Beckaly Franks and Ezra Star unveil their latest out-of-this-world cocktail concept focused on brown spirits. With its sweeping, otherworldly curves reflected by a mirrored ceiling into something resembling the inside of a whale’s ribcage, or even an extraterrestrial chapel, Artifact Bar is as eye-catching as bars come—even more surprisingly, perhaps, is its location, tucked away behind Artifact, the caviar-heavy casual fine-dining venue found inside, of all things, a food hall. The new bar, due to open in BaseHall 02 on April 11, was designed by Nelson Chow of NCDA, who in recent years has been responsible for other UFO-inspired interiors across town.
It’s a Russian doll of F&B concepts, with the cocktail-slinging core of the equation conceived by bartending power couple Ezra Star and Beckaly Franks (of Mostly Harmless and Quality Goods Club fame) alongside industry veteran Michael Larkin.
At Artifact Bar, Chow has sculpted booths that swoop down from the ceiling and seem to hover just short of the floor, framing a small bar counter at the end of its nave. The overall effect is one of walking into a set piece from The Fifth Element.
Behind the bar, head mixologist J Frank, a new arrival in Hong Kong by way of the UK, oversees a cocktail and spirits list that is focused predominantly on brown spirits like brandy, rum and whiskey. Aside from a selection of highballs, the mixed drinks include the luxurious Caviar Martini (gin or vodka, vermouth, caviar, rice, nori oil), the Olympus (cognac, raspberry vinegar, Benedictine, Champagne) and the Bread and Butter Milk Punch (bourbon, corn, lemon, pomegranate, toasted bread, butter).
The bar food carries a natural synergy with the cuisine at Artifact, with chef Kiyoshi Sato having designed eight snacks to pair. These include a Kumamoto A4 Wagyu tenderloin sando, tsukune wings with Okinawa spicy glaze and Ossetra caviar, and the three-tiered Artifact Orb that contains three snacks, 30g of caviar, blinis and garnishes within its interior.
Whether to outer space or subterranean realms, Artifact Bar is bound to be an exploratory experience for all.