"My god... that's a super white bar," pun intended for those who know Chinese, as me and my boys embarked on a quest to explore bars with live music in Hong Kong.
After roaming Lan Kwai Fong without much success, we almost gave up and hopped on a Ding Ding Bus to Wan Chai. Just as luck seemed to fade, I urged Lycan to reconsider a familiar tune playing softly nearby. Just behind us, amidst dim blue lighting, was a quiet bar with a singer performing in a language I recognized. It took us a moment to realize that the song was "Ten Years" by Eason Chan, also known as "Ming Nin Gam Yat" in its Cantonese version.
"FINALLY," we exclaimed!
"THIS IS THE PLACE." I was so excited that I immediately snapped a photo of the entrance, knowing I had to cover this spot while humming softly to the singer's chorus.
"Lets do this place."
Walking into Center Stage felt distinct from The Wanch. The crowd seemed smaller, only about a third of the size, and interactions were minimal—a common sight at an Asian introvert bar (not overcrowded). Perhaps the night was still young, and the crowd hadn't fully warmed up yet.
Having chugged a pint of Asahi earlier, I debated getting another drink, but eventually went with a pint of Hoegaarden and a basket of fries. Seated at the back, I deemed it the best spot as we could enjoy the music while conversing.
Lycan and I were caught up in the enthusiasm of Chinese-Canto songs that filled the night. It was his last few songs before a new singer took over, but we left the evening satisfied. We opted to stay a bit longer, this time daring to put in a song request.
Unfortunately, the next singer didn't perform in Cantonese, but we were treated to a Mandarin classic, "The Moon Represents My Heart." The vibes shifted as more people arrived, celebrating birthdays and dancing to Taylor Swift. Still content, we decided on round two as X started feeling a bit tipsy and I began doodling.
Before I forget, the owner or manager that night was exceptionally friendly and welcoming. He greeted guests with gestures and ushered us around, likely aware that we were travelers on the island. He even treated us to shots, ending our night on a high note. If you're reading this, a big thank you!
Center Stage has certainly carved a place in my heart during this "pub crawl" in search of live music. I'll definitely return for the great vibes and Cantonese live music—a feat that some locals find elusive in modern Hong Kong.
Name: Centre Stage
Address: 82 Jaffe Rd, Wan Chai, Hong Kong
Opening Hours: Mon-Sat (12 pm–6 am) Sun (12 pm–12am)
Phone: +852 2595 1202