Inside Club C+, Hong Kong's Newest Private Members' Club For Cigar Aficionados
Private members’ clubs have a long-established presence in Hong Kong, and Club C+ is the latest to join the fray.
But while many of these establishments in the city—especially cigar lounges—“still embrace rather old-school and traditional British design”, according to co-founder and renowned Hong Kong architect and interior designer Steve Leung, this one will be different.
Currently in soft opening, Club C+ is dubbed a “speakeasy-inspired venue” and takes up around 2,000sqft on Duddell Street in Central. It was established by Steve Leung, founder of Steve Leung Design Group, and his son Nicholas Leung, who comes from a hospitality background and is the founder and creative director of food and beverage and retail platform consultancy Novl Studio. The two came across the space, which has a discreet entrance at the end of the Duddell Street cul-de-sac while strolling around Central. The back of the club is accessed via Ice House Street and comes complete with a cosy terrace.
Accommodating just 30 members, it will offer a “very intimate, customised experience,” says Nicholas, who has taken up the general manager role at the club. Here, cigars are the star of the show. The name of the club is pronounced si ga in Cantonese, which sounds much like cigar. It is also a homophone for the Cantonese word meaning “private”.
A mahogany panel inspired by a Chinese moongate, a circular opening in a wall traditionally seen in Chinese garden architecture
A view of the intimate lounges inside Club C+
An orange film shields the space from strong sunlight and also creates a "nostalgic" vibe
The father-and-son duo were inspired to open the club together chiefly because of the pandemic, says Nicholas. With both of them “stuck in Hong Kong” due to the ongoing travel restrictions, they began spending more time together and would often visit cigar lounges. They realised that there “aren't many spaces [of this kind] in Hong Kong with good design”, remembers Nicholas.
“Sometimes it gets a little boring going to places like those,” he adds.
Club C+ is designed with a contemporary Chinese aesthetic in mind, though there’s also “a little bit of a colonial influence,” explains Nicholas. The idea behind the club is to provide a one-stop shop for cigars and dinner, along with wine tastings and art appreciation.
A temperature-controlled cigar humidor room showcases premium cigars available. The collection includes major brands like Davidoff, Cohibas and Montecristo, though many of the offerings are limited editions that cigar aficionados would be hard-pressed to find elsewhere. Nicholas says cigar tastings are akin to wine tastings: "We have a lot of different vintages." Over time, more and more cigars will be added to the collection.
The club's licensing regulations played an important role behind the design. In a space licensed for cigar smoking, no food and drink can be served. This is why the club is divided into several zones, with two areas that are designated cigar tasting lounges. When tasting sessions are taking place, mahogany sliding panels separate the lounges from the adjoining private dining rooms.
A shot showing one of the cigar lounges and adjoining dining room. Click through to see a view of the space when the partition is closed
The cigar tasting lounge becomes a separate space
When closed, the panels reveal a Chinese moongate-inspired motif. Moongates are typically seen in Chinese classical architecture and act as a passageway through walls installed in gardens. The design is a “conversation starter”, Nicholas says.
In the private dining rooms, Cantonese cuisine will be served—an elegant take on homely dishes, such as steamed fish with fresh ginger and Hawaiian rock salt. The kitchen is helmed by executive chef Angus Chan, previously of Run at St. Regis Hong Kong. A bar will offer fine wines and liquors.
Many of the furniture are custom pieces, while some others are sourced from B&B Italia. Award-winning Hong Kong lighting designer Tino Kwan created bespoke lighting throughout the space. Apricot-coloured film and bronze steel metal meshes have also been placed atop the windows across the club to minimise the sunlight that pours in. These result in a “nostalgic, cinematic” vibe, says Nicholas. It's reminiscent of the colours of Hong Kong in the 1980s and 1990s—“like what we see in the movies”.
Art on the walls is curated by art veteran Catherine Kwai, with the goal of showcasing legendary Asian talents. Pieces include Pine in Meditation, made with ink and 24K gold leaf on silk, by artist Kwai Fung Hin; and Life Voyage by Xu Lei. Meanwhile, the botanical arrangements are masterminded by floral designer Gary Kwok, while the C+ logo is the work of designer Alan Chan—all revered names in the creative industries.
Membership at Club C+ is by referral only. An individual membership will set you back HK$200,000, while a corporate membership costs HK$300,000. Both require a monthly fee of HK$2,000.
“We really wanted to create something very unique,” Nicholas says. “For people who enjoy spaces like these, they would prefer something that's very private and exclusive—that's what we hope to bring.”
Find out more on Club C+'s website
- ImagesClub C+