Hong Kong has no shortage of cocktail bars that pump out upbeat DJ tunes, but occasionally you may want to head somewhere with a more cultured vibe — somewhere to sip your drink to classic melodies and appreciate the talent of Hong Kong musicians. For that, you’ll want to head to one of the city’s growing collection of live jazz venues. From hotel bars to dedicated jazz lounges, here are our best picks.
If aged spirits, decadent cigars and jazz are your kind of thing, you’ll want to make a beeline to Rosewood Hong Kong’s DarkSide — the sexiest and newest jazz bar this side of the harbour. From the outdoor terrace, soak up the exquisite views of the Hong Kong Island skyline, perhaps best savoured with a vintage cigar plucked from the towering Georgetti humidor — and a barrel-aged 1969 tawny port in the other hand. If a twist on a negroni is more up your alley, take a dive into the cocktail programme; helmed by industry veterans Arkadiusz Rybak and Simone Rossi, the duo aim to give classic drinks an innovative spin. Taking the mic each evening at 8pm is none other than Canadian crooner Janaia Farrell and her piano trio.
DarkSide, Rosewood Hong Kong, Victoria Dockside, Tsim Sha Tsui, Hong Kong, +852 3891 8732
Le Comptoir group’s swish contemporary izakaya concept prides itself on the ambience of Japan’s drinking dens, paired with modern art and jazz. It’s pure art wherever you look — Tomoo Gokita’s enigmatic paintings on the walls; Hong Kong’s most distinguished jazz musicians on the stage; caviar-dusted sushi and snacks by former Nobu executive chef Sean Mell; and premium sakes filling the menu with seasonal exclusives. The bar is soon to launch its own private label sake with a respected Japanese brewery that’s over 200 years old, so sake lovers will want to stay tuned for that. Starting from this July, every guest with dinner reservations after 10pm will receive complimentary bar snacks and a glass of sake.
Silencio, 6/F, LKF Tower, 33 Wyndham Street, Central, Hong Kong, +852 2480 6569
Tiffany’s New York Bar
Besides boasting a massive whisky collection (there are 300-plus drams on deck as well as house-blended cask selections), Tiffany’s New York Bar is also a mainstay in the city when it comes to a live jazz programme. The band plays from 7pm on Mondays and Tuesdays; 9pm on Wednesdays and Thursdays; and 9:30pm on Fridays and Saturdays — performing a mix of soulful R&B, Jazz and Motown classics.
Tiffany’s New York Bar, InterContinental Grand Stanford Hong Kong, 70 Mody Road, Tsim Sha Tsui East, Hong Kong, +852 2585 2545
BB Jazz Lounge
Formerly Orange Peel (sister venue to Peel Fresco), this popular jazz spot has since been rebranded to BB Jazz Lounge and remains a favourite on the SoHo scene. Opened by Joyce Peng, an old hand in Hong Kong’s live music scene, BB Jazz Lounge is both a mainstay in the local live music circles and also billed as a premium private club boasting the finest drinks and bites– think flutes of Dom Pérignon and Cristal paired with wagyu, oysters, seared scallops and more. Here, regular jazz events fill up the programme every week, but Monday and Tuesday are open for private events only.
BB Jazz Lounge, 2/F, Ho Lee Commercial Building, 38-44 D’Aguilar Street, Central, Hong Kong, +852 2641 2880
Lobby Lounge, InterContinental Hong Kong
A list of best jazz spots wouldn’t be complete without the InterCon’s lobby lounge, which also happens to boast stunning panoramic views of the Hong Kong skyline. On top of a cocktail menu inspired by flavours unique to Hong Kong, its most updated jazz programme features the city’s leading contemporary jazz singer Jennifer Palor, who takes the stage from 9pm Thursdays to Saturdays. Every Tuesday, sit in on a performance by Hong Kong jazz hero Eugene Pao, performing with the Anthony Fernandes Jazz Trio from 8:45pm. The rest of the week, enjoy the talents of multi-instrumentalist Antoine Richard with the Gypsy Jazz Trio on Mondays and smooth jazz from saxophonist Joel Senase on Wednesdays and Sundays.
InterContinental Hong Kong, 18 Salisbury Road, Tsim Sha Tsui, Hong Kong, +852 2721 1211
Perhaps the best-known venue in town when it comes to live music shows, the historic Fringe Club premises (classed as a Grade 1 Historical building) puts on an eclectic programme all year round, from indie rock to live jazz to classical recitals. Love big band sounds or want to check out local jazz talents? Free your evenings for Basic Notes group, who have been around since 1993, or Island Express Jazz Orchestra, which specialises in modern large ensemble pieces and typically play Saturday nights. Check the website for the updated schedule.
Fringe Club, 2 Lower Albert Road, Central, Hong Kong, +852 2521 7251
A barbershop by day, and a jazz club by night, this not-so-hidden gem is one of the most intimate ways to experience live music in Hong Kong, as it feels like you’re going to a friend’s house rather than a music hall. Musicians gather around 10pm on most nights to jam, where audiences can crowd around to listen — and it gets crowded, fast. The agenda isn’t strictly jazz — including anything from indie rock to a cappella — but the warm atmosphere and quality musicianship here is well worth the trip.
Visage One, LG/F, Po Lung Building, 93 Hollywood Road, Central, +852 2523 8988
This SoHo mainstay is a favourite of many of Hong Kong’s best jazz musicians, who come here to jam and perform, with happenings every night of the week ranging from blues to jazz to Latin music. If you’re an act worth listening to, chances are you would have played here. Regulars include The Wong Way Down, drummer Nate Wong’s jazz crew, the Allen Youngblood Trio, and jazz singer Sybil Thomas. You’ll want to keep an eye on this Facebook Group, which lists the venue’s weekly schedules.
Peel Fresco, G/F, 49 Peel Street, Central, Hong Kong, +852 2540 2046
Hidden behind a false umbrella shopfront and decked out in two elegant rooms inspired by various guises of luxury transportation, Foxglove has all the allure needed for one of Hong Kong’s most distinguished jazz lounges. Hosting musical talents most days of the week, the programme brings in some of Hong Kong’s top jazz luminaries — from Ted Lo and friends on Tuesdays to family band the Carpios on Saturdays, and latin, pop and international jazz throughout the week. The bar is a frequent collaborator with Japanese jazz band Bloodest Saxophone, who is flown in to play many of their special events at Foxglove.
Foxglove, G/F, 18 Ice House Street, Central, Hong Kong, +852 2116 8949
Ned Kelly’s Last Stand
Established in 1972, Aussie pub Ned Kelly’s broadly considered to be the oldest bar (still standing) in Hong Kong. It may be named after an Australian outlaw who ended up getting hanged, but the venue itself is revered as arguably the best jazz venue in town — always with a ready supply of foot-stompin’ tunes. The band at Ned Kelly’s plays every night from 9:30pm without fail, and those who are fans of Dixieland-style jazz are in for a treat.
Ned Kelly’s Last Stand, 11A Ashley Road, Tsim Sha Tsui, Hong Kong, +852 2376 0562
Dada Bar + Lounge
Loosely inspired by the irreverence and creativity of Dadaism, this is certainly an eclectic venue just by its decor, which is chock-full of plush armchairs and sofas, and lots of velvet and gold. But don’t let that distract you from its wonderful jazz programme — from acoustic pop on Mondays to Gypsy Jazz on Wednesdays to sultry lounge music and local music luminaries taking the stage on Thursdays and Fridays.
Dada Bar + Lounge, 2/F, The Luxe Manor, 39 Kimberley Road, Tsim Sha Tsui, Hong Kong, +852 3763 8778
Renowned for its art deco glam, its iconic circular bar — and of course the selection of Grand Marques and boutique Champagnes offered by the glass — the Grand Hyatt’s Champagne Bar is a distinguished venue already on its own, but with a spot of live music, everything gets much more glamorous. Each evening on Mondays to Saturdays, the bar offers jazz and blues performances by award-winning vocalist Ms. Sabreen Staples from 9pm.
Champagne Bar, Grand Hyatt Hong Kong, 1 Harbour Road, Wan Chai, Hong Kong, +852 2584 7722
1563 at the East
Named after a popular chord progression in Cantonese pop music, 1563 is one of the most spacious live music venues in town — best for wining and dining away the night to the sounds of Hong Kong’s biggest up and coming stars. There’s also an outdoor terrace overlooking Queen’s Road East, excellent for people watching. The music curation programme is headed by Hong Kong music industry magnate and singer-songwriter Vicky Fung, who was also behind former indie music venue Hidden Agenda. You can expect live jazz and soul on the bill mostly on Tuesdays and Wednesdays.
1563 at the East, 6/F, Hopewell Centre, 183 Queen’s Road East, Wan Chai, Hong Kong, +852 2323 2538
Following a brief hiatus, basement bar and live music venue Aux returns with three music nights from Thursday, the perfect lead-in into the weekend. First opened in 2018, Aux is a collaborative concept between Prince Edward indie bar Bound by Hillywood and Aberdeen barbecue caterers Crft Pit. Particularly popular with hip Kowlooners, the bar earned a reputation for its unique spin on smokehouse classics — it’s now only open to the public on Thursdays from 7pm for a mix of jazz, blues and open mic; Friday and Saturday for live DJ tunes from 11pm until late. The rest of the time, Aux is open for lunch and dinner by private bookings only. Don’t miss its list of creative cocktails, with a respectable variety of highballs, sours and signature drinks.
Aux, Basement, 152 Austin Road, Tsim Sha Tsui, Hong Kong, +852 2522 3863