My Hong Kong: ‘There are many down-to-earth businesses that give back to the culture and community’
Soho House member Ollie Rodgers guides us through his pick of authentic places to visit in the city that raised him
Thursday 15 September by Ollie Rodgers
Hong Kong is a fast-paced, ever-changing city where new businesses pop up every month. Some are short-lived and others manage to stay for the long haul. At first glance, you’ll come across large luxurious malls and an abundance of designer shops, but behind the glitz, there are many down-to-earth businesses that give back to the culture and community to help it grow.
As co-founder of independent publishing platform Likewise, and a creative raised in the city, I’m well versed on the most authentic places to shop, explore and get your cultural fix. Here are my top picks of galleries, skate shops, live music bars and restaurants worth visiting in Hong Kong.
With two locations to choose from – in Quarry Bay and Tin Hau – Camper’s is my go-to stop for home-cooked, health-conscious Japanese cuisine. Get ready for large portions of mouth-watering dishes for a good price. This joint never disappoints.
Live music bar
Owned by a local jazz drummer, this low-key music bar is a hub for many of the city’s musicians. If you’re looking for a more intimate and memorable Friday night, Chez Trente is the place to go. Sit back, sip some wine and watch local talent, followed by an all-inclusive jam session.
This subtle, three-storey art gallery is located in an old heritage building in the trendy Tai Hang neighbourhood and showcases contemporary fine art from all over the world. It has just opened a new viewing window around the block on School Street, called Side Space.
The Plant of Devil
After checking out The Shophouse, pop around the corner to this hip store, run by a charismatic local skater, Ar Pei. Plant of the Devil isn’t your usual plant shop: its name refers to the unique type of codex succulents on sale – mostly from Madagascar – that ‘look like they’re from hell’ as Ar Pei puts it. Hang out, say hi to his friendly dog and check out the rest of his endless collection of reptiles.
Mee & Gee
Located within the famous Mong Kok markets, the slogan for this thrift shop is: ‘Where you can find the outfit of your dreams’. They’re not kidding. Mee & Gee is home to vintage clothes for all ages, genders and styles. There’s even a song named after it, by local Hong Kong punk-rock band N.Y.P.D.
The longest-running skate shop in Hong Kong (there are now two locations), selling the freshest gear from around Asia and the rest of the world, 8Five2 gives back constantly to the local scene by organising skate activations for both experienced skaters and beginners. If you’re thinking about getting your first board, this is the place to come.
Located in the heart of Soho, Sauce is the coolest barber shop out there. Its owners are always looking to create a buzz and do it their way, which makes this is a hot spot for street artists and other creatives. Come for a stylish cut and to get to know the friendly staff behind the name.