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: