Email: “Your comments on Rui Fu suggest powers of observation so weak that you would no doubt have trouble matching socks, finding Waldo or counting the fingers on one hand, let alone reviewing a club. “The main floor is divided into two large narrow rooms joined by an opening,” you claim. In fact, there is but one room. “…tables and chairs, then lounge areas, flow until they meet that opening, beyond which figures appear as silhouettes,” you claim. In fact, the “beyond” is actually the first room reflected in a mirror. Nice work, Sherlock Holmes. If you could learn to develop some characters, you might have a future in fiction. (By the way, I loved your “plush karaoke, generic hotel casino, and modernized opium den” reference — kisses!)“ - B. Boyce
BB: I thought I’d beat someone to the punch on that one. Rui Fu does, in fact, have one room. In my own defense, I’m easily distracted, the mirror on the far side is *really* shiny, and it does look like a passageway. Here’s the worst part: Around 10 PM one night, I was writing a review of Rui Fu based on a single one-hour visit and felt that was unfair, so I decided to delay the newsletter, threw on some decent clothes, headed over there, ended up taking to owner Henry Li for an hour, got a better feel for the club, and then came back and ADDED the part about two rooms. Yes, in this case, more research resulted in greater inaccuracy. Go figure.
Email: “W Sports Bar does not have a pool table.” - W. Thomas
b: I was wrong (again). Last issue, I wrote that W has a table hockey game buried amid enough stuff to make for a most excellent yard sale, including, “[a] ping pong table, dartboard, big-screen TV, pool table, art, grand piano, foosball table, etc.”
My bad: mae yo pool table.
Nevertheless, I won’t retract the ensuing comment: “Is there anywhere else in town where you might simultaneously hear “Who’s serve?,” “Bull’s eye!,” “I’ll have two beers, please,” “Eight ball, corner pocket,” and “This is simply too Dadaist for my taste,” all while someone chops out Mozart and a Formula 1 race shows?”
Even without a table, that “eight ball” comment could still easily be heard from a confused ping pong player, coverage of the world pool championships on the big screen, or… actually, forget it, there’s no way I’m going to make a cheap baggy pants joke.
Email: “You’ve listed Club Football as one of our editor’s picks – NO! It’s the unique RED BALL BAR – can you issue a correction?” - H. La
BB: I was wrong again (again). (People should be used to this by now, but no, in flood the emails.) This time, an eagle-eyed staffer from that’s Beijing (TBJ) pointed out that I listed Club Football, rather than Red Ball Bar, as an honorable mention as bar of the year.
(“I love the Ball because it’s so unique and different. There’s a smashing atmosphere, the staff are so friendly and helpful, it’s superb value [where else can you get a bottle/carton of decent wine for RMB 50?] and it’s so different from any other bar I’ve been to,” he/she enthused.)
Fair enough. Correction issued. To err is human, they say, as TBJ itself showed by not giving a single editor’s pick to Browns, even though that place won the popular vote, is frequented by other bar owners and employees… well, you know the story (and yes, that was a cheap shot).
Aside 1: Most of my British friends hate Browns. They disdainfully describe it as typical of this or that horrible bar in London, Muckchester, Corkingham or wherever they call home. Message received — about a million times so far. And I’m sure the Beijing natives living in the Isles aren’t overly fond of the Chinese restaurants there. Such is life. The thing is, we’re not in Britain, nor do most of us hail from there, and Browns is what it is — a place for good, clean fun. Where else will you find seven young guys raucously celebrating a birthday while nearby two couples in their seventies happily boogie to eighties tunes? Not cool, you say? Well, some people dislike pretentiousness or simply aren’t trendy, thus we need Browns, the great melting pot of bars in this city. So, for the love of Buddha, and Ben Elton, please stop the hating! Pretty please? Pretty please with Boddington foam and frozen blood pudding shavings on top?
Aside 2: The mainstream media must be disheartened when amateurs such as yours truly turn on their powers of perception and score a major news scoop. Take my expose on the White Man Overbite dancing epidemic at several Sanlitun hot spots a while back. The China Daily, Wall Street Journal and their kin completely missed that one. Then there’s my most recent scoop: uncovering a direct link between eyeglass-wearing styles and bar success. The evidence accumulated during my lengthy investigation would fill multiple volumes, but let me present two pieces. First, a recent TBJ story about its bar awards ceremony shows not one, not two, but three victorious owners wearing eyeglasses atop their heads, as though they had visually challenged hair follicles that were looking at the ceiling and possibly to a vote-producing deity beyond. Second, numerous other winning owners not pictured in the story were spotted at the ceremony wearing glasses in a similar manner. The link is obvious, but what of its significance? While it is difficult to quantify the positive effects of, for example, a pair of Ray-Ban bifocal sunglasses on revenue, my guess is 22.7 percent, give or take 0.3 percent. (Rose-colored lenses and those for nearsightedness would obviously have less impact.) Contrast this to bar owners who wear baseball hats backwards: I estimate that such low-brows typically see their businesses go bankrupt in a matter of weeks and also stand a fifty-fifty chance of spontaneously combusting. The lesson is simple: bar success is yours if you keep your glasses pointing upward and keep your ball caps pointing forward, and ideally do both (glasses over caps, of course). And remember, you heard it here first.
Email: “It is tres terrible to hear about the Big Easy. It easily had some of the best jazz and singers since my days on before heading for Vietnam in ’67. Are they going to open somewhere else?” -
before heading for Vietnam in ’67. Are they going to open somewhere else?” -J.W.
BB: That’s a really good question and I don’t have a clue as to the answer. Maybe The Big Easy will relocate beside the new Latinos! Anyone out there have some inside information?
(From Beijing Boyce XXIII, first emailed on August 31, 2006)