Three popular Hong Kong restaurants have closed in the wake of coronavirus, leaving hearts broken and patrons wondering if and when they may reopen. With the COVID-19 pandemic still rampant, many of the Hong Kong government’s measures to restrict the spread of the virus have been focused on the food and beverage industry.
We know the virus can spread easily in indoor areas and with greater risk if people inside are not wearing masks. Since you can’t exactly wear a mask while eating and drinking, bars and restaurants have been considered prime situations for contamination.
Therefore, the Hong Kong government has put in place two rounds of restrictions on bars and restaurants. Bars have been forced to cease operating completely. Restaurants have been restricted to 50% capacity with a limit of two persons per table and all dine-in services must cease after 10 p.m.
Government subsidies for the first round of restrictions in June have helped some businesses stay afloat, but with the advent of the current restrictions, many of Hong Kong’s cherished and established bars and restaurants have permanently shuttered their doors.
For six years, the restaurant Rummin’ Tings has been a staple on Hollywood Road in the Soho area. It was distinctive due to its Jamaican style décor and cuisine. The food was mouth wateringly delicious, and honestly, it was the best place in Hong Kong to get a beef patty. After the dinner crowd had moved on or just filled their bellies, classic 90s hip hop by DJ Noel would keep people dancing until the wee hours. Now, there really is nowhere in Hong Kong to get a beef patty or even a decent dark rum punch.
Address: G/F, 28 Hollywood Road
The restaurant group Maximal Concepts has been in the restaurant business for decades. They founded the culinary jewel Mott 32 with its refined Chinese dishes. They then expanded their empire to create one of the hippest eateries in the city, Brickhouse. Surprisingly located in a side alley of Lan Kwai Fong (LKF), this trendy Mexican restaurant had all the style and great taste you would expect from a Maximal Concepts project. The dishes aimed to be fresh, fun and authentically Mexican. The tacos were a favorite as each bite was packed with flavor.
Although the menu was a bit pricey, the clientele generally had deep enough pockets to pay. It was interesting to see women dressed to the nines and impeccably groomed men waiting in a dingy LKF alley. But if you want a seat at Brickhouse during dinner hours, then wait you must. 2020 has been a monumental year, and it has sunk the titanic restaurant concept Brickhouse. The alley, as many others in LKF, remains empty and dark.
In an article for the South China Morning Post, Maximal Concepts co-founder Malcolm Wood said: “Hong Kong operators have all been through such turmoil since last summer, due to the protests compounded with the COVID-19 crisis this year. For us to survive this storm, we forced ourselves to make some heartbreaking decisions. We have to assume that we are only in the first phase of the storm. We also know that political instability in Hong Kong is a likely situation in the short- to medium-term.”
Brickhouse is currently listed online as “temporarily closed,” so hopefully this isn’t the last we’ve seen from this award-winning concept.
Address: G/F, 20A D’Aguilar St, Central
The Wanch in Wan Chai was the oldest running live music venue in Hong Kong, having been in operation for more than 30 years. It was also the cleanest dive bar in the neighborhood. The Wanch was the best place to grab a beer and catch live bands playing anything from 70s classic rock covers to original folk music to death metal headbangers. Originally named the Wan Chai Folk club by its first owners, Howard McKay and Rowland Hastings, the doors of this legendary bar opened in 1987. John Prymmer, Bridget Toon and Keith Goodman bought the establishment we now know as The Wanch in 2010.
Fans and patrons of The Wanch were sad to see this establishment close its doors. Some even suggested crowdfunding as a way to keep things rocking. John Prymmer stated on Facebook that they are committed to reopening The Wanch “when the time is right.”
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