The Foreign Correspondents Club, Hong Kong

Visit to the Foreign Correspondents Club in Hong Kong, by Sue Dean and Stephen Edwards.

One of our reciprocal clubs in Hong Kong, the Foreign Correspondents Club is a local institution of some note. It occupies the major part of one the few remaining colonial buildings in the ‘Central’ area of the city.

The Club moved to Hong Kong from Shanghai in 1949, immediately becoming a social hub for expats and well-heeled locals.

True to its name, it is a bastion of press freedom and free speech in an increasingly controlled city. In 2018 it was the centre of a major storm in the Victor Mallett controversy, when the Financial Times Asia editor was denied a work visa, having allowed a pro-independence party a platform at a lunch meeting at the Club.

Getting temporary membership as a reciprocal member requires a letter of introduction, your passport, and some form filling. Frankly it is a bit of a fag, but the effort turned out to be well worthwhile.

There are two dining rooms, a rather lovely, slightly faded, beamed colonial space and a more functional one, which serves Chinese food. We elected to take dinner in the former, choosing from a classic British/French menu. The food was perfectly pleasant but not as good as that served at our own club.  The wine list, though, was excellent, and in a city where wine prices are mostly absurd, it was very reasonable, pretty much Bristol prices.

After dinner, in the sparsely occupied restaurant, we moved to the very busy and rather fine bar on the ground floor. The bar features in John le Carter’s novel, The Honourable Schoolboy, but the members, mostly seated at tables , seemed to be having fun, rather than plotting anything! The bar serves appetising looking light meals from a short menu.

Again drinks were very well priced, a cleansing pint of Gweilo, easily the best beer we had in Hong Kong was about £6 a pint. The bar was absolutely buzzing, with many people eating from the short bar snack menu. The feel is much more casual than The Clifton Club, although very civilised and friendly. The excellent staff are smartly turned out and attentive. In a nice touch, one of the wine measures is called ‘the members measure’ – looked like half a pint!

We had a very enjoyable evening at the FCC and would commend it strongly to Clifton Club members, should you be in Hong Kong. The FCC does not have accommodation, but does have a really good bar and a sense of history, which should be experienced.

Sue Dean and Stephen Edwards