How to Party without Spending in HK

How to Party without Spending in HK

You are weeks from payday and your bank account is already down to the hundreds. Sure you could stay in for the rest of the month and improve yourself… or you could hit the town with just a few bucks to your name. Here’s how:


They’re tranquil oases of peace and contemplation within the urban sprawl, but the galleries around SoHo are also great places to get sloshed on free wine – if you follow our sure-fire tips.

How to Party without Spending in HK

You’ll want to like all the galleries you can find on Facebook, so you can catch their openings. Failing that, Thursday evening is usually a good bet.

Stride in with confidence, waving at someone just over the gallerist’s shoulder as you head straight for the wine.

Don fake glasses and/or a hat. The style of glasses doesn’t really matter, but the hat should include some form of taxidermy. Don’t wear socks. No one who goes to art galleries wears socks.

Concentrate on one very small detail of the image or object in front of you. Inspect it from different angles. Look puzzled and occasionally slightly angry. Quaff liberally.

Put on a French accent – unless you’re French, in which case put on a German accent. Say to no one in particular, “I think it’s a little contrived.” Most importantly, never, ever say that you like something.


No one wants to pay HK$120 for a cocktail. Lucky for you, you don’t have to.

How to Party without Spending in HK

So you can’t afford to both eat and drink in a single evening? No worries. Head to one of the bars around town which lay on lavish aperitivo spreads for those who are also drinking. Some of our favorites are:

Divino (73 Wyndham St., Central, 2167-8883) 6:00 – 7:00PM
8 ½ Otto e Mezzo Bombana (Shop 202, Landmark Alexandra, 18 Charter Road, Central, 2537-8859) 5:00 – 8:00PM

Pirata (239 Hennessy Road, Wan Chai, 2887-0270) 5:00 – 7:00PM

Sadly, Stone Nullah Tavern’s legendary Bet the Clock happy hour – in which drinks started at just HK$1 – has come to an end. Rumour has it staff were tired of cleaning puke out of the toilets. But there are still plenty of great happy hours in town.

The Optimist Cocktails from HK$48. – 239 Henessey Road, Wan Chai 2433-3324

The Pontiac – Beers from HK$30, wines, bourbon, and gin HK$40.  – 13 Old Bailey St., Central 2521-3855

Devil’s Advocate – classic Hong Kong happy hour – drinks are HK$20 if you pay with a HK$20 Standard Chartered note. – 48 Lockhart Road, Wan Chai 2865 – 7271

The best way to get free drinks is to make fast friends with a bartender. Sadly the best way to do that is to drink a lot at their bar first. But the initial outlay is worth the investment (most of the time).

Wine competition and conventions can be fine, fine places for those with a nose for the plonk: for example, there’s the Cathay Pacific Hong Kong International Wine & Spirit Competition at Wan Chai’s Convention Centre. A HK$250 ticket gets you to access to blind tastings, prizes, and at least 300 wines from around the world.

Now that the weather’s turning, nothing beats an evening with friends. Even if you’re just sitting on the steps outside a 7-Eleven watching the rest of the world go by. Take it in turns to buy rounds – go on, you can afford to be generous.


We all know that clubs are expensive and annoying. But these tips will have you raving on a budget.

How to Party without Spending in HK

The open-air terrace at Dragon-I is a public space. This means that you can show up with a tinny beer and no one can stop you from standing in close proximity to the pretty people. All the vibes, none of the expense.

In any club, there’s always one table occupied by the owner. There’ll be champagne, vodka, and models all around it. All you have to do is dance in sufficient proximity and hope to get your glass filled.

Many of the nicer joints in town – and even some of the crappy ones – have cover charges. These can often be avoided by turning up unfashionably early – meaning prior to 11pm. You’ll have to hang around in an empty room for an hour or two, but on the flip side, you also get an opportunity to befriend the bar staff. Later in the evening, the best way past the door guy/door bitch is to know them. Failing that, a little confidence goes a long way: Say you’re on the owner’s list and there’s a good chance they’ll let you breeze by. If they ask your name, pick something anonymous. “Alex” normally works.


How to crash someone else’s house party when you have no friends…

How to Party without Spending in HK

PREP - You’ll need a single bottle of cheap wine.

Hang around at the bottom of a tong lau flat at about 9PM on a Saturday. Soon enough, you’ll see others carrying wine or booze. Follow them.

Follow them through the same door, saying “I guess we’re going to the same party!”

Leave your wine in the corner and grab something more expensive and potable

Every time someone asks you “How do you know (host)?” just say that you’re a friend of a friend, that you’re only in town for a few days, and how great was it to get an invite.

Don’t overstay your welcome. If you and the hosts are the only people left, you’re doing it wrong.

How to Party without Spending in HK

*Tips are from our friends’ we interviewed and shared their undying tricks that work all the time, in addition to mine.

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