Hong Kong’s Artifact Bar is the city’s latest cocktail haven

Designed by Nelson Chow, Hong Kong’s Artifact Bar is a vibrant, futuristic cocktail bar inspired by the serpentine architecture of underground cisterns

Artifact bar Hong Kong
(Image credit: Courtesy NC  Design & Architecture Ltd)

Artifact Bar, is a new cocktail haven in Hong Kong, whose vibrant futuristic interiors by Nelson Chow are inspired by the serpentine architecture of underground cisterns. 

Hong Kong might not have suffered through Prohibition, but that hasn’t stopped it from embracing the traditional speakeasy with open arms, not least because the concept is a perfect match for the city’s myriad small spaces. NC Design & Architecture Ltd founder Chow, who has been an active force in Hong Kong’s creative scene since he founded his eponymous studio in 2011, has designed numerous captivating and characterful places, including speakeasy icons Foxglove, Please Don’t Tell, and Dr Fern’s Gin Parlour.


Artifact Bar by Nelson Chow

Artifact Bar interior

(Image credit: courtesy Nelson Chow)

The entrance, unexpectedly tucked away inside Jardine House’s luxury BaseHall food court in Central, is highlighted by circular windows suggestive of industrial pipes, adding to the industrial feel and creating a sense of discovery.  The entrance is marked by a rotating surveillance camera-like light, and guests continue through what feels like a secret passage, its walls clad floor-to-ceiling in what appear like small speakers, but which are small, three-dimensional perforated tiles that provide effective acoustic protection from the food hall outside.

Swooping voluminous curves are everywhere in the main bar area, from the rounded walls and dramatic sculptural bar inspired by an aircraft cocktail bar, to the custom furnishing and bold rib-like arches that stretch from side to side of the main space across a low mirrored ceiling. This clever architectural device not only echoes the texture, colour and flowing cavernous forms of underground water reservoirs, but also creates the illusion of a soaring ceiling above the sleek, striking silhouette.

Artifact Bar cavernous interior

(Image credit: courtesy Nelson Chow)

Lighting adds to the fantasy, especially from the faux skylight that recreates the soft glow of the setting sun above the sinuous walnut bar, and adds warmth to the otherwise minimalist white space. 

Chow custom-designed every detail, including the sci-fi bar chairs and  stools, and the intimate booths upholstered in glamorous plush ivory leather. A second, smaller, VIP room also features pipe-like windows and similarly curvaceous seating. 

Artifact Bar with light entering through round window

(Image credit: courtesy Nelson Chow)

But, more than anything, the otherworldly interiors are an innovative combination of imagination and functionality, which deliver drama and intrigue while completely transforming what was originally an awkwardly shaped meandering corridor with two entry points and a low ceiling. 

Chow’s cutting-edge design is matched by the stellar cocktails concocted by bar manager J Frank. The list focuses predominantly on brown spirits, and the whisky-based Bread and Butter Milk Punch and savoury Caviar Martini are current seasonal highlights. Chef Sato Kiyoshi’s elevated menu of light snacks includes a very moreish Kumamoto A4 Wagyu tenderloin sando and tsukune wings with Okinawa spicy glaze.

Artifact Bar
G/F, Jardine House
No, 1 & 2, Shop 5 & 7,
1 Connaught Pl, Central
Hong Kong


Artifact Bar

(Image credit: courtesy Nelson Chow)

Artifact Bar

(Image credit: courtesy Nelson Chow)