Need to get thrifty? Look past the glistening clubs and fancy cocktail menus – drinking in Hong Kong doesn’t need to correlate with forking out lots of money. You can most certainly drink on a shoe-string budget and have fun doing so. In fact, I formed ZAVVA Shots entirely on this premise. Here’s some tips on how to enjoy a couple of beverages without breaking the bank!
Frequenting 7-Eleven, or rather Club-711 (as it’s known to its regulars), is a Hong Kong phenomenon that’s been around for as long as anyone can remember. Street drinking has become an integral part of HK nightlife. It’s the ultimate HK paradox, where professionals and students, men and women, young and old, come together, uniting for one sole purpose – to drink and be merry. And there are enough 7-Eleven’s around to pick your ‘local’. It’s inclusive, it’s inexpensive, it’s non discriminatory, and it doesn’t shut! ZAVVA shots, beers, alcopops and wine are all stocked at affordable prices. The ultimate al-fresco venue where you can treat your friends to a round of shots!
On that same note, you can also take your purchases elsewhere to some of HK’s best (free!) drinking spots. To stay in the LKF vicinity, head to the amphitheatre for a low-key set-up. Veer a little further and you have the IFC rooftop for proper chairs and tables, free to use with your BYO goods. Alternatively, watch the skyline from the waterfront promenade in Kowloon, and catch the city come to life in the ‘Symphony of Lights” show – now that’s value for money. For a bird’s eye view, pick up drinks at the Peak Galleria’s 7-Eleven. Then head a little higher than all the tourists and take the little secret (now not so secret!) side paths off of Harlech Road to a discreet spot above the clouds, at Victoria Peak highpoint. This is the perfect picnic spot (see here for other picnic locations)! For more fresh air, pick from the many beaches HK has to offer (check out our Top 5 Beaches here), and then grab a coconut and a bottle of rum to succumb to island life.
Image by Idalina Silva
Whilst Botellón literally translates to “big bottle”, you can bring any sized drink of your choice to this pre-planned open area rendezvous, characterised as being “a regular gathering for people who hunger for unusual and cool things in the city”. A big part of European culture, Botellóns have been organised here in HK as a way to bring likeminded people together in a public area to drink, listen to music, and chat. It’s very budget-friendly, easy going, and a unique way to drink in the city – join the group here!
Get your live music fix whilst enjoying a good happy hour at “The Wanch” in Wanchai. Their happy hour is from 5-9pm, nibbles are reasonably inexpensive, and better still, they don’t charge a cover for gigs.
Feeling poetic? If you recite a poem, Peel Fresco Lounge will give you a free drink on the 2-4 Wednesday of each month.
For something a little more refined, The French Window has a special Happy Hour promotion – from 6-8pm it’s just $29 (+ 10%) for your first glass of vino!
Whilst it may not be common practice to find so many “Bring Your Own Booze” outlets in HK, they do exist! And more often than not, with cheap and cheerful food to match. Take ‘Tokyo Chilli House’, ‘ABC Kitchen’ and ‘One Dim Sum’ for instance, all of which allow you to bring your own alcohol. Another good deal is ‘Sushi One’, where everything on the menu is half price after 10pm, including the alcohol! It fills up pretty quick, but there’s no harm in picking up drinks beforehand to make your wait in line more pleasurable. A quick pit stop at 7-Eleven is all you need.
Somewhat less advertised is ‘Little Sheep Hot Pot’s offer, whereby for just $18 you can drink as much Tsing Tao beer as you wish, all while the hot pot is still bubbling. Or, it’s $30 for BYO! You can also take advantage of the Dai Pai Dong’s still remaining, with most being pretty accepting of customers bringing their own alcohol to the table. Food aside, for more of party vibe, check out Premium (the old XXX in Sheung Wan), which houses some awesome events and DJs in their underground space. And if you’re looking for somewhere with a little more sophistication, try out Shelter Lounge in Sheung Wan! They haven’t got their liqueur license yet, which means you can BYOB with no corkage fee – winner. Don’t forget to try some of their delicious sharing food too. Check out some other BYOB options here…
On a different note, Take Out Comedy Club in Soho enables you to bring your own alcohol to each stand-up comedy show. Ticket prices are approximately $250, which tallies up to be a pretty good and relatively low cost evening. And if you’re really up for something different, why not try out Znozz? This unique concept offers a lounge space that anyone can rent out in the middle of Central… they’ve got a terrace too and you’re free to bring your own drinks – the ideal spot for pre-drinks (and you don’t have to worry about cleaning up someone’s flat!).
Image sourced via Pinterest
Imagine a whole evening of nightlife in our favour – well there is, two nights in fact. ‘Ladies Night’ in Wan Chai falls on Wednesdays with most of the bars along the Lockhart Road area offering free drinks for women. Champagne from Carnegies, vodka sodas from Typhoon, or how about daiquiris from Agave? Meanwhile in LKF, ‘Ladies Night’ is every Thursday. Check out the best bars to hit here!
Hong Kong Pub Crawl
If you want to drink on a budget whilst still meeting new people, then jump on board HK Pub Crawl. For just $100, you get a free shot at 4 bars, cheap drink deals of $20 beers and $30 cocktails, plus free entry into 1 club where the drink deals continue. Better still, it takes place every Thursday.
Bring the drinking to you and organise a cocktail night with your friends, chez toi! Treat it like a pot-luck; everyone brings over key ingredients for the chosen cocktail. Naturally, you’ll need to delegate this so you don’t end up with too many limes, or worse, not enough Vodka. It’s an inexpensive and fun way to enjoy a delicious cocktail, or many, with the girls. Plus, there’s no hefty bill at the end to divvy up, and you can be as rowdy as you like.
We hope you enjoy these wallet-friendly ways to drink in Hong Kong, but of course, remember to drink responsibly!
Gabriella Zavatti is the founder of our homegrown HK brand ‘ZAVVA Shots’, our former That Girl, and one half from the fashion blog duo ‘The Duality’!