Hong Kong is the type of city whose reputation precedes it. It initially gained fame during war-time, when American and British sailors turned to neighborhoods like Wan Chai for “money girls,” but the city has developed as much more than just a couple of seedy avenues popular during shore leave. Although the cheaper alternatives will be be found elsewhere, Hong Kong's international-friendly nightlife is largely based around a few areas in both Hong Kong and across the harbor in Kowloon.
If you find yourself in the zoo that is Central Hong Kong, then your best chance for late night fun may be Lan Kwai Fong. Just up the hill from the Central MTR, this is a big gathering place for travelers and expats and bears a heavier price tag due to its popularity. Then again, there's a guaranteed party every weekend and a melange of languages at every turn; Dublin Jack's, La Dolce Vita, and (if you want your beer on the cheap) the local 7-11 are all mainstays. Then again, you can ride the mid-levels escalators to Soho for a similar assortment of lounges, clubs, and bars. Try the Globe for an excellent brewpub. A brewpub! Yes, even in Hong Kong.
Moving toward the eastern end of the island, you'll want to investigate the neighborhood that started it all in Hong Kong nightlife, Wan Chai. If you're one to be thrown off by the solicitations being tossed out from the doorways along Lockhart Road, then we suggest you go elsewhere. Of course, you'd be missing out on one of the city's hotspots, with joints like Joe Bananas, Old China Hand, Dusk Till Dawn, and plenty more. All flavors of persuasion are available here, and it's much safer than one would expect from its reputation.
North of Victoria Harbour in Kowloon, there are a few streets that stand out for having a good number of bars and clubs. Most notable is Knutsford Terrace, which serves as a smaller, somewhat less crazy and somewhat cheaper version of Lan Kwai Fong. For a more “authentic” bar scene that isn't swarmed with stumbling foreigners, check out the bars and karaoke joints packed into the north end of Tung Choi Street (exit A on the Prince Edward MTR). Also, avoid the “girlie bars” on the south end of Tsim Sha Tsui; they are unsavory and untrustworthy.
For those who don't mind a little ferry ride across ocean waters, head west to Macau's Cotai Strip, which is quickly building itself up as the “Las Vegas of the East,” and is developing the glitz and gambling proliferation to earn the nickname. The Venetian Macau is the largest casino the world, while the numerous other establishments on the strip are no small beans themselves. So, whether you stay in the concrete jungle that is Hong Kong and Kowloon or take the ride to Macau, there is no shortage of options. For further information on nightlife in Hong Kong, consult our activity listings or look for help from our community.