Asia’s Best Dixieland Jazz, Australia’s most famous son. Meet them both at Ned Kelly’s Last Stand – Hong Kong’s oldest pub. The pub opened in 1972 and has been hosting live Jazz nightly.
My first visit to the pub was in 1986. For the past 29 years, I have been visiting the pub from time to time.
On entering the pub, you will be greeted by a replica of Ned Kelly’s helmet which looks like a metal letterbox. The decor can best be described as retro Aussie grunge. On the walls are the memorabilia and paraphernalia of the outlawed bushranger. Even the menu tells the story at Glenrowan, a small town located 230 km north-east of Melbourne. Ned Kelly has been the subject of a succession of films. Artists who played the role include Heath Ledger, and Mick Jagger of the Rolling Stones.
Live Jazz is the essence of the pub. The music there is arguably the best Dixieland Jazz in Asia.
Colin Aitchison, the band leader, has this to say, “Ned Kelly’s is actually a part of old Hong Kong. And it has become a Hong Kong tradition for a lot of travellers. Ned Kelly’s is like a United Nations of Hong Kong. There are people from all across the world. You will not find a place like Ned Kelly’s anywhere in Asia. At Ned Kelly’s, we have a full band here. Yes, 85% Dixieland, New Orleans, which it always has been because it is the most popular type of foot-tapping Jazz. But we also play Swing and Bebop, etc. We have been here since the 18th of December 1972. Not many places have beaten us on that.”
Here’s a video of the band playing St James Infirmary.
I was down to St. James Infirmary, I saw my baby there
She was stretched out on a long white table,
So sweet, cool and so fair
Let her go, let her go, God bless her
Wherever she may be
She may search this whole wide world over
Never find a sweeter man as me
Address: Ned Kelly’s Last Stand, Ashley Road, Tsim Sha Tsui, Kowloon, Hong Kong