Lan Kwai Fong (蘭桂坊 Pinyin Lánguìfāng) is a small square of streets in Central, Central and Western district, Hong Kong. The area was dedicated to hawkers before the Second World War, but underwent a renaissance in the mid 1980s. It is now a most popular expatriate haunt in Hong Kong for drinking and dining.
Lan Kwai Fong as an area is defined by D'Aguilar Street and the smaller lane, Lan Kwai Fong, an L-shaped, cobble-stoned lane. Both streets turn 90 degrees to form a rectangle. From the west side of the rectangle, Wo On Lane and Wing Wah Lane extend to host several more spots for drinks and food. The area arguably extends to Wellington Street and Wyndham Street, through to the Hong Kong Fringe Club. It is also home to a small number of art galleries.
Lan Kwai Fong is perhaps the most popular and well known area for a night out. Boasting numerous bars, pubs, clubs and restaurants, it is a popular choice for the well off locals, expatriates and tourists. The high costs associated with the area makes this a relatively high classed area, although the quality and reputation of this area is obvious virtually everynight. One visiting the area on a Friday night will be overwhelmed by the enormous crowds that fill the streets, with all bars having only standing room. It is interesting to see that, as mentioned, a majority of the crowds are in fact expatriates or international students. It is one of the few areas where English is the overwhelmingly predominant language, although many of the Chinese who are there are most likely to be bilingual.
The crowds during special occasions such as Hallowe'en or New Year's Eve put the place at a literal standstill with the large numbers. Police control is guaranteed, to manage the crowds. In 1992, 21 people were killed in the crush of huge crowds of people celebrating in Lan Kwai Fong on New Year's Eve. The location (narrow streets and a sloped gradient), poor police planning and bad weather all contributed to this disaster.