Hong Kong Nightlife Hub to Expand to Chengdu

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Photo by Alfeewusy under the Wikipedia Commons licenseSept. 15 – Hong Kong’s famous nightlife hub, Lan Kwai Fong, is set to expand to Chengdu by March 2010.

The Hong Kong-based billionaire property developer, Allan Zeman, has announced plans to open another version of his Lan Kwai Fong branded leisure area in Chengdu. Lan Kwai Fong is a popular destination in Hong Kong known for its more than 100 bar and dining choices.

The name is taken from the Cantonese name of a winding street in Central that runs through the bar area in Hong Kong and has long had cachet in China.

Zeman has purchased a small neighborhood comprising 19 new buildings on the banks of the Jinjiang district in Chengdu, which has become the central business district of the city. It comprises some 43,000 square meters of terraces, piazzas and roof top dining, and will be about 18 times larger than it’s Hong Kong counterpart.

The Chengdu version of Lan Kwai Fong will focus more on the city’s affluent Chinese locals. Lan Kwai Fong’s biggest names will also be coming to Chengdu including the likes of California bar, LKF beer bar, Indochine and others estblishments keen to extend their influence into the mainland.

“I was blown away by what was going on in the city, which is a hub of activity,” Zeman told AFP. “And unlike in Shanghai and Beijing, the people in Chengdu work hard but they also tend to enjoy themselves in a more relaxed way.”

Despite the Lan Kwai Fong name now being synonymous with a fancy night out and drinks, the area originally had a far different reputation. The phrase lan kwai fong means street of the flower sellers in Cantonese and one florist can still be found doing business in the area. However, in the 1890’s the flowers sold were also of a different variety. The area was the heart of Hong Kong’s red light district, a fact immortalized in an old South China Morning Post advertisement when an establishment claimed to sell, “fragrant honey in very tight pots.”