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1950s Hong Kong-inspired Starbucks to close this October

By Annette Chan 6 October 2021

Header images courtesy of @sonoko.hongkong and Starbucks Hong Kong

Get your photos (and Fraps) in at one last visit to the beautiful bing sutt-inspired Starbucks on Duddell Street this October! Starbucks announced that it will be closing the beloved retro branch, owing to “various operational factors.”

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Located halfway up the flight of stairs connecting Duddell Street and Ice House Street—which is a heritage landmark in its own right—nothing about the shop’s discreet black façade and chic European-style domed canopy hints at the retro wonders within. Inside, half of the space is exactly what you would expect from a typical Starbucks, while the other half is a maximalist take on casual mid-century Hong Kong eateries. Pawnshop signs, Plumber King graffiti, quirky toys, and locally made sauces are propped up behind sealed tong lau-style windows, while vintage televisions and fans, covered bird cages, and beaded curtains create an immersive scene of old Hong Kong.

Designed by local lifestyle brand GOD, the unique space was one of the first Starbucks branches to incorporate “extreme localisation,” with interiors and special menu items inspired by the locale. When the nostalgic bing sutt-inspired shop first opened in 2009, it was a novel concept and quickly became a popular photo spot.

Photo: @sosrebecca (via Instagram)

In the last 12 years, the shop has been rented out for parties, corporate events, while the mosaic-tiled floors, 1950s-style menus, and laminate boots have acted as backdrops in countless fashion and engagement photoshoots.

Although the coffee chain has another nostalgic branch in Mong Kok (still in operation), the Central location remains popular due to its location next to the historic steps and Hong Kong’s only remaining gas street lamp.

Starbucks Hong Kong announced that the Duddell Street branch will permanently close its doors in mid-October. Until then, you still have time to snap a few photos (perhaps in fittingly retro garb, like a cheongsam?), enjoy the yuenyeung parfait ($56) and coffee egg tart ($14), and grab some branch-exclusive memorabilia.

Starbucks, Shop 2, M/F, Baskerville House, 13 Duddell Street, Central

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Annette Chan

Senior editor

Annette is an editor and copywriter with a lifetime of experience in hunting out the most interesting, odd, and delightful things about her beloved home city. Having written extensively about everything from food and culture to fashion, music, and hospitality, she considers her speciality to be Hong Kong itself. In her free time, you can find Annette trying out new dumpling recipes or playing Big Two at her favourite local bars with a cocktail in hand.