Update: NHL playoffs in Beijing

Gleann Phealan at Paddy O’Shea’s said about 35 Canucks were on hand last Sunday to watch the NHL playoffs. If you want to watch an early morning game, let Glenn know ahead of time at glenn@paddyosheas.com.

Not that the NBA playoffs matter any more now that my beloved Raptors are out, but The Rickshaw has been showing those games that it can pick up by satellite.

Tasting time: Beijing

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Upcoming Beijing wine-related events

Friday, May 2, 6:30 PM, Sequoia Cafe (Sanlitun), RMB 100
Sparkling wine tasting; RSVP with Frank at 13701-178-073.

Tuesday, May 6, 7:30 PM, SALT (RMB488)
Altano Reserva wine tasting, with oenologist Jorge Nunes and a degustation menu, by Torres China; RSVP with Sophie at 5165-5519, x208 or sophie@torres.com.cn.

Thursday, May 8, 7-9 PM, Block 8’s Med, RMB100
Ladies Wine Club
, featuring Italian wines and five-course meal; contact Kristen at lum.kristen@gmail.com

Thursday, May 8, 7-8:30 PM, Amigo (Central Park), free
Chilean wine festival, with 16 wines, by Top Cellar; RSVP with Cedric at marketing@topcellar.com.cn / 13439-467-514

Friday, May 16, 7-8:30 PM, Bento & Berries (Kerry Centre Hotel), free
Henry Bourgeois wine tasting, by Top Cellar; RSVP with Cedric at marketing@topcellar.com.cn / 13439-467-514

Friday, May 23, Great Wall of China (RMB15888)
Robert Parker wine dinner
, with menu by Blu Lobster; 8 wines rated 94 points or higher by Parker; RSVP with Adam Steinberg at adamsteinberg@asc-wines.com

Tuesday, May 28, 7 PM, Blu Lobster (RMB988)
Alain Chabanon wine dinner
, with winery owner Alain Chabanon, by East Meets West; RSVP with Blu Lobster (8882-6727) or EMW (6445-5797).

Friday, May 30, 7-8:30 PM, Bento & Berries (Kerry Centre Hotel), free
Deutz Champagne tasting
, by Top Cellar; RSVP with Cedric at marketing@topcellar.com.cn / 13439-467-514

Note: To get a wine event listed, send event information, preferably in text format, to beijingboyce@yahoo.com.

The Stone Boat: “Tunes in the Park”

The ground has thawed, the leaves are out, and that means The Stone Boat “Tunes in the Park” series is up and running again. The May lineup includes Hussy Hicks (May 1, 9:30 PM; “They actually rock quite clean with hints of country and Celtic Rock”),  Jane Germain and Ian Simpson (May 9, 9:30 PM, “grassland blues”), “Brasil Nite” (May 10, 9 PM, samba, jazz, and bossa nova), Hedgehog (May 16, 8 PM, “pop-punk”), Panjir (May 17, 9:30 PM, “insanely free jazz and Flamenco guitar solos”), Woodie Alan (May 23, 9:30 PM, blues-rock), Enfants Terrible (May 24, 9:30 PM,  “jazz electronica”),  Panjir (May 30, 9:30 PM), and Hanggai (May 31, 9:30 PM, Mongolian throat singing).

The Stone Boat is also holding “Boat Paridiso Video Shorts“, on May 15 at 9 PM, “featuring film/video art, vidcasts, animation, and other shorts highlighting local life and talent.”

All of the events listed above are free. Fishing in the pond next to the Stone Boat is extra.

Surreal Saturday: Deer petting, Dom P, taters and berries, and more

The resort – an hour’s drive beyond Beijing – sat nestled among a dozen mountains, upon one of which The Great Wall snaked like gray piping on a green felt jacket. Its balconies, pillars, arches, stonework, gilded trim—all seemed as though they had been teleported from Europe with the wave of a magic wand. Upon its vast deck sat scores of attendees sipping cocktails and wine, and nibbling barbecued lamb, stewed beef, and potato salad studded with strawberries, grapes and bananas. As the afternoon dwindled, a small herd of tame deer materialized to mingle among those on the sprawling lawn.

Why, one might reasonably ask, were we there? A press conference for Klubb Rouge*, an establishment to soon open in downtown Beijing, a dozen floors above Hooters on Workers’ Stadium East Road.

Saturday’s event and the club might seem an odd juxtaposition, somewhat along the lines of strawberries in potato salad, but who am I to complain about getting out of the city. And that is what more than one hundred of us – PR people, F&B managers, magazine types, and the like – did as we gathered on three buses that first inched through downtown traffic and then wound past fields, farm villages, vegetable vendors, and reservoirs to the resort.

The press conference proved anticlimactic. A poorly planned Powerpoint presentation resulted in print too tiny to read, while the verbal delivery consisted largely of rah-rah sentiments such as, “it’s really going to change the club scene,” “it’s going to amaze your eyes and amaze your ears,” and “you will be really, really, really delighted.”

Fortunately, I was able to ask general manager David Blais a few questions on the deck (I’ve paraphrased his answers).

Is Klubb Rouge related to Bar Rouge in Shanghai?

No, although a consultant and DJ from Bar Rouge are working on the project.

How big is the club?

The club has 1400 square meters of space on the fourteenth floor of China View as well as a terrace with a 360-degree view, two private rooms, and a mezzanine that can hold 300 to 400 people. The total capacity is 1500 to 2000 people.

How much will cocktails cost?

About 70 to 80 kuai.

Will there be food?

No, at least not in the beginning.

It was then time to enjoy a sunny afternoon in sedate surroundings, and enjoy a buffet of salad, meat and fruit as well as an open bar. Things were made all the more delightful when one at our table – Ross “Papa JJ” Goulding of Time Out magazine – won a draw for a bottle of 1999 Dom Perignon that he decided was best consumed there and then.

We realized that all good things must come to an end (translation: the last bus was leaving). After grabbing a few beverages and petting the deer, we boarded the bus for Beijing and a traffic flow that became increasingly  and excruciatingly slower as we approached city center.

The long ride put both physical and spiritual distance between us and the afternoon that had been. Just before we tranquilized Ross “Papa JJ” Goulding, whose elocution, while endearing, was scaring fellow passengers due to its volume and endurance, he hoarsely said: “Twas a great day, but how the memory fades. In the words of the great Rutger Hauer, ‘All those moments will be lost in time, like my upcoming three-day hangover tears in rain.’”

(And yes, the Champagne was worth including that quote in this post.)

As usual, apologies for the quality of the camera on my otherwise excellent K-TOUCH B922 phone, though in this case the somewhat surreal results fit the event.


Abracadabra!

klugg rouge press conference venue
Oh deer.

Note: I will have more details on the club later this week.

* KLUBB is spelled with the “K” reversed and a double “B”, while ROUGE is spelled with the “R” reversed. I lack the technology, let alone the willpower, to duplicate it here.

Beijing Metro: The ‘wine humidor’

If you hear the words “wine humidor” and think of oak barrel displays, wooden shelves, and row upon row of top-end wine, you might be a tad disappointed by the Metro hypermarket on Beijing’s outskirts. This is a storage facility, plain and metro-wine-humidor-3.jpgsimple, with fluorescent lights, fabricated steel shelving, and a warehouse feel.

While I spotted wine such as Napa Valley Shafer and Barossa Valley Penfold’s Grange alongside ice wine and the usual Champagne suspects – a three-liter bottle of Veuve Clicquot is RMB2190 – the selection is lighter than I expected.

In terms of Chinese wine, options include Dragon Seal and Grace Vineyard Chairman’s Reserve 2005 (RMB388). But unlike the imported wines they are kept standing rather than on their sides. Why put them in storage if you’re not going to lay them down?

The constantly opening and closing sliding door also made me wonder how well the temperature and humidity is maintained.

Note: Spirits are also available at Metro, including Macallan 30-year-old single malt (RMB3999) and Remy Martin’s Louis XIII Grande Champagne Cognac (RMB12999 kuai), which the sales staff told me is a popular item. A ceramic bottle of 1955 baijiu goes for around RMB50000. German beer fans will find about about 10 brands in the store proper. To shop at Metro, you need to be a member.