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Lan Kwai Fong | Michael O'Connell-Davidson/CC BY 2.0/Flickr
Lan Kwai Fong | Michael O'Connell-Davidson/CC BY 2.0/Flickr
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Club 97 And Hidden Agenda To Close Down In Hong Kong

Picture of Sally Gao
Updated: 6 October 2016
Hong Kong is losing two of its best nightlife venues in the coming weeks: one is Hidden Agenda, an underground music hub known for hosting live performances by foreign indie bands and local artists. The other is Lan Kwai Fong nightspot Club 97, which is closing up shop after 34 years of operation.

Underground music venue Hidden Agenda announced that it will close in mid-October, following a protracted fight with the Lands Department. The government bureau claims that Hidden Agenda’s use of its current premises, an abandoned warehouse in industrial district of Kwun Tong, constitutes a misuse of industrial space.

After multiple inspections and warnings over the past year, the owners of Hidden Agenda have tried repeatedly to obtain an entertainment license or find new premises, but to no avail.

On August 24, Hidden Agenda announced in a Facebook post: ‘We’ve already reached an agreement with our landlord to end our lease in mid-October. If fate wills it, we’ll meet again and we’ll continue to bring you great music. Thank you everyone.’

Hidden Agenda | Tommy Au/CC BY 2.0/Flickr
Hidden Agenda | Tommy Au/CC BY 2.0/Flickr

Fans of Hidden Agenda have reacted with shock and dismay at the news, filling the Facebook post with shares and comments. The club was a hotspot for Hong Kong’s underground indie music scene, showcasing a mix of eminent and lesser known artists from both at home and abroad. It puts on more than 60 shows a year, including rock, heavy metal, jazz, hip-hop, techno and more.

Hidden Agenda also posted their performance schedule for September and October. The lineup includes local Hong Kong bands as well as bands from Japan, Australia and Taiwan. The Finnish heavy metal band Amorphis is set to play on October 7th, close to the club’s closing date.

Meanwhile, Club 97 has ended its run as Lan Kwai Fong’s oldest nightclub. It first opened in 1982, and experienced its heyday in the 80s and 90s. However, its popularity dwindled as tastes changed and the club lost its VIP clientele to newer venues.

In addition, the recent economic slump in Hong Kong’s bar and nightlife industry contributed to the club’s demise.

After being a constant in Hong Kong’s clubbing scene for over three decades, the nightclub held its farewell bash on August 27th.