Inspired by a fictional story of secret lovers, Mrs Pound Speakeasy Bar and Restaurant brings to life the story of Mrs Pound, a former 1950’s Shanghai burlesque dancer, her married lover, Mr Ming and their elaborate clandestine rendezvous space.
Completed in 2014 by Hong Kong’s NC Design and Architecture (NCDA), the bar is disguised by the illusionary street front of a specialty stamp store in Hong Kong’s Sheung Wan antiques district; in true speakeasy style, this innocent showcase façade conceals the bar’s entry door, which is activated only by the initiated few by pulling on a glowing stamp. As the showcase door slides back, the words ‘this is not a stamp shop’ emblazoned in pink on the emerald green wall, lets guests know that they’re in the right place. In stark contrast to the unassuming street front, once inside, a boldly coloured space evidently inspired by the retro-futuristic styling of Wong Kar Wai’s cult cinematic classics comes into view where bright, colourful neon, emerald green and fuchsia read as an intentionally stereotypical, yet playfully kitsch his n’ hers language, representing the dancer and her secret lover.
Offering Asian fusion cuisine with a modern twist, the 45 seat venue is comprised of a lower dining room (Mrs Pound’s), an upper dining room (Mr Ming’s) and a bar at which these two spaces merge. Mrs Pound’s features fuchsia leather seating and banquettes with plush velvet backrests, teamed with patterned vintage tiles in pink, suspended mirrored marquee lights with lipstick messages and a 1960’s style decorative installation represent showgirl glamour, whilst deep emerald green bar stools and leather seating, patterned tiles in green, diagonal concrete formwork wall panels, combined with low level lighting and neon artwork create a moody and mysterious atmosphere, representing the stereotypical ‘masculine’ contrast to the narrative of the space.
These colour coded finishes subtly converge at the concrete clad and grey tile topped bar where green and pink floor tiles meet and the fuchsia banquette is reflected in the polished trim details of the bar while playful gymnastic ring lights suspended over the bar may be interpreted as the hoops these lovers need to jump through in order to requite their love. Throughout the space, details such as butterflies, vintage photos and a showcase filled with memorabilia and trinkets from Mrs Pound’s glory days add to the ambience and layer the space with a sense of sense of character and intimacy.