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An Underground Izakaya

Neon Pigeon takes its interpretation of modern Izakaya to Keong Saik Road in Chinatown.

An Underground Izakaya


April 22nd, 2015

Photographs: Owen Raggett

An unpretentious and bustling spot designed by EDG Design has opened its doors in the heart of Chinatown, as one of the resident restaurants of co-working space, The Working Capitol.


Helmed by the creators of Hong Kong’s Fatty Crab, the edgy space greets its diners with a neon pink signage, leading the way to the modern Izakaya restaurant. Bearing an “urban grit” aesthetics, the walls were stripped down to expose bricks alongside a material palette of raw concrete, steel, wood, glass and spray paint.

The idea was to add funk to the local dining scene by capturing an urban spirit that stands out from most of the other Japanese restaurants in town that are often refined to a tee. “We wanted a mash up of New York meets London meets Tokyo,” says Michael Goodman, partner and managing director at EDG.


In Neon Pigeon, diners share plates (hand carried from Tokyo) on a variety of dining options such as low booths, standard seating and high tables. “There’s the dining room side with an open kitchen and the bar side separated by an i-beam table where the tables slide to be anything from five separate tables of two, to one big table of 10,” explains Goodman on the seating flexibility that adds on to the informal and casual vibe of the space. In true Japanese fashion, there is also a standing bar where guests can hang out and enjoy craft sakes, wines and cocktails.

Neon Pigeon EDG Design

The modern Izakaya restaurant features custom made furniture from tables, chairs to lighting fixtures. “The tables are end cut plywood so you see the stripes of grain. We wanted to keep it inexpensive in terms of material, but use them in a new way,” Goodman reveals. With minimal lighting fixtures, the space exudes a “back alley” ambience without compromising on visibility such that customers are still able to see what they are eating and ordering.


The focal point of Neon Pigeon however, are the massive art murals, which was a creative collaboration between EDG and Zero, a local graffiti artist, who composed his own vision of multiple pigeons on earphones. Goodman cites that collaboration is an important element that helped to shape a unique identity for Neon Pigeon – they had also worked with a DJ from Tokyo to soundtrack the space.

Neon Pigeon EDG Design

When asked about the origins of the quirky name, Neon Pigeon, Goodman says, “I suppose a name like that is what happens when you’ve been drinking in the test kitchen all day trying to come up with the most urban things you can think of – neon lights and pigeons!”

EDG Design

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