The local indie music scene may have suffered in the past year with the closing of two iconic venues Backstage Live and Hidden Agenda, but who says Hong Kong’s music scene is dead? Freshly opened on Queen’s Road East is 1563 At The East, a restaurant, bar and lounge, and live music venue rolled into one, with the sole mission to champion Hong Kong’s burgeoning talents. They’ve got five themed music nights a week, offering a stage for local musicians to have a chance to shine.
Named after a popular chord progression used in Cantopop (1-5-6-3), 1563 At The East is a far cry from the small, smoky bars where you go to look for live music in Wan Chai—it’s a spacious venue with an open bar area, a terrace overlooking Queen’s Road East, and seating can be arranged for intimate gigs, lunch and dinner, or just casual drinks with chill live tunes.
The Food and Drink
Accompanying a drinks list of classic and colorful, fruity cocktails are snacks and mains that will fill you whether you’re just there for lunch or late night snack. They’re not your average bar eats: Think fat cigar-shaped spring rolls (served in an ash tray, specially sourced for the dish), Typhoon Shelter-style cheese fries, deboned Tai O shrimp paste wings, numbing spice pizza (which was dangerously dotted with large chilis), reinvented comfort foods like fried hor fun with beef skewers and spaghetti bolognese with onsen egg and more.
On the team as music consultant is Vicky Fung, the co-founder of now-closed gig venue Backstage Live. Coming from a pop music background and a composer herself, Fung tells HKClubbing that the idea at 1563 is to expand people’s perceptions of music in Hong Kong. “I have always wanted to expand the possibilities of the local music scene by bringing artists, musicians and audiences together. It’s important to create a ‘space’ not just in the physical sense, but in spirit, to enable musicians and audiences to be connected, and different genres of music to be accessible.”
The result? We can look forward to five themed nights a week, including an open stage for anyone to step up and perform with a fully trained live band.
- Tuesday: “Spot On,” a spotlight on rising talents.
- Wednesday: “Wild Wild West,” a focus on western songs performed by Hong Kong artists, and songs can range from jazz to R&B to folk to funk.
- Thursday (9pm-midnight) and Friday (10pm-1am): “Who Don’t Sing,” a pop jam session encouraging patrons to go on stage to sing with the live band. Songs can be Cantopop or otherwise.
- Saturday (8-10pm): “YumYum音 (YumYumYum),” all about pairing the flavours of dinner to appealing rhythms, which sounds like the ultimate synesthetic experience…
But what if you’re into some good ole’ classic western music? You might want to check out The 50’s Bar & Restaurant—inspired by vintage Hollywood and rock and roll—just a hop and skip away at QRE Plaza, which offers foot-stomping tunes by resident rock cover band The Magic Touch. And if you get hungry, you can dig into a menu of fancy western classics (foie gras and lamb chops anyone?) as the band nails your favorite Elvis and Beatles tunes.
Article by Evelyn Lok