party going. Being a restaurant too, celebrity chef Judy Joo also ensures you don’t go hungry. The mostly Korean-inspired menu looks to bridge the traditional and the contemporary and includes full meals as well as snacks to make that Seoul Hour even more seoul-ful (think crispy Philly cheesesteak mandoo).
Deal time: daily, 5–9pm (beers and cocktails starting at $45 and increasing $10 every hour)
UG/F, California Tower, 30–32 D’Aguilar Street, LKF, Central, 3755 4868
The Pontiac, through mere appearances, doesn’t seem to be anything fancy – a casual, raunchy, rock ‘n’ roll aesthetic makes it seem anything but pretentious. The reason it makes the “treat yo’self” list, however, is for its reputation. The Pontiac is ranked 31st on Asia’s 50 Best Bars list, which is an amazing feat for a place so seemingly unassuming. Beckaly Franks, the first female mixologist to win the 42Below Cocktail World Cup, can be found behind the bar. She has worked at some of the best bars in the USA and has built quite a reputation for herself, but from the moment you sit down and get chatting with her, you’ll feel like you’ve known her for years. Her bubbly personality and top-class cocktails aren’t the only things that keep us going back for more. The atmosphere at The Pontiac is relaxed during the earlier hours, but as the night progresses, don’t be surprised to find people on the bar counter. The fully functional jukebox is also a favourite of ours, but be wary – some of the house favourites will be belted out by all present, so make sure you know the lyrics! Oh, and did I mention that the cheapest beer on the menu is only $15?
Deal time: Monday–Saturday, 5–8pm (cocktails at $50 and special prices on beers, wines and house pours)
13 Old Bailey Street, Central, 2521 3855
Keep ‘em coming!
Now, what attracts students more than the prospect of unlimited drinks? Unlimited drinks AND food! These next few places are renowned in their respective circles for their delightful food-and-drink deals, so be sure to get there early to secure a space:
The home of Hong Kong’s exchange students and international students alike, Mr Wong’s has built a reputation as a firm favourite for those on a tight budget, but with an inclination towards drinking more than this would usually allow. For $80, Mr Wong (who will surely come to chat to you at some point in the evening) will bring you endless plates of chicken wings, sweet-and-sour fish, dumplings and the like and will also give you access to his open-top fridge, filled with countless cans of beer. This venue wasn’t designed on the premise of sophistication, so expect to sit at rickety tables on plastic stools. The trip to Mongkok might seem a bit far for some, but I assure you that after one visit, you’ll be hooked. Mr Wong’s is especially buzzing at the beginning of university semesters owing to the influx of new exchanges, so if you’re looking to socialise before the night out has even started, this is the place to be.
Deal time: whenever suits you, although Wednesday and weekend evenings are recommended ($80 for unlimited food and drink, but bargain with Mr Wong if you just want to eat or just want to drink)
10 Shamchun Street, Mongkok, 2384 6833
Unlimited buffalo wings – need I say more? Not to mention the accompanying endless fries and countless beers, Linguini Fini gets happy hour right. This homey Italian venue in SoHo, renowned for its fresh homemade pasta and delectable pizza, offers you this mouth-watering deal for only $99, which lasts from 5–7pm. I’m not quite sure how the owners of LF manage to make this work, but I’m revelling in the bliss that is my ignorance, because my ignorance is accompanied by both free-flow chicken wings and beer. Another staple amongst university students, Linguini Fini manages to achieve this without compromising on quality. The chicken wings are absolutely delicious, and the fact that they are unlimited is almost too much for my cholesterol-filled heart to handle. Its convenient location also means that your Friday festivities can move over to neighbouring LKF if you really want to make it a night to remember (albeit regretfully).
Deal times: weekdays, 5–7pm ($99 for unlimited buffalo wings, fries and Pabst Blue Ribbon beer)
Location: 49 Elgin Street, SoHo, Central, 2387 6338
Looking for an all-you-can-drink special with some tantalising treats on the side that won’t leave you in a food coma? Posto Pubblico, a New York–Italian venue from the minds and hearts of two genuine New York Italians, will give you exactly that. For $189, you can enjoy unlimited beer, wine and Prosecco and a selection of Italian finger foods (think cured meats – my personal weakness). Although you’re not served a full meal, the nature of the deal is that the charcuterie and the like are unlimited, so you can still get a decent portion all to yourself if that’s the goal. This weekday deal goes from 5–7pm, so if you’re looking to get intimate with some Italian imports (I’m talking about the Parma ham), Posto Pubblico is the place to let loose (and, yes, I mean your belt buckle).
Deal times: weekdays, 5–7pm ($189 for free-flow beer, wine and Prosecco + complimentary antipasti)
28 Elgin Street, SoHo, Central, 2577 7160
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