Ophelia, Hong Kong’s newest nightlife destination opens at The Avenue in Wan Chai, bringing sophistication, intriguing cocktails and tantalising entertainment to Hong Kong in a one-of-a-kind space.
The much anticipated opening is the brainchild of Ashley Sutton, the creative mastermind behind some of Bangkok and Tokyo’s most popular retaurants, bars and clubs such as Iron Fairies, Maggie Choo’s, Sing Sing Theatre, J. Boroski Mixology and many more.
As with much of Sutton’s work where the décor hints at the Far East, Ophelia is no different. Taking inspiration from Hong Kong’s history, waitresses in cheongsams sashay through the intimate alcoves and semi-private rooms, reminiscent of the city’s 19th century upscale opium dens which have been brought into modern day through the use of intricate metal work, handmade plush velvet furniture and resplendent peacock feathers.
“Ophelia is a place where people can go to escape the boredom of every day life. I wanted the design to be so unique that it looked like something out of a dream, a place where fantasies can turn into reality,” explained Sutton.
On entering Ophelia through “Mr Wong’s Aviary”, guests are greeted by two large peacocks and those with a keen eye for detail will quickly notice that the interiors are an ode to the magnificent peacock: from the peacock pictures each individually screen painted on bamboo; the 32 steel, copper and stainless steel industrial peacock art pieces with the plumage made out of real peacock feathers; to the 600,000 ceramic tiles that were individually hand-painted to get the colours of the peacock feather’s “eye”.
However, it is the meticulously designed handcrafted metal work that truly shines. For the bar rails which surround the perimeter of the venue, Sutton wanted to emulate the pattern of the peacock’s legs – to do so, he painstakingly cut each steel bar rail into five inch tubes, then cut each tube at every inch with a drop saw before re-welding it together to get a “rolling” line on top of the steel. With the customer always in mind, he then cut another incision into the steel for a leather insert so that customers wouldn’t feel the cold metal when they leant on the bar.
To create a visually striking modern entrance into each room, Sutton took inspiration from traditional arched Chinese garden entrances. Each archway panel was created using the same technique of the bar rails with the addition of metal sheets which have been laser cut with the pattern of peacock feathers.
Sutton’s love for industrial materials is most apparent on the “smoking terrace” where the roof and walls were made of steel plates to create a different atmosphere from the rest of the place. Large metal fans laser cut into the shape of peacocks adorn the walls and if you look closely enough, you’ll see that even the overhead fans have a laser cut feather pattern on the blades.
Ophelia’s cocktails are equally striking. The unique list of cocktails takes inspiration from her “Cabinet of Curiosities” where aromatics, Asian herbs, spices and fruits have been used to create a sense of being on an exotic journey. Signature cocktails include The Jade Cat “A rare and sought after artifact” made from Iwai Japanese Whiskey, Baika Ranman Ume Shu, House-made Bitter Green Tea Liqueur, Le Plumage “He displayed his colours haughtily” made with Sagatiba Cachaça, Blood Orange, Gold Slab Syrup, Shisandra Dram, Lime, Chilli Infused Charred Pineapple and Green Tea Chocolate Rim, and Cheongasm “Her dress caused quite the commotion”, with Tequila Reposado, House-made Pomegranate Cordial, La Quintinye Vermouth Rouge, Lemon, Lime and Cinnamon Mist.
Guests will also be able to enjoy shared tapas dishes especially created to match with the cocktails. Australian chef Angus Harrison helms the burners at Ophelia, having earned his stripes training under some of Australia’s most popular chefs such as Luke Mangan, Eric Van Alphen, Martin Boetz and Jane Therese Mulry, Marco Pierre White’s first ever female head chef. Although Ophelia is launching with a limited tapas menu, guests can later expect an exceptional menu of fresh, creative tapas with a modern Australian twist.
To complete the experience for all the senses, the sultry cocktail lounge will be host to some of the most sought-after entertainment in town. With every visit, guests can expect a surprise element of entertainment, with the only constant being the “muses” with their opium pipes suspended above the bar, setting the tone for the decadence that will unfold. A fantasy wonderland for nocturnal escapades, expect a one-of-a-kind experience at Ophelia, reservations highly recommended.
So, the only question left to answer is, “Who is Ophelia?”
Ophelia is located at Shop 39A–41A, 1/F, The Avenue, Lee Tung Avenue, Wan Chai and is open to the public from 6pm until 2am from Tuesdays to Thursdays, 6pm until 3am on Fridays and Saturdays. It is closed on Sundays and Mondays. For reservations, please call +852 2520 1117 or email Info@ophelia.com.hk.