THE DARK SIDE OF HONG KONG NIGHT LIFE 1

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Call it the ugly duckling of Soho, or the area’s forgotten child, but, like the late comedian Rodney Dangerfield, Lower Elgin Street has often been seen as a dead end street struggling to be seen and heard.

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After all, it’s not exactly an address known to many and, even if told exactly where it is, it’s like finding a noodle in a Chinese won ton hung low bowl.

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The two entrances to Lower Elgin Street are hardly welcoming.

One features rundown sheds next to Soho Cafe and down from all the restaurants on Upper Elgin street and the bars in Staunton Street.

Entrance B- from Hollywood Road- has, as landmarks- a 7-11 and a very local Dai Pai Dong stall.

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If on the outside looking in, Lower Elgin Street looks about as exciting as an Adam Sandler movie- but, wait: Something’s happening and it’s as if some fairy godmother has arrived and sprinkled magic dust along the street.

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The Cool Factor, once missing, is starting to make itself a new home here.

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Forget the bad feng shui that saw the same venue that housed Liquid, Nuu, Melting Pot and Liquid Lounge close its doors where no business has ever succeeded and today, trying to break the black curse after the other financial flops there of Entourage- and what a sad back story that has- and then, the equally short-lived Mediterranean-type Enemod- are Toriman Ramen (Japanese) and NOM- Not Only Meatballs- an unpretentious restaurant specializing in home-made Italian dishes catering to a rather sedate crowd- and constant foodie Instagrammers, of course.

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Forget that the Hairdo Bar whose expat owners promised so much, but, recently- and abruptly- closed its doors and moved to a new location. It was a concept that did not click- nor clip- in that location.

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The new arrival of funky little dim sum outlet Ding Dim 1968- though absolutely tiny in space- has proven that less is more and small is beautiful.

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It’s given the street the character it was lacking, and a g.o.d-like outlet bringing in a consumer group in the creative field.

Soirée, Sahara, the excellent- and hidden- Vbest Tea House, Culture Club, Guru and WTF- all, long-time tenants- are still there and, with new arrivals- and competition- no doubt need to up their game- and creative and marketing skills.

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“Being There” was a brilliant movie, but in the highly competitive F&B world of Hong Kong comprising the usual wankers, pilferers and dodgy/creative accounting, simply being there like a wet blanket is a waste of time and space.

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The most interesting new kid on this block is Ho Lee Fook aka “Good fortune for your mouth”, the first venture in Hong Kong by Chef Jowett Wu, originally from Taiwan, and of Sydney’s Ms G’s and Mr Wong fame, below, serving inventive “new Chinese” dishes like Yunnan Steak Tartare with Hot and Sour Sauce, and already attracting a far more affluent and well-traveled Chuppie crowd who know hip from hype and rarely seen down this largely foreign strip of Hong Kong.

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As we all know, people make anything a success, and here, Lower Elgin Street is attracting a melange of people- International, local, hipsters, oldsters, coasters, the straight, the gay, the tourists, the Instagrammers, the milfs, the cougars, the desperate, the needy, the glamours, the streetwise, the cash-rich, the Party People and everyone in-between.

What now remains to be seen is how the tenants at Lower Elgin Street band together and create a vibrant personality- an ongoing vitality which is more than the effusive personality of our Egyptian friend Dodi from Sahara- that will make the street an ongoing Must See and REGULAR area, and not another of those “trendy” bars, restaurants and stomping grounds in Hong Kong that open to screaming big hype by those who wish to be seen as being in the know, and then withdraw and wilt in embarrassing soft cock manner.

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