Yasmin's Hong Kong Guide Pt. I

Fresh off the plane from a month in Hong Kong, DJ & singer Yasmin shares her guide to the city’s best speakeasy bars, luxury hotels, and deep bass clubs.

You’ve spent a lot of time in Hong Kong this year - tell us why?

Back in May 2013, I played an amazing gig at a club in HK called Fly and the promoters asked me to come back. I toured Australia in September with Rudimental and after that I was booked to fly to Hong Kong for ten days, in which time I played a warehouse party with Mykki Blanco, a Marc Jacobs rooftop party with Theophilus London, and this dope little speakeasy style club called Socialito.

I guess my sets fit with the vibe here because I made some really great connections and got booked to come back for Pharrell x iAmOther’s BLOHK PARTY. I was also asked to stay out for a month to curate music for a new venue called The Stockton - a real slinky joint with a Hunter S Thompson vibe - and also for the spin company XYZ, which is similar to SoulCycle in NYC. On top of that I’ve DJ’d at loads of parties around the city - last week I played an amazing heavy house set with Justin Martin from Dirtybird and also supported Jay-Z’s DJ and Engineer, Young Guru!

How would you describe the city to someone who has never been?

Hong Kong is one big cocktail of nightlife, bars, restaurants, and clubs. Like all good cocktails, it’s a really good mix - a lot of people ‘on the scene’ here (for want of a better phrase) have travelled a lot and lived all over the world. That gives HK an international vibe where everyone is really sociable, and everyone has a story.

What’s your favourite district?

It would have to be Hong Kong Island (specifically Central/Sheung Wan), simply because for the past month it has been home and I feel like I really know these streets now. It’s pretty cool to just cut about a city on the other side of the world and know your way around after such a short stint. When I return I need to explore Kowloon more - it’s an area on the other side of the water that’s reachable by tunnel or a short boat trip. I only visited a couple times this trip but I know there’s so much to see over that side.

Where have you been staying? Any hotels you’d recommend?

The Upper House in Admiralty. I didn’t stay there but had some friends who played the Blohk Party that did, and it’s the most impressive hotel I’ve seen in a long time - very slick with incredible rooms and a killer view from the rooftop bar, where I nursed a hangover with a Bloody Mary. For longer stays, I would recommend Air BnB, if you book well in advance then you can get a really cool spot for a good price.

How did you get around?

Mostly on foot when in and around Central/Soho. Cabs here are so cheap that even a 30-40 minute journey won’t cost you more than £15, and short journeys around the Central area (when you’re club/bar-hopping) are about £2. Also the MTR is great - really easy to use, well-signposted etc. That’s the best way to be going to Kowloon, for sure.

You’ve DJ’d at parties all over the city. How does the nightlife differ to London? Which clubs do you like best?

As I said before, people here are just so much more sociable than in London. I would end up in the most random places, from the glitziest to the hardest. Sometimes I’d find myself in a group of people I’d literally met 30 minutes prior, but I never felt out of place. I guess in London people really stick to their crew….there’s not as much mingling at home.

My favourite clubs in HK would be Midnight (which sadly closed its doors on NYE), which was a hard house club with a Shoreditch rave vibe. I also love this little cave-like club called Gecko that plays disco and soulful vocal house. It doesn’t kick off till around 3am so that was usually an after-hours spot.

Fly is one of my favourites for Hip Hop & R&B. It’s where I played my first gig in HK so it holds a special place in my heart, as does Socialito, which is a cool restaurant/club with amazing frozen margaritas and an eclectic vibe - you could be wearing a dress or trainers in there, it really doesn’t matter.

Salon No. 10 is a bit more upscale but still relaxed. I heard some wicked disco in there and used it as the venue for my birthday soiree. Finally, XXX Gallery which is a little out the way (by out the way I mean 5-10 minutes in a cab from the main hub in Central) but this is where you’re gonna get some of the best bass driven music in HK. I should also mention a place called Premium Sofa Club that I meant to go to but never got round to visiting. That’s more of a hipster-style place which I was told was amazing, so if you’re in town check it out and let me know!

Top three tracks that always go off in a HK club
This trip Beyonce - Drunk In Love
Joy O & Boddika - Mercy (went off at the house sets big time)
Anything Pusha T

Follow Yasmin’s adventures on Twitter and Instagram, and stay tuned for Pt. II of her Hong Kong guide, coming soon…