November 23, 2009 6

People’s Recreation Community (Hong Kong: Causeway Bay)

By in 09: Hong Kong

It’s rare to see small and interesting “indie” cafes in Hong Kong on the street level due to the outrageous rents in this city. So it has became a trend to open cafes on the upper floors of business buildings which has cheaper rent. Thus these cafes were coined “Upstair cafe.” Upstair cafes are usually themed, homey and have more personalities than your boring Starbuck.

People's recreation communityPeople's recreation community

Just when our tired feet could not walk further, we spotted the catchy signage of People’s Recreation Community at Causeway Bay. I’ve read about it before as it was one of the first upstair cafe + bookstores in Hong Kong that started the trend. Using Mao & Communist propaganda as theme, People’s is more known as a bookstore that sells political books about Mainland China, Taiwan and Hong Kong and the touchy subjects between the three. They have special sections on banned-in-China books as well as books on “6/4.”  They also carry design, lifestyle and indie comic books too.

People's recreation communityPeople's recreation community

People is located on the 2nd floor and the space is compact. We noticed one shelf was filled with Japanese baby formula for sell. At that time I thought they were just being ironic with the Poison milk scandal in China. Later on I read that they deliberately sell these Japanese baby formula as they became a super hit commodity among Mainland Chinese tourists. Guess that’s also another way to lure them to check out the  banned books?

People's recreation community

The interior space is small but they managed to fit in 3 tables. The vibe was cozy and quiet. And it’s great that you can take and browse any book while sipping drinks.

People's recreation community
People's recreation communityPeople's recreation community

I love love love the menu! It was pasted inside an old communist Propaganda clip art book. (Kind of a waste though). There’re lots of cool clip art inside, I wish I could own this book. They have other old clip art books for sell but they aren’t as good as this one. I bought one nonetheless.

People recreation community

I got an Apple tea with Tibetan comb honey. Very delicious. It smells wonderful and refreshing.

People recreation community

Hazelnut latte. Surprisingly good coffee. Rich and strong.

They also have homemade dessert. The drinks are high quality, and so many interesting books and magazines to browse though. Definitely a cool place to hang out. If you find yourself around the Time Square area in Causeway Bay and need a coffee/tea break, skip Starbuck and come here instead.

People’s recreation community 人民公社
1/F, 18 Russell Street, Causeway Bay,
Hong Kong

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6 Responses to “People’s Recreation Community (Hong Kong: Causeway Bay)”

  1. weezermonkey says:

    Ooh, that Tibetan comb honey looks intriguing.

  2. seat says:

    I’m so going there….I just hope the cafe survives long enough.

    And mainland tourists buying the Japanese baby formula is sooooooo ironic. I actually cried when I read the news about the poisoned milk. It’s so sad. And the two people who got executed for this scandal were likely just scapegoats….
    But Japan is no paradise either as there ARE food scandals even in Japan. Fake meat, fake fish, expired snacks got repackaged and sold as new…..but at least they are not poisoned…-o-;;;

  3. Freda says:

    There was another promising upstairs cafe/bookstore that’s in the theme of a retro elementary school classroom, it closed few months ago /_\.

    Sigh, China still has long way to be ‘there’ with so much corruption and cover up…people would do anything for money. What’s worst is that the government postpone exposing this scandal just so they won’t lose ‘face’ for the upcoming (at that time) Olympics. Every society has to go thru these process i guess. But the lack of ethics and some of the Chinese people (who claimed China ‘made it’ already)’s blatant in-denial/excuses to ignore the dark side really scares me. It’s like if you dare to mention it, they’ll counter you “well US is no better blah blah” or BS like “well sacrifices are necessary in order to prosper”. At least there’s a check and balance system, and other voices are allowed in other developed countries.

  4. zack says:

    I will check it out before I leave. It’s my second time in HK and usually when I go to a new city, it’s a certain kind of cafe that helps me crawl deeper into the cities cultures. Somewhere small and quiet that doesn’t just feel like “eat” and “drink” but also “study” “talk to us”. I went to a few of the upstairs cafes in Mongkok but they felt kind of campy to me. I’ve been searching for the kind of cafe that plays My little airport, all the good cafes in China play them so there has to be a few in HK right? This one might be a little different but it still looks awesome, Thanks. If there are any more for me, let me know.

  5. Avid Reader says:

    The People’s Recreation Community in Russell Street Causeway Bay is overrated. After reading this and another article in the Atlantic and the FT, I was really looking forward to checking this place out but alas – disappointing!! All its books can be bought at a significant discount (up to 15% off) at any other bookstore in HK. Initially from reading other reviews of this place, I thought they had books that were not found elsewhere – not correct! The staff are too busy chatting, eating, and entertaining each other. Service is non-existent, rude and abrupt and it seems like you are imposing on them. The majority of people that go there go to buy milk formula to take back or have sent to China. Receipts are not issued for books bought. Requests for receipts are refused. The place is hard to find. Time and effort better spent going to other places to eat/drink. Plenty of those in HK. If you want to buy books not sold in China, go to any bookstore in HK. There are also heaps of those. Eg is highly recommended with a large range of Chinese and English titles, lots of stores around HK – 15% off RRP of all books (some books more), you can also try Commercial Press etc. Disclaimer: I don’t work for any bookstores. I don’t even live in HK and have no affiliation with any businesses in HK.

  6. Avid Reader says:

    Addition to above comment:
    Even though Joint Publishing has lots of stores in HK (, for those who can’t read Chinese (their website is in Chinese), try the shop in Mongkok, 188 L1 Grand Century Place. Follow the signs from Mongkok MTR or Mongkok East MTR.