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Spanish Soul in Western District

An old ping-pong court in Sai Ying Pun is now turned into a bar that leads the nightlife in Western district

Ping Pong 129 is a Spanish gintonería — a gin and tonic bar. Founder Juan Martínez Gregorio and his partner Hugh Zimmern have spent a year putting the establishment together. The most special feature of Ping Pong is the personality of the space — a space with roots in Hong Kong yet infused with Spanish soul.

Spanish Soul in Western District

“Hong Kong is an exciting city in which to launch new ideas in food and beverages. The market has been flourishing in the last four-to-five years, led by local and international entrepreneurs bringing novel approaches toward dining and drinking in the city. People are eager to try out innovative concepts. Competition is increasing and the public is becoming more demanding in its expectations. For Ping Pong, being a hybrid, combining the local culture of Hong Kong with influences from the Spanish Mediterranean is the perfect mix,” Juan Martínez Gregorio, Founder, Ping Pong 129 Gintonería, said.

“The traditional Central and Soho areas for F&B are becoming touristic. The Western district, Tai Hang and eventually the upper part of Wanchai offer more opportunities and room to develop new ideas with more affordable rents. The F&B scene in Hong Kong is evolving – both local and overseas people are now ready to visit these districts, where they experience a different way of hanging out. In the future, I foresee more business opportunities in Western district and Wong Chuk Hang,” he added.

Gregorio feels at home in Hong Kong and finds the city very stimulating. “It is a place where you can make things happen, as opposed to the slower pace of life in Europe,” he said.

He also appreciates the support from InvestHK. “Since the beginning, the team pointed me in the right direction, and provided a clear framework and useful contacts in starting up an F&B business in Hong Kong. The challenge was really pitching for business partners and investors who could be convinced, two years ago, that an old ping-pong court in Sai Ying Pun could be turned into a bar that today leads the nightlife in Western district,” he said.

While Gregorio’s current focus is on Hong Kong, Ping Pong 129 Gintonería is looking to expand into the Asia-Pacific region and is looking for partners who understand the bar’s idiosyncrasy and can be its eyes on the local market.

Thursday, July 23, 2015

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Fast Facts

  • A Spanish gintonería in Sai Ying Pun
  • Seven full-time staff covering bar, floor and administration

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