Header image courtesy of Hidden Agenda: This Town Needs (via Facebook)
Originally published by Sarah Moran. Last updated by Jianne Soriano.
Some nights, drinks and darts just won’t do. Whether you’re craving something a little different, looking for ideas for your music-loving date, or hoping to jazz up your nights out with friends, some of our favourite live music digs around Hong Kong should do the trick.
With bookings that range from country bands to rock acts, ignoring genre and simply focusing on quality, The Aftermath Bar quickly cemented itself as one of the best spots to watch live music in Hong Kong. Not only does The Aftermath showcase well-curated live music line-ups of independent bands, but the bar also offers a selection of local and international craft beer on draft. The cultural hotspot has even hosted some of our city’s biggest cultural events such as Sofar Hong Kong and the Affordable Tattoo Fair.
The Aftermath Bar, Sunny Building, LG/F, 57–59 Wyndham Street, Central
The original and the best: The Wanch has been seminal for the Hong Kong live music scene since it first opened its doors in 1987. Pretty much every local band in the city—big and small— has played here at some point. This small, intimate space has all the characteristics of a truly unique live music venue and has become something of a community hub for gig lovers. With a live show every single night of the week, and no cover charge (ever), there’s no doubt this should be your first stop if you’re keen on checking out what Hong Kong has to offer in terms of live music.
The Wanch, 1/F, Henan Building, 90 Jaffe Road, Wan Chai | (+852) 3692 5933
If you love jiving and putting your hands up in the air, Sound Department is the place to be for the wild crowd. The club promotes many underground artists in the city and has hosted gigs with indie musicians. From the rowdiest DJ performances to the most energetic rap beats, you’ll find it at Sound Department.
Sound Department, LG/F, Malahon Centre, 8–12 Stanley Street, Central | (+852) 3560 0433
Sure, the name has “terrible” in it, but don’t expect to hear crying babies here. It’s taken from the French phrase, “enfant terrible,” which is used in the creative field to refer to a young and often successful genius. Located in Jordan, Terrible Baby is perfect for those looking to vibe with jazz music. In addition to the tunes, you’ll also love the impressive selection of cocktails.
Terrible Baby, 4/F, Eaton HK, 380 Nathan Road, Jordan | (+852) 2710 1866
It’s not unusual for bars and live music venues to have a mainstay band but no one takes it more seriously than Nathan Left. Since 2017, the bar has cooperated with the band H2O to serenade diners. Enjoy the novel renditions of great hits spanning genres including soul, R&B, Motown classics, blues, and more. The band is not there every day so be sure to check Nathan Left’s Facebook page so you won’t miss them!
Nathan Left, B1, Hart Avenue Plaza, 5–9 Hart Avenue, Tsim Sha Tsui | (+852) 2369 1333
One can’t talk about live music without mentioning Ned Kelly’s Last Stand, a long-standing bar in operation since 1972. This rustic watering hole has stood the test of time and provided loads of jazz and blues classics to its patrons and visitors. The Australian pub offers live jazz performances every night, complete with entertaining skits to make it all the more fun.
Ned Kelly’s Last Stand, 11A Ashley Road, Tsim Sha Tsui | (+852) 2376 0562
This indie live music venue has been popular among the local crowd for many reasons. The former band practice room located in an industrial estate eventually became a space for live music. Despite its closure in 2017, the brand moved to a bigger venue and rebranded as This Town Needs. It now hosts a variety of events including workshops, exhibitions, film screenings, and, of course, live music. It’s certainly a place that this town needs.
Hidden Agenda: This Town Needs, 1/F, Commercial Accommodation, Ocean One, 6 Shung Shun Street, Yau Tong
While most of the places on this list are bars, The Fringe Club is an art space where artists can showcase their work, whether it’s art or music. Housed in an old 1890s building and declared a Grade I Heritage Site in 2009, it’s the perfect place to feel the heart and soul of its history. A range of artists both from Hong Kong and overseas perform here, so take your pick.
Fringe Club, 2 Lower Albert Road, Central | (+852) 2521 7251
For ultra-romantic vibes, head over to Rosewood’s Darkside. Enjoy a night of sultry tunes and choose from an array of aged spirits, classic cocktails, and vintage cigars. You know you’re in good hands as Darkside comes in hot at number 13 on Asia’s 50 Best Bars in 2022.
Darkside, Rosewood Hong Kong, 18 Salisbury Road, Victoria Dockside, Tsim Sha Tsui | (+852) 3891 8732