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Best coffee shops and cafés in Hong Kong’s Wan Chai district for business catch-ups

3 Nov 2019 by Michael Allen
Elephant Grounds, Wan Chai / photo courtesy of Elephant Grounds

Hong Kong’s Wan Chai district, located east of Central and Admiralty, is one of the city’s busiest business districts. It is therefore one of the most popular areas for coffee catchups with business associates and clients, both for Hong Kong residents and those visiting the city. However, it is also an extremely crowded area, especially during peak hours, where it can be difficult to find a coffeeshop that offers just the right mix of location, space, privacy – and, of course great coffee.

Business Traveller’s Asia-Pacific office is located in the Wan Chai district on the busy Queen’s Road East, so we have ample opportunities to sample the coffeeshops in the local area.

Here is our pick of the best coffeeshops in the area to host your next coffee catch-up, or simply to unwind on the weekend. As you’ll see from the list below, we found some to be more suitable for business meetings and some more suitable for leisure.

Le Pain Quotidien

Le Pain Quotidien

Background

This Belgian café chain with more than 260 locations worldwide opened its first outlet in Hong Kong in 2016 right here in Wan Chai.

Where is it?

At the end of Lee Tung Avenue, a 200-metre-long, tree-lined pedestrian walkway that used to be known as Wedding Card Street due to its concentration of wedding card makers. Now, “The Avenue”, as it is often known, is home to many restaurants, bars and retailers, as well as luxury apartments.

What’s it like?

This café’s spacious patio is great for al fresco meetings and there are fans to keep you cool during Hong Kong’s hot and sticky summers. There is also indoor seating with air conditioning and the tables both inside and out are spaced far enough apart to ensure privacy.

Le Pain Quotidien

The drinks

A wide selection of hot and cold drinks. Their iced lattes at HK$35 (US$4.46), sipped on the sun-drenched patio, are a good choice. Or on a colder day try the Belgian hot chocolate at HK$38 (US$4.84) for a small or HK$42 (US$5.35) for a large.

Healthy smoothies like the Super Green (kale, celery, cucumber, pineapple, lemon, apple and ginger) are also available at HK$60 (US$7.65).

Alcoholic beverages are also available here, including a selection of Belgian beers, as well as wine.

The food

Wide ranging, including breakfast, brunch, lunch and dinner. The bakery has a good selection of breads and pastries. The main dishes include several healthy options, with a Detox Breakfast at HK$72 (US$9.18) of yogurt, banana, flaxseed, goji berries, dried blueberries, chia seed with turmeric and honey; as well as a detox salad with organic quinoa at HK$118 (US$15.04) for lunch. 

Verdict

Recommended. I have had several business meetings here in the past and sitting out on the patio with some natural sunlight usually beats being stuck indoors. It’s also a nice place for a leisurely brunch or coffee on the weekend.

Fact file

Address: Shop G40-41, G/F, Lee Tung Avenue, 200 Queen’s Road East, Wan Chai

Opening hours: 8am-10pm Sunday to Thursday; 8am to 11pm Friday and Saturday

Omotesando Wan Chai

Omotesando Koffee

Background

Omotesando Koffee opened in early 2016. The shop is a reincarnation of Omotesando Tokyo, a coffeeshop based in the eponymous Omotesando district of Tokyo run by Eiichi Kunitomo that closed at the end of 2015.

Where is it? 

In the middle of Lee Tung Avenue, the same street where you’ll find Le Pain Quotidien (see above).

What’s it like?

Part hipster, part sleek Japanese minimalism. Barristers dispense coffee from a wooden cube area, and guests sit on minimalistic legless wooden stools.

Omotesando Wan Chai

The drinks

All the classic types of coffee, both hot and iced, are available here, with the hand drip at HK$68 (US$8.7) being the most premium.

The food 

There is a small food menu, with dishes such as avocado toast HK$118 (US$15) and BLT sandwich HK$58 (US$7.4).

Verdict

The best thing about this place is its high quality coffee. However, there are only six seats which are really suitable for a business meeting. These are to the left of the shop and are raised stools attached to tables where you sit facing your partner. The communal table in the middle is not a great option as you are sat very close to other people and have no privacy. The bar seats on the right are a little better, but don’t afford much privacy either.

So if you’re coming here, I’d advise doing so outside of peak hours. Alternatively, you can take away the coffee and sit on one of the benches in Lee Tung Avenue, or stroll around if the weather is nice.

Fact file

Address: Shop G24-25, Lee Tung Avenue, 200 Queen’s Road East, Wan Chai

Opening hours: Monday to Friday 8am to 8pm; Saturday and Sunday 9am to 9pm

Elephant Grounds, Wan Chai

Elephant Grounds

Background

Elephant Grounds started up in 2013 and has since expanded to five cafes in Hong Kong.

Where is it?

Right outside Three Pacific Place (known as “PP3” by English-speaking locals), a 34-storey office building.

What’s it like?

A hipster-ish coffeeshop that is nevertheless mostly visited by office workers on weekdays, partly due to the fact that it’s right next to Three Pacific Place. Seating consists of wooden benches mixed with chairs, as you can see in the photo below.

Elephant Grounds, Wan Chai / photo courtesy of Elephant Grounds

The drinks

Elephant Grounds says on its website that it independently roasts its beans in small batches locally to ensure freshness and quality.

“Our vintage Probat roaster was built to maintain a consistent heat and allow airflow control when operated by a single person,” the coffeeshops says. “Each roast is then tasted to ensure consistency and quality of each batch.”

The usual selection of coffees are available, with some specials like salted caramel at HK$55 (US$7) and Bullet Proof, a strong coffee, at HK$60 (US$7.65) for a regular and HK$68 (US$8.67) for a large.

The food

Good for breakfast or brunch, with dishes ranging from lighter options such as yoghurt granola parfait at HK$65 (US$8.29) and acai bowl at HK$85 (US$10.84), to hot options such as pastrami corned beef omelette at HK$100 (US$12.75), avocado toast at HK$105 (US$13.39) and salmon eggs Benedict at HK$110 (US$14.03). You can even get an ice-cream sandwich at HK$68 (US$8.67).

Elephant Grounds Wan Chai salmon eggs benedict / photo courtesy of Elephant Grounds

Verdict 

Good coffee and a nice spot if it’s not too busy, though some of the tables are a little too close together so your conversation may be overheard by other guests. The coffeeshop gets bonus points for its convenient location next to Three Pacific Place, though. If you’re arriving here from Admiralty station, you can walk through an air conditioned walkway for about 10 minutes to arrive at the coffeshop – avoiding the summer heat.

Fact file

Address: G/F, Win Fung Building, 8 Wing Fung Street, Wan Chai

Opening hours: Monday to Friday 8am to 9pm; Saturday and Sunday 9am to 9pm

Bakehouse Wan Chai

Bakehouse

Background

Bakehouse was founded by baker and pastry chef Grégoire Michaud, who previously led the pastry team at Hong Kong’s Four Seasons hotel, at the start of 2018

Where is it? 

On Tai Wong Street East, a short side-street off Queen’s Road East and Johnston Road that is rapidly gentrifying. Over the past few years, several older local restaurants and shops have been displaced by more upmarket stores and eateries – a trend that can be observed in several parts of Wan Chai.

What’s it like? 

Hugely popular. During peak times, there is almost always a long line outside the bakery. Bakehouse is rightly famous for its high quality breads and pastries.

It is set over two floors, though the top floor is not always open. Seating in the lower floor is very close together and when it’s busy, the staff really cram people in, meaning you could be almost elbow to elbow with another customer. You can see from the below photo just how close together some of the tables are.

Bakehouse Wan Chai

The drinks

While Bakehouse is more famous for its food than its drinks, you can get a decent selection of hot drinks here, as well as cold brew for HK$50 (US6.37) and matcha latte HK$52 (US$6.63).

The food

Besides its selection of delicious pastries, Bakehouse is known for its brunch, which includes dishes like mushroom toast HK$108 (US$13.77), beef short rib sandwich HK$108 (US$13.77) and chicken Milanese HK$128 (US$16.32).

Verdict

While Bakehouse is possibly the best coffeeshop in this list for food, some of its seating doesn’t offer much privacy at all during peak hours. I went here to meet someone for a business meeting and we ended up leaving before ordering as we were seated so close to other customers that we were almost touching.

Still, this is a good one for the weekend or for a grab and go pastry and coffee on the way into the office.

Fact file

Address: G/F, 14 TAi Wong Street East, Wan Chai

Opening hours: Monday to Friday 8am to 5pm; Saturday and Sunday 9am to 5pm

Maison Eric Kayser - Wanchai

Background

Founded by Eric Kayser in 1996, Maison Kayser is an artisanal French Bakery originating from France. The chain has seven outlets on Hong Kong Island and one in Kowloon on the other side of Victoria Harbour.

Where is it? 

In the basement of Sunlight Tower, an office building on Queen’s Road East. It is also right next to Hotel Indigo.

Eric Kayser / photo courtesy of Eric Kayser

What’s it like? 

Sleekly designed with sensible chairs and tables arranged in a not too crowded setting. Two sides of the coffeeshop are surrounded by glass, so the advantage is that you can people watch and the disadvantage is that you might be spotted through the window by someone you know.

The drinks

The usual array of hot and iced drinks are available here, ranging from French black coffee at HK$25 (US$3.19) to salted caramel latte at HK$40 (US$5.10).

The food

A good selection of sandwiches and cakes, obviously with a French focus. They often have a promotion where you can get a pastry and a hot drink for a fixed price.

Eric Kayser / photo courtesy of Eric Kayser

Verdict

Nice coffee with a wide selection of pastries and sandwiches. A good option if you are meeting someone who is staying at Hotel Indigo, or who works in Sunlight Tower.

Fact file

Address: G/F, 248 Queen’s Road East, Wan Chai

Opening hours: 7.30am to 8.30pm

La Station

La Station

Background

La Station was started by three French entrepreneurs – Merwann Younes, Christophe Younes and Matthieu Maury – in 2015.

Where is it? 

On Tai Yuen Street, just down the street from Maison Eric Kayser – Wanchai (see above) and opposite the Hotel Indigo.

What’s it like? 

Small, but a lot of thought has gone into the design, which is based on Cité station on the Paris Metro.

La Station

The drinks

The usual selection of coffees and teas, with some special drinks like rose latte at HK$45 (US$5.74). You can also get fresh juice and smoothies at HK$50 (US$6.37).

The food

Breakfast sets combining pastries and sandwiches with a coffee are available. For lunch, there are baguettes, bagels, salads and quiches. There is also a selection of cakes.

Verdict

The atmosphere is calm and relaxing, in pleasant contrast to the hustle and bustle of Wan Chai market just down the road. Because it has limited seating, it’s best to go here during off-peak hours for an intimate catch-up with a close business associate.

Any top coffee spots for business meetings in Wan Chai that you think should have made the list? Let us know in the comment section below.

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