‘Getaway beer’ – consuming pints of alcohol in a public house (pub, bar, or restaurant) situated within grounds so fine that upon leaving you’re feeling refreshed as if returning from a weekend getaway.
The city is awash with fancy-schmancy rooftop restaurants serving high society with smorgasbords of ‘delicacies’ that barely satiate the stomach, yet still manage to empty an average wallet.
The punchline to this societal joke? There’s better available – for cheaper – just around the corner.
A short commute from our concrete jungle is all it takes to discover the most incredible al fresco watering holes this land has to offer – at a fraction of the inner-city price.
Make the effort, transport yourself to any one of these pubs for a pint, and thank me later.
*Food is available at all of these locations and mostly tastes fine after a few beverages.
5: La Terrazza (Sha Tin)
…has a patio crying out for people to come down pints on. Not once have I seen anyone outside enjoying the summer sun or the sprawling 360-degree vista. Bonkers considering how much of a rare Hong Kong sight it is, not to have your back up against wall or mountain.
Below this restaurant’s slightly elevated position, the Shing Mun River cuts a gentle line through city and valley. On either bank are parks steeped in verdant vegetation, within which locals meander, making for pleasurable people-watching.
Directions: Take the MTR to Sha Tin and exit into the mall. Walk straight through the shopping center before descending the escalators and heading out the yuge doors. You will find an outdoor area with steps. Ascend said steps before walking past the library. Here, you’ll find more steps to ascend up to the restaurant.
Photo: The view of Shing Mun River from La Terrazza.
Top tip: Walk South through the park and check out the Hong Kong’s Heritage Museum.
4: Celina’s beer rainforest (Sai Kung, Hoi Ha)
…is Hong Kong’s answer to the British beer garden. A simple setup of plastic tables and chairs outside her picturesque home cum restaurant are the perfect place to kick back and relax amongst nature while sipping on a cold Tiger.
This sleepy little Food & Beverage spot comes encapsulated by an encroaching tropical rainforest, and, is only a 30-second stroll from one of Hong Kong’s most pristine, beautiful beaches. fresh smells, wild sounds, and greenery all around, immediately immerses visitors into Mother Nature’s vibe.
Directions: minibus 29R rockets out of Sai Kung Town along those narrow countryside roads, delivering you shaken and stirred to Hoi Ha Wan village. The rest is obvious.
Photo: the path leading to Celina’s
Top tip: Quieter beaches can be found not too far away on Wan Tsai Extension.
3: The Pirate Bar (Cheung Chau Island)
…might not be its real epithet, but I couldn’t help naming the place after my very first visit. Tucked away in a quiet corner off the main beach, its bar exhibits the laid-back island vibe that so many other establishments shoot for but miss by a mile.
Aside from the occasional helicopter landing just a few feet away, this is the perfect, and perhaps the only, place to sip a craft beer beside the seaside. From this vantage point, cliffs peel off left and right, creating a fabulous frame of our metropolis out to sea.
Directions: Catch the 40-minute ferry from Central Pier 5 which will drop you in Cheung Chau’s main town. Check out this map for the rest of the route.
Video: It’s a pirate’s life for me!
Top tip: Before you have too many craft beers at the bar, enquire about windurfing.
2: Lei Yue Mun (east Kowloon)
…does not feature anyway in most tourist itineraries. In fact, a friend who’s lived here most of her life said “I never even knew this place existed” when I took her there last week. Seafood fiends will particularly enjoy how the waiters guide you through the local wet market to select your meal.
Situated on the far eastern shores of Victoria Harbour, this view beats TST harbour front hands down. A truly unique view which smushes together the Kowloon and Island skyline in a feast of visual trickery, best seen at night, when both sides twinkle like a million diamonds thrown into a sunny sky.
Directions: Lei Yue Mun is a 10-15 minute walk from Yau Tong MTR or 20-minute taxi from Mong Kok. Check out this map for the route from the MTR.
Photo: The view from behind Lei Yue Mun looking back on Hong Kong city.
Top Tip: Many of the restaurants have balconies looking over the sea, but a couple of larger places have rooftops with waaaay better views.
1: On Kee (Tai Long Wan, Sai Kung)
Is a small shack on white sands surrounded by mountains. While not the closest to Central, it’s certainly the most awe-inspiring. A couple hours relaxing here recharges my batteries like a week’s holiday in the islands of Thailand.
Outside a small river flows down from the looming mountains, creating a moat between bar and beach. The makeshift wooden plank bridge adds an extra element of adventure to the journey and becomes fantastic entertainment to watch others crossing later.
Directions: Minibus 29R whizzes you from Sai Kung Town to Sai Wan Pavilion where you begin the hike down to beach level. Follow the trail past the first two beaches you reach, ascending the cliff before descending onto Tai Long Wan.
Photo: Relaxing at On Ke after attempting Sharp Peak in the height of summer.
Top tip: This tiny tin shack in the middle of nowhere serves up an incredible bbq feast on busy weekends and holidays.
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