Quick Guide to Hong Kong’s Girlie Bar Scene
November 10, 2011 Rozanne Woodward 0 Comments
With brand new office buildings and hotels, discos and bars, Wanchai has changed and now competes with, Tsimshatsui, Causeway Bay and Lan Kwai Fong for Hong Kong’s upwardly mobile nightlife crowd.
Nightclubs in Hong Kong are not up to American standards. Some clubs feature top names from the British and Australian nightclub circuits. We are on the ‘Sampan Route’ which takes entertainers from Singapore and Bangkok, throughHong Kong to Japan, so an act you watched elsewhere might be playing here.
Bars and restaurants open early and close at 0200 hours. There are "For Members Only" after hours clubs, but membership is easy to get. A nightclub tour is available that begins at Fenwick Pier and stops at a Kowloon nightclub with a Chinese floorshow.
Though still having many topless bars, Wanchai has undergone recent changes. Wanchai now caters more to office personnel than girlie bars.
LAN KWAI FONG NIGHTLIFE
The narrow streets of Lan Kwai Fong in Central District are filled with Hong Kong’s trendiest pubs, disco-bars and restaurants. While most are reasonably priced, some are expensive. After one night there, you’ll decide for yourself.
Most places, being restaurants as well as bars and discos, open from lunch until early A.M. Music and dancing don’t start until 20:00. Some discos open only on weekends.
Ninety percent of the bars in the Wanchai and Tsimshatsui areas are referred to as girlie bars because they employ hostesses. A bar hostess will join and is paid in the form of drinks, about one every fifteen minutes. The price of the hostess’ drink averages about HK$50.
By law, all bars must display a price list, but few patrons check them. As you become more relaxed, the prices rise.
There are two types of bars. The first is a basic bar, sometimes with live music but more often with a jukebox. Prices are reasonable. The second, the Topless Bar, has a plusher interior and sometimes a live band with much higher prices (beer: HK$45 mixed drinks: HK$40 to HK$55.) Hostess drinks cost up to HK$250.
Potato chips and peanuts ARE NOT FREE and in some bars can cost HK$30 a bowl, even if you don’t eat them.
Most bars have 10 to 15 girls. DON’T GIVE THEM MONEY. The girls have a huge capacity for ‘Hong Kong Tea’ or other drinks like Coke, 7-Up or ginger ale. They share the take at the end of the night.
Casual pick-ups in discos are the main source of disease. The girls themselves may be unaware they are disease carriers. They do not go to clinics for regular check-ups. Be careful!
Inside a topless bar, you’ll usually find an older woman watching over young women. The bar lady may be the only topless person you’ll see. Your tab is placed in a cup for payment later. Pay for your drinks as they come, even if your server insists you can pay later. A girl will join you and ask you to "buy me a lucky drink" a cold tea costing HK$110 or more.
Every ten minutes, she’ll ask for another. If you refuse firmly, she’ll move on. A bigspender attitude will bring a second girl who is also thirsty for an expensive glass of tea. Even with one girl, after an hour, you’re likely to have consumed four beers at HK$40 or more apiece, and she will have had four cold teas. That can cost you over HK$500, including service. Lose track and you could get a US$400-500 bill!
If you MUST try a "topless" bar, here’s how to avoid being ripped off. Before you go, change about HK$200-$300 into twenty dollar notes. Put the roll in a front pocket and pull out notes singly.
Be polite to everyone in these bars. Pay for drinks immediately. Don’t settle bills later. If you pay with plastic, make sure the total is right. You don’t have to buy the girl a drink!
Karaoke bars are popular with locals and Japanese tourists. Most of the music played is Cantonese. If you feel adventurous, give it a try. If you are welcome, they’ll play English language videos for you to sing along with. Many Karaoke clubs are prostitution dens in disguise, with most "singing" done in private rooms.
There are several legitimate agencies, which will supply you with a girl who will enjoy showing you around Hong Kong, going to lunch or dinner or a nightclub. Often these girls (American, English, Indian, Chinese, etc.) are secretaries or do other office jobs during the day. Fees are high and what you get is an intelligent, pretty companion for sightseeing or dinner. Escort service ads can be found in the newspapers.
The Ballrooms are expensive, charging about HK$100 to dance for 15 minutes, or the same amount to sit out the dance. Few of the girls speak English.
Except for those in big hotels, where you bring your own date, there are discotheques which have girls who’ll dance with you – at no charge, but you have to buy them drinks. Prices are even higher than in the girlie bars.
If you want a massage, there are wholesome places to go. But if the sign says Japanese, French, Thai or other exotic kinds of massage, you will be flirting with danger.