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Hong Kong is a city known for its many bars and restaurants. In the recent years we have seen more and more of them really making an investment into the design area, and there are now some really stylish digs to entertain all of your senses.

Style by Asia goes bar-hopping in a few of the (in our opinion) best designed  bars around Hong Kong!

 

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We start off our night (and we highly recommend you to do that same) at J. Boroski in Central, the brainchild of New Yorker mixsultant Joseph Boroski, who taps into his extensive experience as a master bartender, consultant and bar owner to bring his new vision of a cocktail concierge service Hong Kong's thirsty masses.  But unless you come here on a weekend, the masses you escape. The bar is hidden away in an alley just off the escalator, and is a relatively new addition to the HK bar scene. Visiting early on a Wednesday night, we have the bar almost to ourselves, and we get to truly experience the "cocktail concierge service" unique to Hong Kong, meaning that drinks are crafted entirely based on guest preferences. The bartenders will quiz guests on their personal preferences and favourite cocktail encounters, and using this consultation to craft a made-to-order drink for each guest using the finest locally-sourced ingredients and a curated collection of hard-to-source craft spirits.

So how does it work in reality? You simply choose a type of spirit from their extensive list, and the extremely knowledgeable bartenders will ask you a few questions: do you prefer it sweet or sour, spicy or any other way? What are you in the mood for? Then he will mix up a concoction for you that no doubt will blow your socks off. At least ours did! We also got to try some of their house made "tequila limoncello", which was really very tasty and a surprise for the tastebuds.

Mixsultant™: [mix-sul-tant] noun; a term created by Joseph Boroski meant to express (as best as one word can) his deep passion for cocktail culture, both as a bartender and as a consultant

J. Boroski is a perfect place to go to start off your night out at, to unwind from a day in the office, or to catch up with a friend, one-on-one. On weekends we have been told people have to wait for a table or seat at the bar, but we can assure you that it is worth it! This bar is elegantly and subtly decorated, the man behind it is acclaimed Australian designer Ashley Sutton. Here has created an unashamedly sexy and intimate space that instills a sense of mystery, intrigue and luxury. Plus serenity. Without windows, it really is a place to forget about the outside world in, to lick your wounds or just take a break for a little while.

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Scarab beetles in the ceiling at J. Boroski. Image Credit: Dining Concepts

 

Sutton has dressed the bar in leather, imported teak, steel and copper, and the bar features intimate lighting and a latticework of leather panels adorned with scarab beetles. This is supposed to reflect Joseph’s passion for science and entomology, and gives the venue a quirky look, even as you enter the venue. The focal point however is the bar’s long bar, which runs the entire length of the space and where we spend a few hours as our bartenders craft original customized cocktails with precision and passion.

There’s no menu, no scribbled blackboards, and no happy hour specials. Forget the simple buy and sell process you’ll find at other cocktail bars; this is a place to go to drink something out of the ordinary. Whatever you do, don't order a Screwdriver or  Moscow Mule. This is not the bar for it...

Service commences at 7pm each evening, and access are on an invitation-only basis, allowing the space to offer its unique creativity to a curated audience. All guests are welcome to request for invitation. For access (reservation), please contact (852) 2603 6020 or email: hk@jboroski.com to request an invitation and the location details.

 

 

Where to head to next? Well by now you have left all your worries behind you, and entered a state of relaxation and joy. We suggest that you pop next door to The Iron Fairies for a bite to eat and some more cocktails. Opened in September last year, this place has definitely added a touch of magic to Hong Kong’s entertainment and night scene.

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Transported into a fairytale... Image Credit: Dining Concepts

 

When you step inside, you instantly feel transported to a faraway land where fairies, evil spirits and magic surely  does exist.

Ashley Sutton is the man behind this bar as well but you would not immediately think so. The only similarity to J. Boroski is the attention to detail. For Iron Fairies, Sutton came up with a whole theme, inspired by his own experience in the iron ore mines of Western Australia, and taking cues from his own children’s book trilogy about a band of grumpy miners trapped underground, tasked with forging iron fairies from the ore. The LG floor, windowless space is decorated like an ironsmith’s workshop that has become bewitched by a troupe of mischievous fairies determined to dance and sing the night away. Does it sound crazy? It might, but it works. Oh, how it works...

Image Credit: Dining Concepts

Drinks in the making! Image Credit: Dining Concepts

Iron Fairies promises a bewitching night of not just food and drinks, but live jazz and blues as well, paired with innovative comfort food and exceptional mixology, amidst otherworldly interiors that captivate and invigorate imaginations. You really do feel like you've stepped down into the rabbit hole and have been transported to an otherworldly place, a space where time stands still... 

We tried some seriously good sharing platters when we were there, including mini burgers, and seared tuna. These are perfect for the space, and for socialising around. And they do very well as "real food", so no need to leave our bars to have dinner elsewhere!

The space is furnished in raw iron and hand-hewn timber, accompanied with soft, supple leather. With space for 80 guests, it feels intimate and cozy amid all the rough materials. One very special feature are the six individually designed furnaces and casting rooms which adds extra privacy and keeps nosy eyes out if you want to create a bit of your own magic (!). The main workshop space is a wonderland of industrial and magical design, featuring low-slung ceilings, hand-made custom furnishings, and working mine machinery. Not to be missed (and how could you!) is the hanging garden in the ceiling that is home to 10,000 intricately crafted butterflies. It is truly magical!. The workshop is also home to 12 different iron fairies, each having its own, often mischievous, personality and identity. Why not collect them and start your own little fairy colony at home?

 

Image Credit: Dining Concepts

Image Credit: Dining Concepts

“The beauty of the fairies is that with 12 personality types, guests are able to identify with one or more of them, even the four mischievous ones,” says Sutton.

The experience of The Iron Fairies design and decor is complemented by an ever-changing roster of emerging and established jazz and blues acts, making The Iron Fairies an enchanting and entertaining nightspot.

The Iron Fairies retails fairy dust, iron fairies figurines, and iron fairy story books for its guests. But don't try to steal them, as that's bad karma...

Address: LG/F, Chinachem Hollywood Centre, 1-13 Hollywood Road, Central, Hong Kong

Telephone: 2603 6992

Email: info@ironfairies.com.hk

Websites: www.ironfairies.com.hk             www.diningconcepts.com

 

 

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The main stage at Ophelia. Image Credit: Dining Concepts

 

Now...you have to be careful not to fall under the spell of The Iron Fairies, or you will risk miss the finale of the evening. Jump into a cab and head down to Ophelia in Wan Chai for a seductively sultry end to your night out!

Nothing like it in Hong Kong, this place is an exclusive performance venue for the sophisticated, bringing tantalizing entertainment and intriguing cocktails to a one-of-a-kind space. It is difficult to express and must be experienced really.

Also here the interior is created by Ashely Sutton, but again he does something completely different... Set in a world of fantasy, Ophelia's décor draws inspiration from Hong Kong’s decadent history. Not only the interior design hints at the Far East, performers in cheongsams sashay through the intimate alcoves and semi-private rooms, reminiscent of the city’s 19th century glamorous opium dens. This, a much more luxurious and not as filthy a venue, has been brought into modern day through the use of intricate metal work and handmade plush velvet furniture. The space is completed with a resplendent display of peacock inspired elegance. You see peacocks everywhere! But in a subtle, classy way of course.

Ophelia is a place where people can go to escape the boredom of everyday life. I wanted the design to be so unique that it looks like something out of a dream, a place where fantasies can turn into reality

says Sutton of the design theme.

Image Credit: Dining Concepts

Image Credit: Dining Concepts

Ophelia’s high end, beguiling entertainment is there to dazzle and captivate, ensuring guests are mesmerized as they enter this palace of unfolding delights. Through ever-changing nightly performances ranging from burlesque to unexpected exotic adventures – Ophelia’s presents unique entertainment for everyone.

Bold, surreal, interactive, the ‘Sinful Circus’ performance at Ophelia every Friday and Saturday nights takes guests on a journey from fairytale beauty to all things desirable, seductive and surreal, a circus that transports those who dare to another world. 

Every Wednesday night the adventure is different – ‘Uncaged’.

The bar at Ophelia, where in-between performances, girls in cheongsams can be seen. Image Credit: Dining Concepts

The bar at Ophelia, where behind the bartender, and in-between performances, girls in cheongsams can be seen sitting. Image Credit: Dining Concepts

 

The 4,800 square feet is also available for private or corporate event bookings and reservations are recommended, especially on the weekends.

The unique list of cocktails takes inspiration from their “Cabinet of Curiosities” where aromatics, Asian herbs, spices and fruits have been blended to create a sense of being on an exotic journey.

Signature cocktails include Uncaged with a combination of Ocho Blanco Tequila, Cherry Purée, Agave Nectar, Orange Liqueur and Grapefruit Juice; Paparazzi contains exotic Black Magic Spices Rum, Activated Charocal, Orange Juice, Banana Liqueur and Veuve Clicquot Champagne; while Sapphire Pursuit fuses Aviation Gin, Lemon and Grapefruit Juice, Maraschino Cherry, Violet Liqueur. Should you be in need for a late night snack at this time, a menu of tapas is provided.

Uncaged Paparazzi Sapphire Pursuit 

 

We suggest you to visit late, after 11pm or so, to really experience the mystic of the Orient (and to give you enough time at the two other bars). This is certainly the sexiest bar we have been to in Hong Kong!

 

Address: Shop F39A & F41A, 1/F, The Avenue, Lee Tung Avenue, Wan Chai, Hong Kong

Telephone: 2520 1117

Email: info@ophelia.com.hk

Websites: www.ophelia.com.hk          www.diningconcepts.com

 

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      • Paparazzi
      • Sapphire Pursuit
      • Uncaged

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