Hong Kong’s coffee craze is in full swing — and we’re happy to report that even on the Kowloon side, Starbucks and Pacific Coffee Company aren’t your only options for a kick of java. Here are our favorite off-the-island spots for those looking for hidden gems, casual cafes, live music, and indie vibes.
You can find the industrial cool (read: exposed beams, copper and wood fixtures) atmosphere of this Tsim Sha Tsui spot tucked in a quiet street behind K11. But keep your eyes peeled, as Urban Coffee Roaster is so low key you might walk right past it. Inside you’ll not only find spot-on brews, but also a tidy selection of bites and craft beer should you be after a different kind of kick. The cafe also stocks a solid selection of beans and caffeine-infused body lotions, so your experience can continue even after you leave.
7 Bristol Avenue, Tsim Sha Tsui, 2363-3661.
While a Lai Chi Kok industrial building might be a world away from the famous Sydney beach, one sip of the flat white at Bondi and you’ll instantly be transported to the island continent. Comfortable and friendly, the chill vibe comes complete with quality coffee that pays homage to the famous cuppas Down Under.
Room 203, Elite Industrial Centre, 883 Cheung Sha Wan Road, Cheung Sha Wan, 3996-7806.
Tai Ping Shan fave Oldish recently took up a much larger space in the thick of Kwun Tong’s industrial hub, and we just love what they’ve done with the place. Taking up an entire floor of a back-alley factory building (the vibe even extends to the elevator, which you have to open and close yourself), this cavernous space doesn’t just serve up a decent Americano, but also doubles as a retail site stocking an uber cool range of denim, leather goods and vintage-inspired American and Japanese homewares.
5/F, AB Block, How Ming Factory Building, 99 How Ming Street, Kwun Tong.
It’s down the road from Oldish, but MG Cafe feels like a world away. Overlooking the expansive Kwun Tong waterfront promenade, this very comfortable café is polished and pristine. Expect comfortable leather seating, high ceilings and a very good piccolo latte that will make you feel like you’re on a mini vacation. There’s even a super cute selection of hand-made accessories should you fancy some souvenir shopping.
133 Hoi Bun Road, Kwun Tong, 2345-1128.
Sham Shui Po is one of the hottest neighborhoods in Hong Kong right now — and it’s about time, too. While you explore the evolving area, stop for a cup at Sausalito, a lengthy, narrow coffee haven nestled in between Sham Shui Po’s numerous leather workshops. Not only does the cafe offer a cozy place to work over an excellent selection of caffeine-based drinks (try the zesty orange mocha), but Sausalito is also all about giving back to the local community, with a rotating roster of workshops and musicians regularly popping up throughout the week.
201 Tai Nan Street, Sham Shui Po, 6305-1887.
Coffee Jobs does a damn good job of countering your preconceived notions of Mong Kok, one of the most densely populated areas on the planet. Located on a quiet (and surprisingly expansive) corner just blocks away from the madness of Sneaker Street and the Ladies’ Market, this sleek, airy café is the perfect respite from it all when it all gets a little too much, with a consistently great brew to match. Mong Kok and chill anyone?
3 Kwong Wa Street, Mong Kok, 9655-3519.
Think of the up-and-coming little hood of Tai Kok Tsui like Sai Ying Pun pre-MTR — so close to everything yet refreshingly far from it all. Craft Coffee Roaster has been quietly been doing business in this burgeoning district since 2013, serving up one of the best brews on either side of the harbor, with a constantly rotating list of global guest beans among the most impressive you’ll see anywhere. Make sure you don’t leave without a slice of the cafe’s impressive cheesecake, either — you have had to walk more than five minutes from the closest MTR, after all.
29 Tai Kok Tsui Road, Tai Kok Tsui, 2395-1888.
OK, so technically, Accro Coffee is in the New Territories, but we’d be remiss not to mention the multiple award-winning Accro Coffee. Among other accolades, one of their baristas was named the World Siphonist Champion in 2013. Open until midnight (rejoice!), this Yuen Long spot is a haven for true coffee lovers — don’t be surprised if you start talking tasting notes and bean origin with the very knowledgeable staff. This is one that’s well worth the journey.
37 Ma Wang Road, Yuen Long, 9430-1433.
Another local spot that’s made a huge mark on the world stage (the cafe’s list of global awards borders on intimidating), this Kwun Tong roaster and café is a must-visit for anyone who takes their coffee seriously. You know it’s the real deal when a coffee shop has a water filtration system attached to one of its walls. We also love the sexy, understated design at Return Coffee House, which lets the java do the talking.
43 Hung To Road, Kwun Tong, 3590-9367.
A relaxing, split-level den in Hung Hom, the beautifully executed One Little Room is unlike anything we’ve experienced on either side of town. Tucked in a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it alleyway, everything here is just so well thought out, from the seating to the lighting fixtures, the impressive wood paneled counter to the literature-inspired feature wall. There’s substance to match the style, too, with a great brew the reward for finding this hidden gem.
L/G, 436 Chatham Road North, Hung Hom, 5616-4515.
Just a street back from the water, this Sai Kung spot embodies everything we love about eastern Kowloon. Five Coffee Company is friendly, chilled-out and the perfect place to escape from it all. They also stock a really good range of African and South American beans as well as pretty wicked French Toast. We couldn’t think of a better way to power up before, or after, your next junk trip.
3 Hoi Ping Street, Sai Kung, 2613-1010.
Brought to us by the team behind Causeway Bay vet Café Corridor (as well as Tin Hau’s Silly Boo), this Mody Road hangout looks like something out of Taipei, complete with a carousel horse hanging from the ceiling. While you’re at N1, grab a slice of banoffee pie with your awesome iced cappuccino or kicky long black in this little oasis of cool and calm in the thick of Tsim Sha Tsui.
34 Mody Road, Tsim Sha Tsui, 3568-4726.
Ho Man Tin and its surrounding suburbs are set to explode once the Sha Tin to Central MTR link opens, but the newly opened Black Sugar is staking its claim before the rush comes. Opened in early 2016, this chic new spot is bringing quality java to a hitherto unexplored hood with a rockstar shiba inu mascot to boot.
8 Peace Avenue, Ho Man Tin, 3709-6259.