Do I even have to write a hook for this? Here are the best happy hours around town – just get in here!
I come from Canada, where alcohol costs you an arm, a leg, and a kidney, but that’s a drop in the bucket when compared to the absurd prices here in Hong Kong (not talking supermarket prices, smartypants). A pint of your typical beer will run around $50 HKD (at time of writing, that’s $8.23 CAD for my fellow brothers, or $6.45 USD for all you other folks). Depending on how unlucky you are, it could cost as much as $100 HKD ($16.47 CAD, $12.89 USD).
Want an Old Fashioned, you say? That’ll be $150 HKD, please.
Luckily for all, I’m an alcoholic and a natural cheapskate, and have thus dedicated my life to finding the best happy hour specials in existence. Below are the sweetest deals I’ve found in Hong Kong yet. Whether you’re a business mogul or university exchange student, you’re bound to find a new watering hole after reading this.
On to the main attraction!
5. Devil’s Advocate – Wan Chai
Though not technically a happy hour deal, Devil’s earns its spot here for advocating (see what I did there?) gender equality. Those of us who lost the coin flip and were born male will know the pain of missing out on Ladies’ Night in Wan Chai.
Well, that’s not a problem at Devil’s.
Every Wednesday night from 9pm – 1am, regardless if you’re a dude or dudette, all you need is a Standard Chartered $20 bill to score a standard drink. This means any house liquor (shots or highballs), select bottled beers, and – I believe – wine. Now, they are very strict about accepting only Standard Chartered bills for this deal, so don’t even think about trying to bargain. You’ve likely never paid attention to your bills until this very moment, but know that Standard Chartereds are more rare (or at least I think so), so if you do have one, hang onto it. They sport a fish dragon thing, like so:
Devil’s relaxed atmosphere and decent playlist makes for a pretty nice place to get drunk for only $100-$200, depending on your tolerance. Just don’t be put off by the inconspicuous group of very-nice-looking gentlemen in biker (like motorcycle, not bicycle) gear, who seem as permanent of a fixture to Devil’s as the bar’s ceiling.
Pro Tip: Devil’s Advocate is sandwiched between two 7-Elevens. If you’re nice and charismatic, you just might be able to ask the 7-Eleven cashiers to swap you for Standard Chartered bills. Cha-ching!
4. Eyebar – Tsim Sha Tsui
People keep raving to you about rooftop bars, but you haven’t been because you know they will bankrupt you – well, good thing there’s Eyebar.
Although situated only on the 30th floor (a far cry from Ozone’s 118th), Eyebar nonetheless has one of most stunning views of Victoria Harbour and the adjacent Hong Kong Island skyline. The catch is that their happy hour is not nearly as happy as the others featured on this list.
From Monday to Friday 6pm – 9pm, you’ll find 30% off martini cocktails, 20% off wine, and 50% off beer. So, yeah, grab a Tsing Tao – which I believe comes out to $35 + service fee, making Eyebar the cheapest rooftop bar.
Oh, but beware the dreaded hidden peanut charge! Unless you specify when ordering that you do not want peanuts, you’re going to get dinged $25.
Pro Tip: Time your visit with the Symphony of Lights, which happens every night at 8pm at Victoria Harbour, and get the most bang out of your buck. To ensure a seat, get to Eyebar by 7pm. Otherwise, you’ll still be able to stand on the patio and enjoy the show.
3. Tequila Jack’s – Tsim Sha Tsui
You’ll probably find better Mexican food elsewhere, but if you’re jonesing for a good margarita, Tequila Jack’s cannot be beat.
Their happy hour runs from every day from 5pm until ‘late’, which I’m pretty sure translates to 9pm. I highly recommend their frozen margaritas, which is $45 for 12oz or $63 for 20oz (get the 20oz). They may sound a little pricey, but trust me, you’ll change your tune after the first sip. If you like mojitos as much as I do, then you have to try the mojito margarita, guaranteed to ruin all other mojitos for you forever. Alternatively, you can always get a boring ol’ beer for $38, but then I would judge you. Every table also gets one free serving of chips and salsa (best salsa I’ve ever had).
Tequila Jack’s run a Taco Tuesday deal, in which tacos go for $10, but it’s really not worth it. In fact, their food menu is fairly average, save for the beef nachos, which are fantastic and come served as a huge mountain of chips.
Conveniently, Tequila Jack’s is within walking distance of Eyebar so you can kill two birds with one stone. Talk about efficiency!
2. Stone Nullah Tavern – Wan Chai
$1 drinks during happy hour. I’m not joking. Yes, it’s in HKD.
God, I’d hate to bartend here.
Every expat in Hong Kong has undoubtedly been to Stone Nullah one time or another. Their now-infamous Beat the Clock happy hour sounds too good to be true, but it’s real. Every weekday, standard drinks are $1 at 5pm and double every 20 minutes until 7pm. Highballs, red & white wine, and beers are all fair game. Get there a few minutes before 5pm to secure a seat at the bar and be ready to go to town. They have a policy of one drink per person at a time, but I’ve seen my female friends being able to bend that rule, so your mileage may vary (not saying you’re sexist, Stone Nullah, I love you guys). You’ll know the price has doubled when the bell tolls all too soon.
Not only is Stone Nullah the perfect place to start off (and depending on how fast you drink, possibly end) your evening, but also a very effective way to get rid of all your pesky change. I like to skedaddle once the drinks hit $16, not only because I’m super cheap, but to make it in time for happy hour at our #1 bar…
1. Lily & Bloom – Central
I’ve seen some sites listing Lily & Bloom below Stone Nullah, but I’m here to tell you they are are dead wrong. I know I use the word ‘best’ a lot, but believe me one last time, Lily & Bloom has the best cocktails I’ve tried in all of Hong Kong – and it’ll only set you back $5 for the first one.
Once you get off the elevator on the 6th floor (5th floor is Bloom, the restaurant), you’ll be immediately transported to a Great Gatsby-esque speakeasy. A host will hand you a voucher for your $5 happy hour cocktail, with every drink after being $45 – which is still a pretty swell deal considering the quality of the drinks’ craftsmanship. Their list of cocktails changes every few months, but you definitely need to try the Gold Rush if it’s available. Also, if you’re a guy, don’t make the rookie mistake my friend once made by wearing flip flops or you’ll be kindly denied entry.
Remember that little Old Fashioned quip in my introduction? Yeah, you probably skimmed it and didn’t think it would come back, did you? Well, that Old Fashioned I was referring to is served here. It’s actually a Snickers Old Fashioned and comes with a bunch of fancy bitters thrown into the mix. I’ve never tried it as I couldn’t convince myself to plop down $150 for a drink but I can tell it must be insanely delectable due to the fact that they keep an entire block of ice behind the bar solely for the purpose of making this drink. Pay attention, and you’ll see a poor bartender toiling away at the block whenever someone orders an Old Fashioned.
Fun Fact: Hung on a wall across the bar is a pig ornament. That, believe it or not, is a secret entrance to a cuban cigar room called The Blind Pig. They stock all kinds of, well, cigars – the cheapest option being around $100. It goes without saying that cigarettes are not allowed. Manners maketh man, folks.
That wraps up our top 5 happy hours in Hong Kong. Hit up these spots as soon as you can, because you never know how long these deals last or when these bars shut down for good.
Come across even better happy hours? Got a topic you want me to cover next? Let me know in the comments below!
flickr/areyouin86, edited with text