by Sandeep Sharma
So you’re new to Hong Kong – maybe you’re visiting for the weekend, maybe it’s a short holiday or maybe you’ve moved here for a typical white-collar job. On Google and by word of mouth from your Hong Kong long-timer friends you hear of Lan Kwai Fong. The name itself is quite a mouthful for a new expat yuppie, so you decide to venture out there with a friend of a friend to see what the nightlife is like. You’re drinking the 7-11 “Buy Two for $30” Apple ciders and being denied entry into Volar, Dragon I and basically any actual club. The streets are great but let’s face it, it’s full of either broke University kids or minors trying to Snapchat. That’s where Pub Crawl comes in – a guided tour through select bars and pubs in Hong Kong’s very own. With free shots at each of the selected seven bars of the night and discounted beers – it really serves as a vehicle for a newbie to venture out into Hong Kong and befriend expats and locals alike.
The night usually begins with some pre-gaming at the IFC rooftop followed by rounds through seven relatively decent quality pubs where there’s a free shot for every “Pub Crawler” and discounted drinks. The crowd of fresh blooded people -new to Hong Kong and still allowing the insane adrenaline of the city to sink into their skin – would remind anybody of their first few months in Hong Kong, where the parties ended at 8 am and more often than not, the mornings were spruced with a “walk of shame” and a wonderfully chirpy hangover. The relatively low price for joining ($100 HKD) unfortunately means that occasionally the crowd at the Pub Crawl may not be the best mannered or behaved lot.
The inherit problem with the pub-crawl is that it is truly something that suits the needs of visitors or the “once in a year” party animal – but not to those who are used to the debauchery which Hong Kong boasts of. While for a newbie it maybe nice to “get down” to some hip-hop at a bar with other “FOBs”, for those of us who know about the hyped clubs, ice bars and bunkers – it maybe a waste of money. The pubs selected are relatively obscure with the night ending with an entry to a decent dance club. This setting is ideal for the aforementioned people and truly it serves as a great way to introduce newbies into the decadence and moral dilemmas that Hong Kong so often puts us in. If the Pub Crawl actually went ahead and diversified itself to cater to the needs of the pseudo-party lovers then perhaps by expanding their base, they could cater to the varied needs of Hong Kong’s party animals.