Bankers brave multiple risks (for a drink)
The response of people to the coronavirus has been nothing short of inspiring. Not least bankers' creative solutions to carry on drinking. Taipan considers the best —and worst — options.
Hong Kong’s on-again, off-again lockdowns have made it difficult for bankers to meet clients, friends, or each other. But some of those in Hong Kong have proved determined to do their bit to keep the food & beverage sector thriving, albeit putting more of their emphasis on the ‘B’ than the 'F'.
There are a few possible options for those kicked out of bars at the mandatory 6pm closing time but too sozzled to realise that they should go home.
The most popular is ‘Club 7/11’, or simply buying beers from a local shop and drinking them in the street. This has long been the favourite choice of Hong Kong’s teenagers, in part because their McLovin-style IDs have more success with tired convenience store workers than nervous bar managers. But the bankers, perhaps because their kids have already co-opted the Co-Op, prefer to look for other solutions.
The next step up also involves standing in the street, but in settings where it is just about possible to convince yourself that you’re still at a bar. Hong Kong’s many hole-in-the-wall eateries, which previously saw beverage sales as little more than a minor supplement to revenues, have now become de facto bars, selling bottles of beer to their customers in the street.
The other option, potentially more terrifying, is a lock-in. This might seem like a good choice for anyone enticed by the idea of a clandestine all-nighter at The Winchester debating whether or not dogs can look up. However, as only Hong Kong's dodgiest bar owners are willing to flout the lockdown rules, the ambiance in such places apparently leaves a lot to be desired. One banker who braved one tells me he was scared for his life.