Bar review: The Iron Fairies –this fantasy world is an experience, but signature drinks lack spirit

The Iron Fairies is the new spot to see and be seen in NoHo, an underground space fitted out like an iron foundry, complete with dangerous-looking rusty implements, and dead butterflies dangling from the ceiling

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 12 October, 2016, 4:30pm
UPDATED : Wednesday, 12 October, 2016, 4:30pm

The vibe: Iron Fairies is the latest Hong Kong opening from Ashley Sutton, the nightlife guru behind Ophelia, and designer of J. Boroski. The original Iron Fairies in Bangkok is Sutton’s signature bar, referencing his past as an iron ore miner in Australia. All his bars are based on fantasy concepts – here it’s an underground space fitted out like an iron foundry, complete with dangerous-looking rusty implements (if you want to smash your companion on the head with a sledgehammer, this is the place to go).

Bangkok nightlife legend Ashley Sutton to open 3 Hong Kong bars, including Iron Fairies Thousands of dead butterflies dangle from the ceiling, swaying in the draught – a finishing touch you may find gorgeous or ghoulish, depending on your taste. Seating is either at the bar or on leather pouffes around low tables laden with miniature iron fairies (patrons invariably start playing with them). There are sofas, too, as long as you don’t mind clambering in and out of the large furnaces in which they’re set (and can avoid hitting your head on the low metal arch while doing so).

The drinks: we tried three signature drinks. Ash Backwards (HK$110, Iron Balls gin, fresh grapefruit, pink Himalayan salt, CO²) was well-balanced and refreshing, though it was hard to work out what the salt added to it. Naughty Girl Bellini (HK$130, Australian sparkling wine, peach liqueur, gelled peach and honey) was complex and pleasantly peachy without being overly sweet. Least successful was Smoke in a Bottle (HK$120, blueberry-infused vodka, elderflower liqueur, sage cordial and fresh lemon with smoked cocoa nibs) – served in a bottle which was indeed full of smoke with a small amount of liquid at the bottom; the taste of the drink was overwhelmed by the smoke.

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All the signature drinks were stingy on the servings, with very little liquor to consume (Ash Backwards was full of ice, the glass for the Bellini was filled with pieces of peach and the Smoke in the Bottle… was all smoke). The bar has a good selection of premium liquor and we also ordered one classic drink, a Belvedere Martini (HK$130), which was well-made and a more generous size.

The verdict: without doubt, the new spot to see and be seen in NoHo and Sutton’s fantasy world is certainly an experience, but if it’s what’s in your glass that matters to you, J. Boroski next door is a better bet.

Bar review: J. Boroski in Central – Hong Kong’s bespoke cocktail bar

The Iron Fairies

LG/F, 1-13 Hollywood Road, Central, tel: 2603 6992