Yes, there are amazing buildings which create an incredible skyline, enormous shopping malls, and unforgettable food – all of which we love! But we wanted to delve deeper into the really cool bits of Hong Kong and set off to discover more of what lies beneath, from chic cafes, to intriguing art and design, and of course, for our Instagram accounts.
For true coffee connoisseurs
Great coffee is not really a stand out feature of Hong Kong’s history. But over the last decade, coffee culture has developed rapidly and taken a firm, beloved position in the city. Coffee lovers will be happy to hear that there are a number of super cool, quality coffee shops and we explored four of them.
287-299 Queen’s Road Central (Entrance on Cleverly Street), Sheung Wan
We arrived around lunchtime and the house was filled with urban, middle-class office workers and expats. We sat by a window facing the busy street at the only remaining free table, and took in the bustling atmosphere, unique to well-loved cafes. The Cupping Room serves an all-day brunch menu, salads, and, of course, coffee made by world-class baristas.
Their refreshing menu changes to reflect the seasons. My latte was delicious – not too fragrant but with a satisfyingly thick body.
Yue On Building, 78-86 Catchick St, Kennedy Town, Hong Kong
The hipster scene in this seaside town has blossomed fast since the opening of the new Kennedy Town MTR station. Out of a number of cafes in Kennedy Town, a tiny take-away outlet, Cofftea, grabbed our attention. It wasn’t quite lunchtime yet the queue was still quite long. An expat waiting with his golden retriever told us that Cofftea has the best coffee in Kennedy Town. If you enjoy trying new things, try their signature ‘cofftea’ – an exciting coffee and chai combination.
223-227 Wan Chai Rd, Morrison Hill, Hong Kong
On our way to a halal dim sum restaurant, we passed by Coffee Academics at Morrison Hill and decided to drop in. Coffee Academics imports only the highest quality beans from across the world and roasts it in their own unique style. The outlet is spacious with cozy, warm lighting. Aside from great coffee made by skilful baristas, Coffee Academics has a diverse menu including pasta, pizza, salad, pastry, and several gluten-free selections.
N1 Coffee & Co
Shop G, 34 Mody Rd, Tsim Sha Tsui, Hong Kong
If you want to take a break from the bustle of Tsim Sha Tsui, then N1 Coffee & Co is the place to head to. The coffee house is dominated by pretty Tiffany blue furniture and cutlery. A combination of contemporary murals and hanging carousel horses creates a dreamy and very original ambience. The coffee itself is undoubtedly amazing. Managed by El Au and Felix Wong from the Barista Academy Hong Kong, the cafe also offers a solid brunch menu along with cakes and smoothies.
For trend lovers
1 St Francis Yard, Wan Chai, Hong Kong
In 2007, London-based Monocle began publishing magazines about global affairs covering business, culture, design, and lifestyle topics. Over the years, sales have soared in America, Australia, Europe and also Asia. Monocle’s local bureaus in Asia are located in Hong Kong, Japan and Singapore.
Monocle Hong Kong functions not only as a representative office, but also a retail shop and exhibition space with a library of Monocle magazines and special merchandise. It’s like a middle-class lifestyle guide for living for those who appreciate clever and original designs. The store is stocked with fashion, home decor and collaborations with renowned brands such as Comme des Garçons and Tomorrowland.
If you love Monocle, be sure to add Homeless to your list of places to visit. As one of the most iconic lifestyle outlets in Hong Kong, Homeless is spread across the city with three stores on Hong Kong Island, and one in Tsim Sha Tsui. Check out their quirky, functional design items from furniture to alarm clocks – each with its own dash of humour.
For art, design and cool enthusiasts
K11 Art Mall
18 Hanoi Road, Tsim Sha Tsui, Kowloon
Imagine a shopping mall completely filled with items of creative design. That’s K11 Art Mall – a breakthrough in the Hong Kong’s art and cultural scene. Art and nature are the prominent themes and we’d highly recommend a visit for creative travellers.
Located strategically in Tsim Sha Tsui, K11 is very easy to access. The mall connects directly to Tsim Sha Tsui MTR station. Take exit D2 and follow the K11 signs and you will arrive at the mall basement.
35 Aberdeen St, Central, Hong Kong
The acronym stands for Police Married Quarters – so what was once part of a police academy mess has been repurposed into a creative hub. Preserving the original building, rooms inside the PMQ function as a craft & design shop, art studio and cafe. The shops sell fashion items, accessories, stationery and furniture, all created by local artists.
You can also find art incorporated into the building itself. On the balcony and terrace, installations (some interactive) are often on display, and you can enjoy the atmosphere while enjoying a meal.
Quick tip: Take the elevator to the highest level and explore the building from top to bottom using the stairs, until you reach the ground floor. Each weekend PMQ hosts indie music performances and contemporary art exhibitions for all to enjoy.
West District Public Cargo Depot, Sai Wan
Our dear friend, Instagrammer Vincent Chan (@vinvincent) took us to a cargo depot, aptly named Instagram Pier. Technically it’s not open to the public, but ever since it was featured in a local magazine, the cargo depot has become hugely popular.
The Instagram pier faces west, making it one of the best spots to see Hong Kong’s city sunset. As the golden hour begins locals gather to jog, cycle, play with their dogs or just to take very atmospheric photos against the industrial background.
Closer to sunset, the view becomes even more romantic and we saw a couple taking their pre-wedding photo shoot with the golden sky in the background.
Other Instagram-worthy locations in Hong Kong include Stanley Street in Central for a great collection of street art, and also the Yik Fat building in Quarry Bay, for its extremely photogenic geometric apartment block designs, which also featured in the Transformers – Age of Extinction film.