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Old Town Central is Hong Kong's most historic neighbourhood, where east meets west, past meets present, and tradition contrasts with innovation. With treasures at every turn, this is where the essence of the city can be found.

Beckaly Franks

Co-owner and Bartender at 'The Pontiac'
United States

Old Bailey Street

Photos by @jordanleephoto

It’s like this tiny little global ethnic melting pot, just right there.

“I know that everybody else that is out there walking those streets is getting something done or having a good time, doing what they’re doing, because we’re all on that same track…I guess it’s like strength and familiarity walking through (Central) and it’s so interesting because texturally its so diverse.”

Rock soundtrack to her ears, Beckaly Franks, lives and breathes the streets of Central where she lives and works. “You really have a restaurant of every different culture just on Hollywood Road by itself. It’s like this tiny little global ethnic melting pot, just right there.”

An award-winning bartender, and co-owner of ‘The Pontiac’ bar on Old Bailey Street, Beckaly is originally from Portland, Oregon. For her, Hong Kong life is a manifested dream. “There’s something about it, maybe it’s because of the sense of familiarity to me and also depends upon what I am listening to, but …it’s like a fast village so I tend to get a vibe of strength. I walk pretty strong when I walk through the streets.” Her favourite track is ‘River’ by American Bishop Briggs and her favourite band, ‘The Kills’, a British-American combo, all rock and roll, musical embodiments of the way she feels about the city, the beat to which she sways.

it’s like a fast village so I tend to get a vibe of strength. I walk pretty strong when I walk through the streets.

“The most popular street is where Staunton meets Peel…It’s like hiding in plain sight.” “La Cabane is a favourite place for a fine glass. Their food is fantastic, their wine is fantastic and it’s so cosy. It’s one of those French places that is idyllic. Those places are the little secret gems for me, because Hong Kong’s so dynamic, it’s so, like I said before, texturalised. There’s so many amazing moments here. Every time I see my staff happy or proud or getting in there, killing it. If I am mesmerized or they are mesmerized by something, that’s a moment!”

As for Beckaly’s manifested dream, ‘The Pontiac’ is that, something she thought Hong Kong needed, a place to celebrate possibilities. “’The Pontiac’ name is a combination of my personal ethos. Warrior but spiritual connotation, work ethic and drive. Blue collar, like everyone going forward together but everybody works their azz off.”

“If anything shows it, it’s what I’ve come out here and been able to do, what my girls have been able to do, the successes of this small 700sq foot neighbourhood bar. If you are not looking for it, you can’t see it.”