Sanlitun roundup: Lugas, Saddle Cantina, 1949, Kokomo / China Doll

It sounds like the Kokomo / China Doll standoff is over for now. Two co-owners of Kokomo told me last Thursday that Tongli Studio management fixed the damaged lighting console at the core of the dispute. I spotted no ominous guards as I headed upstairs to Kokomo last night, though I found the place closed (to be fair, it was around 2 AM).

Across the street, Lugas (ex-Saddle) is expanding. The place is more than doubling in size as it takes over a venue just around the corner, with the two spots being connected by a door. Expect a similar layout and decor, and a side room that fits about a dozen people. Luga says he expects to open the place on Friday.

Meanwhile, The Saddle Cantina opened Thursday with a party by Local Noodles. The spot was packed, the beer and Margaritas flowed. I popped in Saturday afternoon to try the food, as I’d received an email listing the opening hours from “afternoon” to 4 AM on weekends. I found it closed and since discovered the opening time is 6 PM. I returned last night for a few Stella at RMB40 per pop. The beer is literally ice cold, with co-owner Nick Ma explaining that it pours at -1 or -2 degrees Celsius. Ma provided a sample of the guacamole, which was tasty. The Saddle Cantina is much bigger and stylized than The Rickshaw, and the prices are higher. I’ll have more about this place soon.

On Sanlitun North, 1949: The Hidden City will start opening venues tomorrow. The first: Sugar (11 AM-7 PM; no wireless at the moment), a coffee bar that offers salads and other fare. The Noodle Bar (11 AM-7 PM) opens Wednesdays, while Duck de Chine is slated to take flight on the weekend. I sampled Duck de Chine’s menu last Thursday and, as one might expect, we had plenty of duck. Webs, livers, tongues, eggs, breasts – pretty much everything but lips, feathers, and bellybuttons. I also discovered from the chef that they can fit cook turkey’s into those wood-fired ovens – come Christmas, I’m going to be calling these guys.

Finally, I dropped into Nanjie in the wee hours last night and, as usual, it was bustling upstairs with the usual mix of locals and expatriates. With ten-kuai beer and a deck that is perfect for people watching – this place is hard to beat.

Last call: Celebrity Pub Crawl IV

Where would you take James Bond drinking in Beijing?

Post your bar recommendations in the comment section here and you’ll be entered into the weekly Celebrity Pub Crawl draw. So far, the itinerary includes Centro, Red Capital Club, Q Bar, Lugar, The Westin, and more.

The winner will receive:

- A bottle of Grace Vineyard Tasya’s Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon from Torres

- A package of four books – Insider’s Guide to Beijing 2008, Mandarin Phrasebook, Healthy Chinese Cuisine: A Restaurant Ordering Guide, and Spicy Chinese Cuisine: A Restaurant Ordering Guide – from Immersion Guides.

The deadline for entries is tomorrow (Tuesday) at noon.

I’ll ask an esteemed member of the Beijing community – it was Palette’s Stefan Fleischer last week – to do the draw, with the winner being announced on Wednesday. (Note: I can only ship prizes to addresses in Beijing. One entry per week per person, please. To spread the wealth for this six-week contest, only one prize per person.)

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So many Bonds, so many bars…

Celebrity Pub Crawl IV: James Bond

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Martinis are nice, but nothing beats proper chilling with Bollingers…

We’ve done Crockett and Tubbs, The Desperate Wives and Homer Simpson. Let’s skip across the pond and get British spy – and martini and Bollinger lover – James Bond in on the action.

Post a comment about where in Beijing you would take 007 and you’ll be entered in the weekly draw. The prizes:

- A bottle of Grace Vineyard Tasya’s Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon from Torres

- A package of four books – Insider’s Guide to Beijing 2008, Mandarin Phrasebook, Healthy Chinese Cuisine: A Restaurant Ordering Guide, and Spicy Chinese Cuisine: A Restaurant Ordering Guide – from Immersion Guides.

The deadline for entering the draw is Tuesday at noon. The winner will be announced the next day. (Note: I can only ship prizes to addresses in Beijing. One entry per week per person, please. To spread the wealth for this six-week contest, only one prize per person.)

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Connery, Moore, Brosnan… pick a Bond, pick a bar. ((c) KCI Library)

The Opposite House: Sanlitun hotel to include Mesh bar, Punk club

The boutique hotel in Sanlitun’s Swire hotel will go by the name The Opposite House. The restaurant and bar “concepts’” are being handled by David Laris Concepts. Expect to find two nightlife destinations: Mesh, a lounge, and Punk, a club that communications manager Alex Chen told me will be “more intense and underground.”

I’ll have more on this project soon.

See also: Swire to open Beijing boutique hotel*

* Thanks to C. Thompson for the link

Purple Lips wine shop to open March 30

Purple Lips Wine Tasting Room and Shop will hold its soft opening on Sunday, March 30. The shop will be open all day, with free wine between 6 and 8 PM, and 30 percent off on bottles. Purple Lips will offer ten wines for tasting daily – with the lineup changing every two weeks.

For RMB120, patrons can try three wines and three of twenty meat and cheese items on the menu.

According to an email from Purple Lips, the shop is located opposite of The St. Regis Hotel, 21 Jianguomenwai Da Jie, inside Jian Wai Diplomatic Compound.

The project is by Diana Liang, who told me that although she is not an expert on wine, she enjoys drinking it, and seeks to learn more and offer consumers reasonably priced wine. She told me the 50-square-meter shop will be open daily from 9 AM to 10 PM.

For more information, contact Diana at 13701-168-132 / diana.liang.beijing@gmail.com.

(Hat tip to GA for the inf.)