Hong Kong Clubs We Wish Still Existed: Volar, Fly, Drop, Play & More
June 01, 2023
Hong Kong’s electric nightlife scene took off in the early 1990s, when Lan Kwai Fong found its feet as developers and entrepreneurs invested in nightclubs that attracted tourists and Hong Kongers for wild, unforgettable parties. Sadly, many staple nightlife hotspots have now shut shop, leaving nothing but great memories in their wake.
To honor these bastions of Hong Kong’s party scene, let us take you down memory lane and tell you the tales of all the fallen and closed Hong Kong clubs we wish still existed in Lan Kwai Fong, SoHo, Wan Chai, and beyond.
At the heart of Lan Kwai Fong, Volar opened in 2004 to the scene looking for modern and industrial sounds to celebrate the arrival of dance music to Hong Kong shores. The below-ground club featured two rooms that modernised the look of clubs in Hong Kong and led to more electronic music.
COVID-19 restrictions in 2021 led to the closure of Volar after 17 years of operation. Buzz Concepts, owner of then-Volar and Fly, opened Faye later in the year atop California Tower with two top floors and a roof to house the reborn soul of Volar.
Located just outside Lan Kwai Fong’s main square, FLY on Ice House Street, was a nightclub home to partygoers that shunned the typical party vibes of Lan Kwai Fong, instead preferring tech house, electronic, breaks, RnB, and hip-hop tunes.
The front porch, semi-outdoor area of FLY welcomed people lining up outside Ice House Street with 7/11 drinks in hand through to its 3500-square-foot dance club area. Adorned with a Turbosound system, black DJ booth, and floor-to-ceiling LED wall, FLY was a club that often catered to freshly adulted Hong Kongers on their first voyages into the city’s party scene. It closed in summer 2018.
Brought to Hong Kong by actress Colette Koo and DJ Joel Lai, Drop stood for twenty years hidden in a SoHo alleyway. It was best-known for hosting the world’s best house, techno, and rap DJs and mixers.
Drop was well known for its quality music, a superb and creative cocktail menu, and great customers that had many late-late night party veterans in Hong Kong come back for more every weekend. The club opened early in the afternoon for happy hour, and wouldn’t shut until near-dawn every weekend. Like many nightlife venues in Hong Kong, Drop became a victim of curfews and drinking bans in 2020, when the club closed its doors for the last time.
The nightclub that every international DJ, celebrity, CEO and socialite has graced, Play has hosted some of Hong Kong’s most elite parties for years. The mega-sized 6000-square-foot large club held a luxury bar that supplied tables across the club. It was not uncommon to see high-end alcohol such as Dom Perignon, Ace of Spades, and Belvedere consumed en masse.
Having seen the likes of Skrillex, Paul Van Dyk, and Afrojack pass through the doors of Play, the mega nightclub became yet another COVID-era closure when rules forced the venue to shut its doors in early 2020.
Premium Sofa Club
Lucas Luraka, owner of Premium Sofa Club, created the multi-purpose basement in Sheung Wan for underground partying and club nights, unrestricted by the tight hold Lan Kwai Fong had on drinks prices and genre choice.
Decorated with paraphernalia from the 80s, the club was known for its plethora of sofas and lounge chairs, filling the space for partygoers to relax comfortably with their own BYOB drinks. The club began its days on Wing Lok Street, before moving to Bonham Strand three years later. As the classic Hong Kong story goes, rents were rising, and the space ultimately had to vacate the premises in summer 2017.
Underground music and arts venue XXX Gallery enjoyed a seven-year run in Hong Kong, curating playlists, performances, and exhibitions of local talent and international names. The club was founded by long-time resident Cassady Winston, known as DJ Enso.
The private venue was first brought to life on Wing Lok Street, where Premium Sofa Club once laid, moving to Sai Ying Pun in 2013 after a prolonged battle with complaining locals and politicians. It finally relocated to Tai Kok Tsui after political opposition drove them north.
The warehouse party spot saw its sad demise in 2015, after troubles with local government to secure licences to operate legally.
Privé, the famed club on Wyndham Street, was once the place to hit up for Wednesday tipples and Friday clubbing in Lan Kwai Fong. Located in a cool basement space, the expansive 6,000-square-foot venue featured two wide bars, a glitzy lighting system with state-of-the-art visuals, as well as Funktion-One speakers for some of the best sounds in the area.
Adorned with a deluxe Moroccan-style interior, Privé hosted several VIP tables for high-end Lan Kwai Fong patrons to relax away from the crowds. Closing in 2015, Prive is still regarded as a top luxury club that once graced Lan Kwai Fong.
Hong Kong’s longest-operating nightclub, Club 97, opened way back in 1982 when Lan Kwai Fong wasn’t even known as a nightlife hotspot. Prior to the 2000s modernisation of sleek clubs and bars around Hong Kong Island and Kowloon, Club 97 still rocked its nostalgic charm with a wooden interior,retro disco lights, and music.
In its lengthy tenure, the club outlasted other pioneering nightclubs like Canton Disco in Kowloon and Disco Disco in Lan Kwai Fong. Club 97 was instrumental in welcoming the first partygoers to Lan Kwai Fong, its status as a global party capital not only in Hong Kong, but also abroad. The club took down its signs and closed doors in mid 2017.
Kee Club was founded by Hong Kong nightlife guru Christian Rhomberg, who also brought Club 97 to life. Back then, Kee Club fused fine-dining and luxury clubbing in a space often-mistaken for a private members’ club.
The nightclub opened for lunchtime dim sum, which was considered one of the best in the city, before playing soothing tunes all night alongside the best wines, whiskeys, and cocktails. After 15 years, Kee Club closed in 2017.
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