Video Channel

Happy Valley Street Life: A Valley of Happiness

Snooping around Happy Valley, one cannot but be amazed by its bewildering choice of dining, shopping and entertaining options dominating the allies and throughways, and at the same time, moved by its peaceful village appeal.

Known to be a luxury residential suburb, the upper Happy Valley is an exclusive enclave for soaring residential towers, including Highcliff and The Summit, two of the tallest residential structures in town, as well as the premium houses on the desirable Jardine’s Lookout.

This nobility is mixed with the old-style low-rises at the lower end of the village, an electrifying area dotted with trendy cafes, bars and restaurants, lifestyle shops, beauty and fitness centres.

But this cosy community wasn’t born like this. During the earliest years of the British colony, the area was once a marsh Petri dish for deadly diseases, the worst of them malaria. The high death rate prompted the area to become a burial ground for the deceased with numerous cemeteries built during this time.

The name Happy Valley was a tactful expression for a graveyard back then.

Then in 1846 most of the cemeteries were removed and replaced by a racecourse by the British colonisers, which turned out to be a catalyst for the popularity of the area.

Today, Happy Valley has morphed into a self-contained district right in the thick of a high-end residential zone with dining, healthcare and entertainment, drawing a dynamic pool of upper to middle-income families to put down roots.

>> Related Article: Happy Valley District Watch-A Prime Residential Area

12:00 pm | Happy Valley Bar & Grill
Having a fulfilling breakfast in warm sunshine has become a weekend pleasure for many. This tumultuous joint is welcomed by pet-owners and large families alike to enjoy a lazy weekend brunch. The eatery in red is a hit to Happy Valley residences probably because of its wallet-friendly menu and big portion meals.

38 Wong Nai Chung Road
2250 5722

13:00 pm | Utime Fitness Studios
Hong Kong has no lack of fitness centres to keep gym goers entertained. But nothing is quite like this 24/7 gym studio on Yik Yam Street. Light and airy, the space is not huge, but hosts enough cardio machines to get you sweaty. The studio comes with a little corner that contains the whole shebang for a full body workout – stability balls, mats, ropes, you name it, it is there.

1/F., King-Inn Mansion, 13-15 Yik Yam Street
3998 4896

14:00 pm | Saint Germain
A glass of red is my secret recipe to ease my post-workout pain – probably not on medical grounds – but it works for me. Located on Wong Nai Chung, this French corner brims with a classic Gallic charm in the interior and is clothed in soothing green complemented by a beige and green chequered floor, with glass partitions, mirrors and paintings added to this Gallic touch.

G/F, 1A Wong Nai Chung Road
2836 6131

15:30 pm | Happy Alley Coffee Bar
A fairly new addition to the café scene is this Austrian-style coffee bar that is quietly, but elegantly tucked away around the corner on a lane way. The couple who own it have tried to revive Austrian coffee in Hong Kong with the world-famous Julius Meinl coffee on offer. It also has draft beer on tap. Though sleek and industrially chic, the space looks cramped with its bar occupying half the interior. It barely has enough area to host any seats so tables have to be put outdoor.

Shop 6, G/F, 38-42 Yik Yam Street
2576 9996

16:30 pm | Happy Valley Racecourse
Hong Kong’s obsession with horse racing is deeply rooted in our culture. This thrilling sporting spectacle is on stage every Wednesday and the racecourse is packed to the rafters by gamblers and gawkers cheering and howling with food and beer in their hands. The racecourse was built in 1845 four years after Britain took possession, and has since been a common pastime for locals.

6/F Grandstand
2895 1523

17:00 pm | Ponti Wine Cellars
A treasure trove for wine lovers, Ponti serves a wide collection of wine from as many as 14 countries from across the world and as old as from the 1930s. The wine merchant, founded in 1988, now operates five stores in Hong Kong and Singapore. Also on the racks are wine ware such as corkscrews and decanters as well as food such as honey.

3 Yuen Yuen Street
2972 2283

19:00 pm | Amigo 
Amigo has the power to send you back in time and experience being treated as mid-century royalty. Housed in a Spanish-styled mansion, Amigo’s antique appeal with its wooden interiors has been charming tycoons and epicures alike for the past 40 years. On top of the exclusive environment is its top-notch service – roving musicians and attentive tuxedoed waiters – every guest is treated like royalty here.

G/F, Amigo Mansion, 79A Wong Nai Chung Road
2577 2202

21:00 pm | Lotus Garden and Lotus Garden Deserts 
One can not have visited Happy Valley without trying out this neighbourhood staple. This family-run Chinese eatery has two shops on the same road, one for dining and one for desserts, operated by an old owner couple each stationed at one shop. The food at Lotus Garden is passable, but don’t expect any service here. The wife who takes charge here is grumpy and impatient – and placing an order while she’s watching TV doesn’t improve her demeanour. The husband, who manages the dessert joint, is fairly friendly. Its baked sago pudding with lotus is a hit and the fastest sold-out item every night.

G/F, 61 & 63 Sing Woo Road
2891 5569