May 11, 2018
Ah, Carnegies. The Grand Dame of Wan Chai, It’s hard not to retain a soft spot for this little dive bar on Lockhart Road, which has weathered all manner of storms and seen it’s neighbours change more times than it could care to count. There are few airs and graces about Carnegies. It’s changed a little itself over the years (the removal of an unsafe-looking balcony level some years ago, and the installation of dancing rails on the bar – which we’ll get back to presently), but this drinking den in the sleazy heart of Hong Kong’s red light district has remained avowedly a rock n roll bar. Expect a thunderous and not particularly up-to-date jukebox as the evening’s entertainment – something that only adds to the fun. The décor is worn, the bar usually awash with spilt drinks but the drinks are cheap – worryingly so in some cases — but cheap drinks mean a bawdy, young clientele and there’s usually a good energy to the place, part of the reason it has kept humming along for the best part of three decades. Mostly famous for two things – devil-may-care bartop dancing and its seven-layer flaming Dr Pepper ‘bomb shots’ – it has remained a sticky sense of recklessness throughout its long existence. While the rails installed along the bar top a few years back have doubtlessly saved more than a few cracked skulls and twisted ankles, it still hosts a very young crowd alongside some not-so-young regulars for an eclectic, completely pretense-free, honest night out. Just try not to fall off the bar.