The all-male crowd seems to have abandoned Q Bar as its Thursday night watering hole. The place was lightly populated tonight (last night), which meant peace and quiet as I sipped my Horse Neck (Bourbon, ginger ale and lemon) and chatted with bartenders-owners George and Echo. The Q will add frozen dragon fruit margaritas to the menu tomorrow night (tonight), a drink Echo and I first made during my only foray behind the bar in Beijing, at a birthday party last year. They’ll go for 55 kuai.
I walked to Q from The Rickshaw, which opens tomorrow night (tonight). Patrons of the spot’s former bar, Midnight, are in for a surprise – co-owner Kris Ryan has stripped the place down, to the cement floor at some points, and replaced the unbearable heaviness of the sofas with light furniture and open space. With a pool table, several flat-panel TVs and a balcony that offers views up and down Sanlitun South, the place has a new vibe – an unpretentious spot that fits the BJ psyche.
In the pigeonhole game, The Rickshaw hints at The Den, The Goose and Duck, and, of course, COX and Saddle (same owners), with a splash of old Sanlitun South, though it quickly enough it’ll find its own identity. Qingdao draft is 15 kuai a pint (10 kuai during happy hour) and the kitchen will open soon, if not tomorrow night. Patrons now have a new spot to get COX-style wings and Saddle-style burritos, as well as mini pizzas, while avoiding Sanlitun North’s roving gangs of teenagers, beggars and substance sellers. That alone is reason enough for me to go; we’ll see if others feel the same. (For more on The Rickshaw, check out this interview of Kris.)
I dropped into The Rickshaw on my way home from Torres China’s tenth-anniversary celebration at the Ritz Carlton. The party was from 6 to 10 PM, and I managed to squeeze in at 9:52 PM – yep, it’s been one of those work weeks. That left enough time to chat with Torres North China GM Galia Stern (among the first people I met when I arrived in Beijing way back when), have a glass of wine, and meet Miguel Torres, who ranks among the world’s bigwigs of wine. Congratulations to Torres and good luck on the company’s anniversary party in Shanghai this weekend.