From Lan Kwai Fong to Wan Chai, bustling Hong Kong is home to neighbourhoods that each carry their own individual personality. One up-and-coming spot is Sheung Wan, an eclectic neighbourhood with a unique bohemian vibe.
The area is home to Hong Kong’s second oldest street, Hollywood Road, which was originally built to facilitate the transport of military supplies. Today, it showcases an intriguing juxtaposition of the old and new, with its landscape of trendy eateries and bars set alongside striking graffitied walls, antique shops, magnificent ancient temples and paved roads — which lead to some of the most vibrant markets in Hong Kong.
Seung Wan’s burgeoning speciality coffee scene is perfect for the caffeine-loving connoisseur, rivalling some of the world’s top coffee capitals such as Melbourne, London or Seattle. One of its most prominent spots, Brew Bros, is an Australian-style coffee shop which originated in Melbourne. Head barista Hikaru Ono brings in beans from Market Lane in Melbourne, along with Prana Chai, an award-winning fresh chai brand inspired by masala tea in India.
For all-day brunch, head to The Cupping Room. The warm and welcoming cafe features sleek, minimalistic wooden decor along with high ceilings that give off an industrial-chic vibe. If you’re popping by for Sunday brunch, a must-order is the signature Eggs Benedict, which comprises slow-poached eggs, smoked salmon, spinach and hollandaise sauce, and is served on stone-baked sourdough. Besides serving top-notch coffee and delectable brunch, the space also hosts barista-led brewing workshops and espresso masterclasses.
Explore Hong Kong’s emerging cocktail scene at this enclave, which boasts some of the most popular bars in Hong Kong. J.Boroski is an exclusive, by-invitation-only cocktail space hidden away off Hollywood Road. The brainchild of New York mixologist Joseph Boroski, the bar introduces a unique ‘Cocktail Concierge Service’ approach where drinks are crafted entirely based on guests’ preferences. All you have to do is pick the spirit and the bartenders will take care of the rest.
Japanese fans will love the izakaya-style cuisine, handcrafted cocktails and a curated selection of craft ales and sake at Three Monkeys. This Japanese gastropub is located on Hollywood Road and is open seven days a week.
Quinary, on the other hand, is helmed by Diageo World Class 2015 Hong Kong & Macau Champion Antonio Lai. Awarded a spot on Asia’s 50 Best Bars for two consecutive years, the bar specialises in flavour and aroma combinations that boast different textures and appearances for a multi-sensory experience. It’s not hard to see why Quinary is often heralded as one of Hong Kong’s best bars, with its inventive cocktails such as The Cinema Set (a caramel popcorn-infused rye whiskey stirred with a dash of cola syrup, bitters, and finished with an orange peel) and Oolong Tea Collins — a homemade oolong tea cordial which consists of black plums, haw flakes, osmanthus, Ketel One vodka and soda.
Whisky enthusiasts should check out the Malt Whisky Bar, a watering hole hidden behind an unassuming door. Known to be one of the best whisky bars in the city, it offers a long list of hard-to-find bottles with over 300 varieties available. The best part? Malt Whisky Bar focuses on Asian labels, including Kavalan, Hibiki, Ichiro’s Malt, Akashi and Nikka.
The vibrant neighbourhood also offers an abundance of shopping options for those craving retail therapy. Pottinger Street, also known as Stone Slab Street, is built on a steep slope composed of a series of granite steps. The street offers a wide selection of costumes, face masks, accessories, jewellery and wigs for costume parties, as well as crafty bits and pieces such as buttons, needles, patches, sequins, beads and ribbons. Even if you aren’t hunting for a costume, a walk along the street makes for interesting photos for your Instagram feed.
One of the oldest surviving structures in Sheung Wan, Western Market wouldn’t look out of place in Europe. The stunning Edwardian building is home to shops selling arts and crafts. In the 1990s, textile vendors who were driven off the streets moved into the newly renovated building, and it has since been home to unique shops selling fine art, antiques, jewellery and dessert shops.
A must-visit is the top floor of The Grand Stage, a beautifully furnished restaurant that was once an opulent ballroom. Here, you can indulge in lunch, dinner or high tea while taking in views of Sheung Wan’s many market stalls in the distance. Highlights on the menu include poached pork and vegetable wontons in chilli oil, xiao long bao (soup dumplings), and pan-fried turnip cake.
Gough Street, also known as NoHo (meaning north of Hollywood Road), is a nod to the world-famous SoHo district. This colonial-style chic district used to be the home of Hong Kong Island’s European and Chinese communities and is now a hotspot for hip boutiques, designer homeware stores, and funky retailers.
Callixto, a word derived from Greek that means “most beautiful”, offers nomadic collections with handcrafted jewellery and trinkets ethically sourced from around the globe. Additionally, Timothy Oulton offers a sophisticated range of women’s and men’s bags and accessories in classic colours and styles, as well as home furnishings such as the designer’s iconic chandeliers.
Soak in Hong Kong’s culture at Man Mo Temple, a picturesque tribute to the God of Literature (Man) and the God of War (Mo). Built in 1847, the temple is famous for its giant hanging incense coils. It remains the largest Man Mo temple in Hong Kong and was officially listed as a Grade I historic building in 2009, preserved as a Declared Monument.
Following that, take a walk to one of Hong Kong’s largest private museums, the four-storey Liang Yi Museum, which houses some of the finest collections of antique Chinese furniture dating back to the Ming and Qing dynasties. The museum also regularly holds specially curated exhibitions of its furniture pieces, with a stunning selection of pieces from across the globe.
If you’re looking to explore Hong Kong’s bar and culinary scene, as well as dive into the city’s rich culture, Sheung Wan makes the perfect base for exploration. With its rich heritage and thriving dining scene, one can easily spend hours wandering the streets of Sheung Wan and indulging in everything the hip neighbourhood has to offer.