By LUXE City Guides
The Hong Kong Sevens heralds one of the wildest weekends of the year. In town this year from April 5 to 7, the event invites kooky costumes and lowered inhibitions as rugby-mad revellers take to the stands at Hong Kong Stadium to make it the premier party of the globe-trotting tournament. A solid game plan is advised to make the most of the three-days. Alright? Let’s kick off.
Start the day right with a strong java jolt courtesy of Star Street’s primo coffee spot, Elephant Grounds. The rustic, wood-lined interior offers a rare moment of repose, while caffeine comes accompanied by a compact menu of brunch favourites, from waistline-friendly options to those that will line the stomach. For a more traditional taste, elbows out for Causeway Bay’s constantly crowded Shanghai Hong Kong Noodle Shop (29 Jardine's Bazaar, Causeway Bay, Hong Kong Island), which serves up some of the city’s finest chi fan, or sticky rice filled with pork floss, preserved vegetables and a crispy fried dough stick. As filling as it is delicious, this might just be the perfect grab-and-go pre-game grub.
Fuelled up and enroute to the stadium, get the party started at Lee Gardens’ FanWalk. The shopping centre-turned-rugby-themed wonderland assembles sporting legends, street performers and food and drink options from around the world, all while broadcasting the action direct from the Sevens to make sure not a moment is missed.
There is no need to call time when the whistle blows on the final play of the day, instead follow festivities to the nearby bars of Wan Chai, where the post-Sevens spirit is always strong. Among the many swinging saloons, Carnegie’s shines brightest; a bacchanalian stronghold since 1994, it’s renowned for throwing one heck of a party where dancing on the bar is nothing if not a rite of passage. The subterranean Champs Bar is a mecca for sports fans, complete with framed paraphernalia and a solid selection of beer served within dark-wood surrounds that recall a proper British pub. Alternatively, if a street party is in order, look no further than Lan Kwai Fong, where revellers stream out of the many bars, welcoming one and all to raise a glass and join the fun. Cheers! If you’re looking to enjoy live music with fellow Rugby Sevens fans, head to Central Harbourfront for lively musical performances!
Drinking done, it is time for a late-night bite. New York-style pizzeria Motorino satisfies cravings for Neapolitan pies with inventive toppings until midnight, while its escalator-front location allows for excellent people watching. Nearby Burger Circus, decked out as a classic all-American diner, griddles freshly ground patties and mixes house-made milkshakes into the wee hours; its jalapeno peppers are worth a visit alone. Another after-hours institution is Wan Chai’s Under Bridge Spicy Crab (G/F-3/F, Ascot Mansion, 421-425 Lockhart Road, Wan Chai, Hong Kong Island) for its signature typhoon shelter crab, a deep fried crustacean buried beneath mouthwatering mountains of garlic and chili and secret sauce.
The morning after the night before brings the promise of brunch, and there is no better place to soak up Sevens sins than at one of Central’s best-loved locals, The Globe. Styled like an upmarket British boozer, it boasts a superb selection of local and international brews as well as gastropub-style pie and mash and other dishes. Arrive early, snag a snug booth and settle in.
Before you head to the ground for the next day’s action, get a sense of Hong Kong via a gentle amble around the Wan Chai Heritage Trail where you’ll spy cultural landmarks, architectural icons and perfectly preserved temples. To venture further off the path well-trodden, try Tai Hang, a old-meets-new enclave at the edge of Victoria Park, where traditional dai pai dongs serve steaming milk tea against an increasingly hipster backdrop of shops selling craft beers and cold brews. Now that’s a winning weekend!
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