OPEN BAR

HK Magazine - - NIGHTLIFE -

Hong Kong’s no stranger to shad­owy speakeasy con­cepts, but this new cock­tail bar opened in late May is per­haps the most elab­o­rate ad­di­tion yet. In the mid­dle of Lee Tung Av­enue, dis­guised be­hind a mock bird shop, lies Ophe­lia: A lav­ish bar and nightlife venue con­ceived by Bangkok de­signer

Ash­ley Sut­ton—the brains be­hind such Bangkok wa­ter­ing holes as Iron Fairies and Mag­gie Choo’s. Ophe­lia is the first of three bars open­ing in Hong

Kong this year from Sut­ton.

Like Sut­ton’s other venues, a visit to Ophe­lia is a fully im­mer­sive ex­pe­ri­ence. Open the thick vel­vet cur­tains and you’ll en­ter some sort of pea­cock palace, with dreamy sur­rounds and a dis­tinct mo­tif fea­tur­ing the bird. The venue is split into three sec­tions: the en­trance and stage area, which has dancers on iron swings each night; the bar, where two “muses” perch al­lur­ingly be­hind the bar­tenders; and the semi-out­door area, where a hu­man-sized birdcage is an­other per­for­mance space.

Sut­ton brings his dis­tinc­tive steam­punkesque touch to the venue, with laser-cut Chi­nese-style steel arch­ways.

Like the sen­sory over­load in the bar sur­round­ings, there’s also a lot go­ing on in the cock­tails (and they don’t skimp on the al­co­hol, either): The Jewelled Wing ($125) uses the sub­tle yet hard-hit­ting combo of Ke­tel One vodka with a house-blended sake, bal­anced out by a lovely ly­chee and flo­ral sweet­ness and served with a sim­ple flower gar­nish. Le Plumage (pic­tured; $135) uses cachaca and blood orange for a tall drink that smacks you in the face with its tart­ness, but keeps you com­ing back with its strong smoky, al­most tea tan­nin-like fla­vor.

The most flam­boy­antly pre­sented cock­tail is the punny Cheon­gasm ($115), served in a del­i­cate, lit-up bird cage. It al­lows both tequila and ver­mouth to shine, with an ex­tra bite pro­vided by some cin­na­mon mist.

If over the top im­pres­sive sur­rounds are your thing, you’ll want to spend the whole evening here—Ophe­lia’s got the en­ter­tain­ment, drinks and food pack­age down pat, and they’ll soon launch a din­ner menu too. In the mean­time, you’ll want to pair your cock­tails with ad­dic­tive bites like the arancini with green god­dess sauce

($98), or whole school prawns (which you can eat shell-on; $90) fried with

Sichuan pep­per salt and a hot Thai

Nam Prikh dip­ping sauce.

Shop 39A, 1/F, Lee Tung Av­enue, Wan Chai, 2520-1117, face­book.com/ophe­li­a­hongkong

The buzz: The dé­cor: The drinks: Why you’ll be back:

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