In Hong Kong recently, living a TRAVELIFE, I found myself at a very hip and crowded bar called Lily in Lang Kwai Fong.
I'm not a bar type of person at all, but I'd just had dinner with a group of old friends living in Hong Kong and at least two of them were keen on having a nightcap somewhere.
One of them is really the going-out-to-the-latest-places kind of guy, and so he suggested Lily as it was nearby and pretty cool.
BUSY ON A SATURDAY NIGHT
On the way down, I had to wait a long time until we chanced upon a relatively vacant elevator as I swore I was never going into a crowded and hot lift again.
Lily was a nice bar with a good atmosphere and all kinds of cocktails, including some delicious non-alcoholic ones. Like most bars, it was dark and playing loud music, but what interested me most was the massive bar counter lined with old-fashioned drinks and bottles -- to give it a Prohibition-type of atmosphere -- and the wooden ceiling.
And on the lower floor was Lily's restaurant that served Italian food.
I had a look and it seemed like a decent place to eat, with banquette seating and very stylish decor. But one of my friends whispered that it's better as a drinking place after a good dinner somewhere else.
|The main bar counter at Lily in Lang Kwai Fong|
DOWN MEMORY LANE
I hadn't been to Lang Kwai Fong in years.
Usually, my trips to Hong Kong are quick 18-hour ins-and-outs as I stop over on the way to and from Manila and somewhere else. And even if it's not a stopover kind of trip, I still usually only do a short trip from Manila since I figure Hong Kong is very accessible and I can go anytime.
I'll spend two weeks in Africa or Europe because it's such a pain to get there and then you have to cope with jetlag as well; but Hong Kong, 90 minutes away and on the same time zone, can always be an overnight trip even.
Most times, I don't even leave my hotel. It's straight to the hotel from the airport in the hotel car, and then I have a dinner in the hotel restaurant, breakfast the next day, and then out to the airport again.
If I do get out for an hour or so, I usually like to just walk around my old haunts in Central or check out the shops in Landmark, Prince's Building or IFC.
|Pretty good interior decor at Lily in Lang Kwai Fong|
Nothing much to write about, in other words, but I do a lot of these kinds of overnighters to Hong Kong and I actually like it. I'm not much of a brand-name shopper anyway. The kind of shopping I like to do when I travel is for things that are really local -- items you can't get anywhere else but in that place, and for those things I'll go to the very best store I can find.
So in Hong Kong, which is mostly brand shopping anyway, I avoid the stores unless I really need something in a hurry that I can't get elsewhere.
The only exceptions perhaps are the Chinese Emporium, which sells high-quality goods from China, and Shanghai Tang. I went to the Chinese Emporium on this last visit and it's really gotten too expensive so I ended up not buying anything.
That's the restaurant area of Lily in Lang Kwai Fong
So I mostly go to visit the art galleries, if I ever find time for that lately, and to eat in good restaurants -- and, fortunately, a lot of good restaurants in Hong Kong are in hotels. Even the locals heavily patronize the hotel restaurants.
Meanwhile, many of the good art galleries are now on a building along Pedder St. in Central, and so that's very convenient for one-stop shopping. This building once used to be where we all went for one-off clothes boutiques run by young designers and stores with high-end export overruns patronized by expats and taitais; but the place has been taken over by posh art galleries.
A LONGER STAY THIS TIME
|This was a delicious non-alcoholic drink|
But this time, I stayed for a long weekend instead of my usual overnight stopover, and my friends had suggested LKF for a Saturday night. They all just wanted something casual and fun -- nothing too gourmet or too fancy.
It's amazing how LKF hasn't changed much even if I don't think I've been here in ten years or so. We walked up the hill to our restaurant and then to the bar, and I even passed a couple of places I remembered from a previous lifetime -- they were exactly as I remembered them. The LKF vibe, too, was very much the same.
Lily is a relatively new bar, though, and certainly an interesting and happening place for a Saturday night in my never-ending, and never-endingly eventful Travelife.
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