Conder's Bar | Gwulo: Old Hong Kong

Conder's Bar

Conder's Bar

This text comes from Ian Fleming's book 'Hidden Cities' from when he visited Hong Kong around 1959-60. I guess the location is the bar in Central as the text refers to a "Downstairs" bar solely for men

Date picture taken (may be approximate): 
Monday, June 15, 1959


Yes, IDJ,your guess is correct. There was no downstairs bar at Mongkok.

Surprised that Ian Fleming refers to San Mig as a 'very unencouraging brew'.

Jack Conder was quite a character ...

I would agree with Fleming. I learn't to steer well clear of San Mig after my first sessions with it in the mid-60s and have rejected it ever since. However, San Mig brewed anywhere other than Hong Kong has been no problem. It must be due to something in the the water in HK!

The trail is probably stone cold by now but when I saw the name Conder's my 82 year old memory went into overdrive. I pissed away enough San Mig in my careless youth  in the fifties to float a battleship and thought i knew every bar on the Kowloon side but I drew a blank when trying to place Jack Conder's bar. Can anyone remember the address.  Ncik

My first experience of the fabulous Conder's Bar was in early 1960 when I arrived in Hong Kong, a 20-year-old journalist who had been hired on a 4-year contract by the South China Morning Post. It was a Sunday and I was met off the plane by a fellow journalist who had been a colleague in Brisbane. "How about a drink?" he said. "But it's Sunday. No pubs open," i  replied. "This is Hong Kong, not Brisbane," he replied, and took me to Conder's, which as I remember it, was down Wyndham Street from the Post in a small alleyway down several steps. There was a board on the wall listing about 12 different types of beer including Manx oyster stout. I was in heaven and over the following months spent much of my time and salary working my way down the list.

It is good to see others  share my memories, but I do not recall the Queen's Road bar as being that unique, but I had been at sea all of five years by then and must have seen a lot worse. You recall the bar still being in Central in the early sixties but I thought it had moved to its later Mongkok location by then by the KCR station. It was in this second location that 'mine host',  but maybe not the owner was exFlight Lieutenant Robins, ex RAF Kai Tak. I can't recall his first name but his wife's name was Joan and she worked in Jardine's Travel Department  on the ground floor of Jardine House in the mid sixties. A very charming woman.  Nick

From memories of my childhood in HK, I seem to recall that Jack Conder bought what was the Neptune Inn (opposite Mongkok Station) from John and Ann Watson in the early 1960's (not sure of the exact year). John Watson had also been a Shanghai copper so obviously the two men had stayed in touch once in HK. John and his wife retired to southern Spain sometime in the mid 60's. I remember visiting them with my parents around 1967 or 1968. The Neptune Inn was an early watering hole for Cathay crew (my father being one), along with the KBGC and the cafe in Henry's Mansion on the corner of Waterloo Rd and Prince Edward Rd.