Is Lan Kwai Fong (蘭桂坊) no longer the bar haven in Hong Kong after VaBene, Post97 and Hong Kong Brew House left?
Closure of the Hong Kong Brew House might not be a big news in Hong Kong Bar scene when hundreds of restaurants or bars are closing every month. But the bar owner of Hong Kong Brew House publicly spoke out the fact of Lan Kwai Fong, which has aroused lots of debates and discussion.
Back to few years ago, no vacant shops could be found in Lan Kwai Fong’s restaurant spaces. F&B shop rents were once the record high in Hong Kong Island. Even you had money to pay the rent, it’s difficult to get in with zero vacancy.
The bar scene in Lan Kwai Fong (蘭桂坊) and Wyndham Street have changed since late 2014. Could we put the blame on Occupy Central (和平佔領中環) at that time and the growing impact by 7-Eleven in Lan Kwai Fong selling cheap bottled beers?
Yes in the fact some routine night customers are not hanging around in Central now. They started to leave Central during the protest period and tried something new out of Central. They might not do so if without the protest.
As far as Lacrucci knows, more new dining areas and options have added on the momentum of drawing foodie customers out from Central.
Kennedy Town and Sai Ying Pun, with the MTR route in operation by late 2015, together with few shopping arcades with F&B focus, like Lee Tung Avenue upstairs and street restaurants in Wan Chai and the Pulse in Repulse Bay, have further drawn people out from Central, especially during the weekends.
The Coming and Going of Starred restaurants in Lan Kwai Fong (蘭桂坊)
Lacrucci witnessed the downturn of F&B industry in Central. Closures of restaurants and bars are faster than new openings. Number of vacant shops are more and average vacant period are longer than before.
Apart from the big names in Lan Kwai Fong as mentioned, American Vintage, Caliburger, Bit Point, Wilber’s and Icon on Wyndham Street were closed, whereas Yorkshire Pudding, iCaramba, NOM, Vivo, Taku and Calimex said farewell to Soho Central in the previous 18 months.
Tough, really tough! We feel sad to see this scene happening. But the market should have its own mechanism to adjust, in particular the rental, which will in turn draw F&B operators back to Central again.
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