We chat with Chris Chambers and Joe Lung about how they came up for the concept of Chez Trente and what void they're trying to fill in the city's nightlife scene
Are you looking for a cool haunt to drink craft beers in while surrounded by works from Hong Kong artists? You’ve got to check out Chez Trente. Tucked away in the quiet street of the historic 30 Houses neighbourhood in Mid-Levels, it’s located on the ground floor of a charming tong lau built in the 1950s. Co-owners Chris Chambers and Joe Lung opened up about their new bottle shop art space.
Hi, Chris and Joe. Thank you so much for having me. To start off, what posters did you have in your room when you were growing up?
Chris: I had some movie posters, like Trainspotting. I’m from the UK, and I’ve always liked football, so I also had posters of English football team too.
Joe: Nowadays, my wife would love it if we had French movie posters at home, but when I was young, I had posters of rock bands from back in the days, like Nirvana.
I used to have posters of Trainspotting and Nirvana on my walls too! What were you doing before starting Chez Trente?
Chris: We still have full-time jobs. I’m an architect. I have been working in Hong Kong for ten years for a small company in Tin Hau.
Joe: I’m a jazz drummer. I also own a music production company.
How did you come up with Chez Trente?
Chris: Even though we weren’t specifically looking in this area, when we found the space, we started to learn about the history of the 30 Houses community. 30 Houses is a neighbourhood around Staunton and Bridges streets, all the way up to Caine Road. What makes the area unique is that it has a 19th-century layout and building orientation and early 20th-century architectural style and construction techniques.
The tong lau in the area are rare examples of the post-war urban residential neighbourhoods built between 1948 to 1958. We decided to make an homage to our new neighbourhood and therefore decided to call our place ‘At Thirty’ or in French, ‘Chez Trente.’
What kind of art are you looking to exhibit?
Chris: We’re interested in exhibiting the works of local artists who want exposure, both emerging and established artists. We don’t have specific guidelines for what we will show here. Ideally, we would like artworks that match the aesthetics of our space, but we are flexible as long as the work is good. We are interested in different mediums of art, like paintings, photography, illustrations, and mix media.
Joe: For me, it’s simpler. I like beer, so I will open a bottle shop with my friends; I like art, so I will show the art that I like.
That makes perfect sense. What do you think of the art scene in Hong Kong and how do you want to contribute to it?
Chris: I think art in Hong Kong is more geared towards the international market, there isn’t much support for local artists. There are a lot of art galleries in the area, but they mostly show works by established artists. The galleries are daunting spaces to enter—especially if you are not an artist or don’t know much about art. At Chez Trente, we’re more interested in creating a multi-function space where art is only one element, which makes it more accessible to anyone who is interested in learning more about it.
Joe: For us, it’s really about people. We want people to meet each other more.
Chris: Yeah, we want to create a space for a community of beer and art lovers.
Great! Now let’s talk beer! Let’s start with what beer you have at Chez Trente.
Chris: We carry craft beers from Hong Kong and around the world that people may not have tried. For local beers, we carry Black Kite. We also have Belgium beer, which is very popular. We also have beer from the UK, Spain, Portugal, Italy, Australia, and Lebanon. We try to carry beers from every continent that are rare or uncommon to find in Hong Kong.
Do you have a rotating menu of beers?
Joe: We always carry the beers that we really like, but we definitely bring in new beers that we discover.
Chris: We have a diverse range of flavour profiles. We carry stout, wheat, IPA, and lighter beers like fruit beers. We like to have a wide range and a mix of variety, similar to the countries we are taking the beers from.
Joe: We would sit down together with our wives and sample the different beers. The four of us all have different taste, which ensures that we have a good range and variety of beers.
And finally, what is unique about Chez Trente?
Chris: We have a diverse roster of beers you may not find elsewhere, and we sell our bottles at a reasonable price. We also have a nice outdoor area where people can congregate, make new friends or meet old buddies. It’s a great place for people to try out new beers and explore art.
Chez Trente, 卅間, 6 Chung Wo Lane, SoHo, Central, Hong Kong, p. 9808 4192, 中環蘇豪中和里6號