The Iron Fairies
LG/F, Chinachem Hollywood Centre, 1-13 Hollywood Road, Central, Hong Kong
There are fairytales that live only on pages, and there are those that are brought to life by artistic masterminds such as Bangkok-based designer, Ashley Sutton. The ingenious artist’s first foray into Hong Kong is quite literally, a tale of fairies – specifically, those he imagined for a children’s book trilogy.
Ashley wrote a series of stories about a group of grumpy ore miners who are trapped underground, tasked with forging iron fairies day after day. One day the fairies come to life, and thus the scene is set for The Iron Fairies – a fantastical realm of magic and merrymaking.
Enter via Pottinger Street and down we go to an alternate reality where 10,000 butterflies flutter overhead, servers are cast as iron ore miners and mischievous fairies wink at you as you sip your cocktail, determined to indulge in a bit of revelry before the night turns to day. Welcome to the wonderful world of Ashley Sutton.
From a young age, the born creative was obsessed with building things, be it treehouses or toy spaceships. Never one to go by the books (or to read books, for that matter), he dropped out of school at the age of 14, apprenticing in a medieval stained-glass factory before going to work in a mine in his early 20s. It was here where his idea for the Iron Fairies was forged.
Ashley never saw himself as a designer, but his own talent was inescapable – the physical Iron Fairies factory he constructed attracted people’s attention and, since then, the designer extraordinaire has gone on to become one of Asia’s most in-demand nightlife architects, with 40-something outlets across Bangkok, Tokyo and Hong Kong.
The Iron Fairies was his debut project back in Bangkok, and it has been replicated in Hong Kong in mesmerising detail, from the 12,000 bottles of fairy dust clustered around the bar to the ceiling composed of real butterflies
suspended on thin copper rods – hung up one-by-one by the insomnia-prone designer. Ashley also hand-forged many of the iron fairies that gleefully occupy each table, available in 12 different figurines that can also be purchased at the bar.
Heavy cast-iron mixed with elements of hand-hewn timber and leather furniture are used to recreate the idea of a blacksmith’s workshop, with six cast-iron furnaces dotted around the perimeter of the bar for private groups.
Settle into one of these Casting Rooms, or at one of the low, circular tables in the main workshop, and turn your attention to the brilliant selection of cocktails crafted by Ashley’s frequent collaborator, expert ‘mixsultant’ (mixologist and cocktail consultant), Joseph Boroski.
There’s the Pink Tako, a visually striking tipple made from cranberry gin, yuzu egg and a squiggly garnish of dried octopus, and the Watermelon Daiquiri, a light pink concoction topped with fairy dust burnt marshmallow. To complement, Head Chef Todd Williams has created a tempting menu of bar snacks comprising burgers, fried pork knuckle and deep fried popcorn chicken.
Meanwhile, live jazz and blues play most nights, bewitching patrons with seductive tunes. Whether you’re stopping in for a quick, pre-dinner cocktail or spending a leisurely night with good food and booze, one thing’s for sure: this is one fairytale that’s bound to have a happy ending.