Despite its small size, Hong Kong’s many neighbourhoods each offer a distinct character and mood, which makes the city perfect for fresh dates that keep your Tinder game from becoming routine. To this end, we’ve crafted a date itinerary for each district so that you can impress your romantic companion each and every time.
What to do: Brunch
Meeting point: Kennedy Town MTR station, exit B
Where to go: Make a beeline to Waffling Beans, which serves some of the best sweet and savoury Belgian waffles in town, perfect for picky eaters. Afterwards, amble by the praya and take in the harbour views before stopping at % Arabica for a casual caffeine fix. Now, turn the corner and head to Slowood, an airy, zero-waste grocery store, where you can suss out your partner’s environmental credentials among aisles of organic oats and artisanal kombucha. If you need to make a quick exit, the MTR station is just down the road; but if you want to extend the date just a little bit longer, convince your partner to take a short minibus trip to the Sai Wan Swimming Shed to watch what will undoubtedly be a very memorable sunset.
Sai Ying Pun
What to do: Heritage tour
Meeting point: Sai Ying Pun MTR station, exit B2
Where to go: Sai Ying Pun is Hong Kong’s oldest neighbourhood, which makes it a boon for history buffs. Head to the Conservancy Association Centre for Heritage (CACHe), housed in the 1920s-era Old Tsan Yuk Maternity Hospital, which regularly hosts exhibitions, workshops, walking tours and talks that raise awareness of the historical importance of the neighbourhood and its architecture and heritage family businesses. If your thirst for knowledge hasn’t subsided yet, take the escalator to Books & Co. and meander through the bookshelves overflowing with second-hand tomes. End the afternoon with a generously-sized gin and tonic inside the cavernous Ping Pong 129, or a tiki cocktail at Potato Head.
What to do: Boutique shopping and gallery-hopping
Meeting point: Sheung Wan MTR station, exit B
Where to go: Start off at the Asia Art Archive, which is home to a trove of art and photography books, as well as hosting the occasional artist- and curator-led talk. Then, spend your time meandering together around the immediate vicinity of Tai Ping Shan Street, which is filled with all manner of art galleries (Soluna Fine Art for contemporary Korean art; Blue Lotus Gallery for photography; Over The Influence for an international scope), boutiques, vintage shops and cafes – the beauty of this neighbourhood is in the act of discovery. To end, retire to Bibo for a glass of red in an evocative space filled with a who’s who of street art.
What to do: Dinner and drinks
Meeting point: Central MTR station, exit G
Where to go: The bread and butter of dating doesn’t have to be stale. Begin by soaking in the views over a Hidden Gem cocktail at Bar De Luxe, opened by renowned Tokyo bartender Hidetsugu Ueno. Then, fulfil the dinner reservation for two you made at British restaurant Statement, which offers atmospheric views of Tai Kwun’s historic courtyard (make sure to book a patio table). Order the signature Aberdeen Angus beef roast carved table-side, washed down with cocktails from the neighbouring The Dispensary. And, as the night winds down, whisk your companion for a dram over at Ginger Whisky Bar, a hidden speakeasy just off the quiet Gough Street.
What to do: Furniture shopping
Meeting point: Causeway Bay MTR station, exit E
Where to go: Recreate the famous IKEA scene from 500 Days of Summer not in Causeway Bay’s own overcrowded branch, but just a stone’s throw away in Fashion Walk within the decidedly more chic interiors of Galleon, a designer home goods store heavy on Japanese and Scandinavian furniture. Carry on the pantomime at Franc Franc or Ashley Furniture Homestore before settling down for a sweet snack at Eat Darling Eat, a dessert shop from the minds behind Foxglove. Afterwards, stretch those legs out with a short walk to Tai Hang, where you’ll find the small but eclectic Kanamono hardware store, which stocks a selection of hard-to-find, Japanese-themed tools and interior fittings.
Tsim Sha Tsui
What to do: The tourist route
Meeting point: Main entrance of Harbour City, near Star Ferry pier
Where to go: Hongkongers might avoid Tsim Sha Tsui like how New Yorkers steer clear of Times Square, yet the newly revamped Avenue of Stars gives more than enough reason to get reacquainted with this side of the harbour. Meet your date for sundown drinks and panoramic harbour views on the wraparound terrace at Paper Moon in Harbour City, before making your way to the wonderfully rustic Chesa in the basement of The Peninsula for Swiss-style cheese fondue. Make sure to settle the bill before 8pm as you’ll want to catch the kitschy yet spectacular Symphony of Lights show by the harbour. Afterwards, explore the new Avenue of Stars together, which only recently reopened to the public after a 3-year-long renovation; and make a final stop at Butler, a discreet Japanese cocktail bar where white-suited barmen can whip up a seasonal cocktail on the spot according to your preferences.
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CreditHeader image: A still from 'Already Tomorrow in Hong Kong' (Sedgmoore Pictures, 2015)