"Lets try to find a bar to hangout."
The idea of going to a bar floated to and fro, and we almost forgot about it after going across Central, Lan Kwai Feng, only to find most of them singing English songs. Lycan and I really wanted to check "Live Cantonese music" off the list, and we almost threw in the towel when Lycan wanted to get bubble tea for the night.
"No, I want a drink," X blurted out.
"A drink, drink? Then a bar it is!"
We continued going across towards Lan Kwai Feng, weaving into every street and the streets within. Shisha kiosks, jazz bars, and clubs were aplenty, but not what we were looking for. It was indeed hard to find Live Cantonese (or even Chinese) music these days, as most Hong Kongers are westernized now. I remember the conversation I had with my local friend here; she too shared that most places, similar to Singapore, are leaning more towards English Pop or K-Pop. So, naturally, the less favored option would fade away.
We didn't give up too easily, as we even took a ding-ding bus out to Wan Chai area before continuing the long walk. Our heartbeats hastened, fatigue kicked in, and the humidity took advantage of our thirst when we saw "Hong Kong's Live Music Club." Call a spade a spade, and in a time of desperation and decent music, we headed in, following the vocals of the familiar English pop that I escaped Singapore from.
It's funny how we didn't want to go to a "white bar" but found ourselves in the whitest bar in town. More than 80% of the people there are expats, and it felt just like those expat bars in Singapore. Not what we were looking for, as we wanted something more... "local." But then again, it's probably part of the "local" culture too; just like Singapore. Perhaps it's a place where expats and white people felt at home, but not us.
I think the difference is in the culture, where the people in the bar are more "animated"? If it makes sense to put it that way. Like how the crowd moves around a lot, dancing, loud chatter as if it's a modern tavern out of what you'd see in the movies. Whereas the more "Asian" bars I know have a more "reserved" (or introverted) crowd.
We stayed for a bit nevertheless; the music was definitely good and somewhat still relatable in a way; not too high society jazz, nor were they songs we didn't recognize. So you can't blame us for ordering a pint after hearing "The Cranberries' Zombie" being sung. But that's just about the only song we know. Before we knew it, we were texting three-way in our Telegram group while Lycan and I started chugging our beer.
It was really chaotic when we didn't have a table, as we stood awkwardly like fresh wallflower nerd buddies in the new semester, and everyone seemingly already knew each other. After the familiar charm of "Creep" and "Zombie" wore off, our awkwardness and failure to fit into the crowd only told us that we had to go elsewhere.
"I don't belong here" felt like a fitting quote to throw in before we left our glasses awkwardly by the counter, gestured, and gave an awkward smile to the bartender who was probably as awkward serving us as we waddled down the stairs of the Wanch.
It's not a bad place, definitely, and I'm sure Wan Chai is home to some. The ones who find home here, akin to house parties and people dancing just about everywhere but not in a club setting, where you can speak to each other between sets without constantly yelling. From the crowd and the ambiance, Wan Chai has definitely found a spot to fit in here in Hong Kong. But not us, as we continue our journey to find that bar we can call "home."
Name: The Wanch
Address: 1/F, Henan Building, 90 Jaffe Rd, Wan Chai, Hong Kong
Opening Hours: 11:30 am–2 am