Tai Kwun, one of Old Town Central’s oldest historical landmarks, often plays host to a diverse range of art exhibitions. Ying Kwok has devoted her life to creating one-of-a-kind art experiences for locals and visitors. As a Hong Kong-based curator, Ying Kwok works with a diverse range of local and internationally recognised art and cultural institutions, putting together numerous art shows small and large, most notably the Hong Kong Pavilion at the 57th Venice Biennale in 2017.
Currently housing five world-class art galleries, including David Zwirner, Hauser & Wirth, Pace Gallery, Tang Contemporary Art, and Whitestone Gallery, H Queen’s was built to promote the arts in the city. Giving visitors a new art-viewing experience with spacious venues that allow for large-scale installations, H Queen’s also boasts a string of top-quality eateries within its sleek 24-storey complex. If you need somewhere to settle for an artsy afternoon tea after a visit to the galleries, Vive Cake Boutique is the ideal place. Renowned for its photogenic and decorative cakes that look almost too good to eat, you’ll find this minimalist and feminine space on the first floor of the building (shop entrance on Stanley Street).
Get familiar with the history of Old Town Central and see the history of Pedder Street come alive with CITY IN TIME’s colourful AR-enabled poles. Using the CITY IN TIME mobile app to scan the AR clock on the pole, users can see illustrations of Pedder Street’s past instantly appear with a slider in place to showcase the contrasting scenery of old versus new. At Pedder Street, illustrations by talented local artist Flyingpig can be seen, while works by local artist Pen So can be found at the CITY IN TIME poles in other areas of Central.
A hub for independent art performances, stand-up comedy shows and unique art exhibitions, the Fringe Club is known for its open platform which allows anyone with creative material to put on a show. Formerly known as the Old Dairy Farm Depot, the iconic red and white brick building also houses The Fringe Vault, a multipurpose coffee shop that transforms into an art space for art exhibitions, pop-up stores and book launches, among many other cultural events.
Both a cafe and a vintage shop, this cosy spot serves up strong-bodied and flavourful coffee in a nostalgic, laid-back environment. Visitors can enjoy their brews in colourful retro Fire King mugs, which are also charmingly displayed by the window of the cafe, and browse through a large collection of vintage band tees, sweatshirts, vinyl records, and posters. Whether you’re a coffee connoisseur, a vinyl collector or just a lover of all-things-vintage, Artisan Cafe Central can easily satisfy your caffeine dose while giving you an unmatched shopping experience.
Revitalised from the former Central Police Station, Central Magistracy, and Victoria Prison, Tai Kwun is one of the city’s biggest art and creative spaces where curated art exhibitions and immersive programmes such as cultural performances and workshops are regularly held. Other than art exhibitions, pay a visit to Between Coffee, a Japanese-style cafe that aims to build a community that integrates art and culture. Led by head barista Zac Wu, who came third place in the 2018 Hong Kong Coffee in Good Spirits Championship, the cafe creates an excellent range of home blended coffee, hand-brewed coffee and specialty coffee cocktails.
Painted during Hong Kong Arts Month in 2018, the Shingo Art mural located on Shelley Street was created by Japanese celebrity Shingo Katori. Adding a vibrant burst of red to the area, the dragon-themed art piece, drawn freehand by the artist, pays homage to Hong Kong with colourful Bauhinia motifs and a miniature skyline in the centre.
Home to over a hundred young artists and entrepreneurs, PMQ is a quintessential hub for creative development in Hong Kong. Whether you’re looking for stylish gifts or art and lifestyle inspiration, the independent brands at PMQ will have you covered. Besides the array of design studios, shops and restaurants, visitors can explore the semi-open space in the courtyard, where festive art fairs, pop-ups, workshops, and exhibitions are often held.
Tucked away at the corner of Tai Ping Shan Street is Soul Fresh, a coffee shop with outdoor camping tables and chairs that make it a popular photo spot in the neighbourhood. The cafe’s wall murals and drawings are all hand-painted by shop owner Priscilla. Originally a painter, she took an interest in baking, ultimately changing career and opening her own cafe. On the menu you’ll find an array of delicious baked goods and pastries, such as pandan chiffon cakes, macarons and the cafe’s signature Vietnamese-style baguette. Paired with homemade liver pate and pickled vegetables — and a choice of pork or chicken, if you wish — the baguette is crispy on the outside and soft on the inside.
Stain+ is a place for serious coffee drinkers. With a curated selection of locally roasted coffee beans to choose from, along with bottled cold brew coffee for takeaway, Stain+ allows every customer to find what best suits their palate. Take a seat by the wooden tables and benches, handcrafted by a local carpenter from Cheung Mei Design Workshop, or head upstairs for an idyllic afternoon of people-watching. Before popping inside, don’t forget to check out the cafe’s ever-changing facade, which is often covered with different murals in collaboration with various artists and brands.
Step into Paintable Cafe and you’ll be greeted by the eye-catching mural hand-painted by local illustrator Toballki. The small gallery and cafe invites different artists to splash new colours on to its walls from time to time. But creativity doesn’t stop at the artworks here; the cafe’s unconventional dishes and treats — think English scones with homemade rose honey nut sauce, banana hazelnut croissant waffles with ice cream, and rainbow yoghurt — all come in creative presentations.