Hysan Place, Sogo, Time Square — these shopping landmarks show why Causeway Bay is still one of the city’s busiest business and cultural destinations. And we’ll be the first to admit that we’ll never be bored of all-inclusive shopping malls and friendly chain stores. But how about something different for a change? Join us this week as we travel back in time to the ’50s and explore the Caroline-Haven community area, where classical infrastructure meets hipster hangouts.
Architecture would be what passerbys would find to be the most interesting about Causeway Bay. With buildings and artifacts frozen in the ‘50s, walking into the neighborhood feels like traveling through old Hong Kong.
Besides the regular street plates that stand alongside the street, the start and the end of Haven Street is also marked by a T-shape street plate, slabbed onto the walls of the buildings. Although some might find them somewhat less functional, without the street numbers on the side to indicate exact addresses, artsy folks would certainly find the more calligraphic font visually appealing.
Recognized by its rounded corners, Corner Houses are a type of build from the mid-20th century that was popularized by Antonio Hermenegildo Basto. These fourth-generation Bauhaus-style tong lau usually sit at junctions where streets intersect. In the photo above, we have Haven Court connecting residential buildings on Caroline Hill Road with those on Haven Street via Leighton Road.
These old-school security kiosks are unseen nowadays. Back in the day when Hong Kong’s land supply problem was not as pressing as it is today, security guards were not squeezed into a tiny little booth and had an entire kiosk to themselves!
With a quasi-lobby that serves as a connection point between adjacent residential buildings, it is not hard to understand why the Causeway Bay neighborhood has such a strong sense of community. Not only that, such a design facilitates better air flow, while allowing residents to navigate the city via multiple entrances that lead to different parts of Causeway Bay and Wan Chai. Locals also find the spacious lobbies and connecting passageways a great place to start businesses, such as cha chaan teng (local diners), to serve nearby residents.
The bustling community surrounding Caroline Hill Court, Lei Ka Court, Lei Wen Court, Lei Ha Court and Haven Court in Causeway Bay has gone from answering to the basic everyday needs of people who live nearby to nowadays hosting young businesses that hipsters would find attractive.
And of course one would expect there to be a tattoo parlor in a hipster-friendly district. Established in 2016, Friday’s Tattoo occupies Shop 9A on the ground floor of Lei Ha Court and has since been a popular destination for Hongkongers to get inked.
Address: 9A, G/F, Lei Ha Court, 13-15 Haven Street Tel: 5595 0130
Does the name ring a bell? Loyal readers of The Loop HK would already know Luddite from Where To Buy Utility Wear In Hong Kong. Besides a range of locally designed clothes and goods, Luddite is also where fans can unearth western-style vintage shirts and accessories that add depth to one’s edits.
Make sure you stop by Danish Bakery before you leave the Caroline-Haven complex. Opened in 1971, the bakery has served nearby communities for over half a century, and has been frequented by celebrities such as singer Eason Chan and Ekin Cheung. You would think Danish Bakery only bakes wonderful breads, but their pork cutlet sandwiches and hotdogs, as well as other savory bites, are even better!
Address: G/F, Lei Shun Court, 106-126 Leighton Road