Hong Kong’s Disappearing Discos

cyber disco tst kowloon tsim sha tsui hong kong

cyber disco hong kong tst tsim sha tsui

Cyber 8 Disco, commonly referred to as Cyber, officially closed its doors at the beginning of the month. Located near the bottom of Nathan Road in Tsim Sha Tsui, it was one of Kowloon’s most infamous discos.

What is a Hong Kong Disco?

A Hong Kong disco is made up of the following ingredients: a cavernous space with a weird theme; a huge dance floor; a large section of private karaoke rooms; a booming sound system; several bars, and an over abundance of disorienting lights.

Depending on your preference, the music found in local discos is either heaven or hell. Traditionally the mainstay was drum-heavy remixes of Cantopop songs – the same throbbing beat you hear pumping from delivery trucks driving around the city. When rave parties became popular, trance music was integrated into the mix. As Hip Hop / R&B became mainstream, it too became part of the repertoire. On a typical night, the d.js. now blend all three genres.

Discos are located mostly on Kowloon-side. Compared to Central’s more upscale clubs, the size of the spaces and quantities of people are enormous. Cyber claimed to be the largest disco of them all. The layout featured several bars, dozens of tables, private karaoke rooms, and a large space for dancing. The decor was based on Hong Kong’s infatuation with the word ‘cyber’ from the Internet boom in the late 90’s. Lots of shiny metal adorned the entrance and passageways throughout the club.

Discos in Hong Kong are typically associated with two things: drugs and gangs. Cyber had both of those, but there were also a few positives. For one thing, the lighting system was excellent, better than anything you can find in Hong Kong’s more haughty clubs. Check out the following video for a look at the scene!

The crowd at discos is predominantly young, somewhat lower class locals. The legal drinking age is eighteen in Hong Kong and discos are far less discriminating about turning people away. It’s not uncommon for discos to be crowded every night of the week. The places stay open later than six am. People are there purely to party, not just to be seen, which makes it a fun atmosphere… until someone throws up on you! It’s a stark contrast to Central’s more high-end nightlife where people tend to be more reserved.

Over the years Cyber disco had one too many run-ins with the police who were anxious to see it close. On the whole, huge, over-sized discos seem to be on the way out. Club Hot and 348 (now known as F1,) are two other top discos. Due to several high-profile cases involving drugs, and recurring problems with gang activity, more discos are rumored to be closing. Local developers are probably eyeing the spaces to convert into mini-shopping malls, which appear to be making a comeback around the city.

So how does this effect the party scene in Central? The police have been concerned that the former disco crowd will soon descend on Central’s nightlife areas since Tsim Sha Tsui has dried up. With several new large-scale clubs set to open, they may be right.

Below is a photo of Cyber Disco while it was still open:

cyber disco tst kowloon tsim sha tsui hong kong

4 Comments

  • Actually. Cyber was a lot better than many of the pretentious discos in Central in which people go there only to pick up. I felt a lot more comfortable there than in any Central club where it’s just a sex pick up station with others looking down on the more ‘down – to -earth’ population. I could go there to dance and be myself without someone peering over their glass of wine and eyeing me up and down to see whether I am of high enough class for them. Referring to your comment about the ‘lower class’ locals, everyone has an equal right to go out and have some fun not only the rich and sophisticated. It’s really unfair that the disco has been closed as it’s quite degrading for the locals. Every club has drugs and gangs and it’s just a reality of life that needs to be accepted. In comparison to many other countries, the drug scene and crime is comparatively low so why should the government close down the one place these people want to go and have fun? Closing the venue down will only lead to further problems such as taking drugs at home and on the streets, at least if they have a place to go the problem will be confined to a small space. I went to a club in Central once with my parter who is local and they refused him entry because he couldn’t speak good English and because his style wasn’t ‘Westernized’ enough. It’s absolute discrimination and F*#n atrocious! Try to think realistically, not everyone is rich and can fit into a high class pretentious club in Central. If you’re not rich or a foreigner, then you’re not accepted in Central. Why should the working class people be restrained from having a good night out? Where has the notion of freedom and equality gone?

  • Hi Alena, interesting comment! I agree with much of what you said, there is definitely discrimination in Central’s nightlife and it sounds like you and your boyfriend have been victims of it. I’ve mentioned before in other posts that Hong Kong’s nightlife is class based to some degree. If you read the post about Cyber again, when I refer to “lower class” I’m describing the typical crowd, not passing any judgment on them. I also believe that people should have an equal right to party as you have mentioned. I disagree with you about the discos being harmless though. When your crowd is underage and there is an atmosphere where people are doing drugs out in the open, I do think it represents a problem. I’ve heard way too many stories from friends who grew up getting into trouble at discos to think of them as safe places. It’s true that drugs and gangs are a reality of nightlife though.

    I definitely liked aspects of the scene at TST’s now defunct discos more than in Central’s clubs. The vibe was different, with people there to have fun, rather than to pose. Plus, the lighting systems were WAY better than the ones in Central. People could dance more freely as well. One of the biggest problems with Hong Kong in general is its infatuation with wealth and status. Unfortunately, this preoccupation carries over into the nightlife scene as well.

  • Cyber was the best place that I have come across in my life!! It was fantastic and I miss it so much. Any other similar club that is open now, please let me know. I miss Cyber 8.

  • No matter it is in Tsim Sha Tsui or in Central, it is just feathers from same bird, so many upper class without edu. RIP x_x

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

17 − 8 =