The Tai Lung Fung Bar
The Blue House in Wanchai
We had been hearing about a new bar that had opened a while ago called “Tai Lung Fung” in Wanchai, just behind the Blue House. Since yesterday was our day off, we thought we would go and take a look and also check out what was happening with The Blue House at the same time. For those not in Hong Kong, the Blue House is an iconic Wanchai tenement building that is of course painted blue. It housed many of the older residents of the area and was recently taken over by the dubious government agency known as the Urban Renewal Authority with the plans to renovate the building adding things that had been missing like modern wiring and more toilets etc. The residents who wanted to could return and the remaining ones will be let at “market rates”. There is a makeshift museum on the ground floor which will explain the whole story if you stop by. But we are not writing in this post about another government led renovation/restoration project as that is just too depressing a subject ( just take a look at what happened to the beautiful Bauhaus/Moderne Wanchai Market across the street if you need any persuading of what our government x greedy property developers are capable of when left to their own unchecked devices) – no we are here to have a beer and soak up this neighbourhood – so let’s walk around the corner up the far side of the Blue House and meet at the Tai Lung Fung bar.
The community hall of the Blue House. Located on the side of the building.
A close up of the door with a glimpse inside. I looked over the swing doors and startled a young girl doing her homework very studiously, so this is as close as I got taking a photo of the hall.
Ground floor of the Blue House.
A tantalising staircase leading up into the house.
This is the street that Tai Lung Fung is on. Actually, this area used to be full of car body and metal shops and some still remain.
The side street that the bar is on has quite a few older buildings directly opposite it and most are being renovated in some fashion or another.
The Tai Lung Fung Bar.
I used to frequent this area a lot a couple of years ago as when we lived in Shek-O, our pug Waffles used to come to a vet that is just at the end of the street. Not much has changed, still the same metal shops and laundries. The same noodle cafes and shops that make this a very residential quarter in contrast to busy Queens Road and the other side of the road where you have the market and the area blends into the more commercial side of Wanchai. The differences I see ( on this street especially) are some new higher end Japanese restaurants and renovated offices and apartments. But the area seems to be keeping it’s ramshackle charm that makes it a little oasis in quite a busy part of town.
The Tai Lung Fung bar is fitted out in a 1960’s Hong Kong Fashion with old photos, memorabilia and tile work up the bar. I know that this bar has been attracting a trendy crowd at night from the nearby offices and Design studios. ( Time Out HKG is 5 minutes walk away) and that crowd is reflected in the Tapas menu and the indie rock playing. We liked the exterior and the porch of the bar far more than the interior which seemed not quite thought out. All the furniture is new and a sort of a mish-mashed reproduction of 1960’s Hong Kong style but not quite getting the tone right. It would look much cooler if you just filled it with actual old furniture. But the porch is the perfect spot to sit with a beer and contemplate the back of the Blue House and surrounding buildings. Also for people and dog watching as you watch various dogs arrive with their owners to go to the vet and we did see quite the parade of pampered dogs arrive in the hour we were there.
Maybe the bar is more lively if you come at night and then the decor is not so important and the bar tender is not so surly as we found in the afternoon. But if you find yourself trolling this quarter and you feel like a very cold beer, this is the spot to swing by.
The back view of the Blue House.
My dream house/studio. How do I get my hands on it!
The interior of the bar. You can buy the very 1960’s plastic light fixtures from the Blue House museum for HKD198.
Looking out from the bar at a charity shop across the street.
The interior with memorabilia including an old record player.
Above the bar is the Wanchai Visual archive with exhibitions of Wanchai’s past and present.
Alex sitting on the porch with a sweaty beer
Vintage photos on the wall. I love the bar shown here….
The tapas and Happy Hour menu sitting in a box of plants.