Top five watering holes: Paul Adkins, researcher

Part 4 of a series on where Beijing residents enjoy a beverage (or two). This round is with beverage quality control expert Paul Adkins.

First an honourable mention to Havana Bar. It has the potential to be a great little bar, once people discover it. Nicely decorated, with an excellent selection of drinks, along with some slick music from the house band, The Eleventh Commandment. Management just needs to hang in there and get some marketing happening. But don’t rush – sometimes it’s nice to have the place to myself.

Top Five Watering Holes Paul AdkinsComing in at number 5, Cheers in Tongli. Cheap beer, great Xinjiang music. But the feature that most attracts me (not the art) is the world’s worst pool table. It’s the pool equivalent to crazy golf, but it evens up the scoring, so that’s OK by me.

Aria takes spot number 4. Maybe because I am Australian, and my usual Aria outing is Friday nights. It’s always great to get back to the tribal roots, say “g’day” to mates, and talk about the important things in life – cricket, footy and sheilas. Aria would have got a higher rating, but the AustCham Kooka Pub organisers have been kicked out for the Olympics.

Sequoia Café is in many ways the inverse of Aria. Where Aria offers the tribal roots, Sequoia gives me a chance to meet friends from all over the world. Any time I go there, I am likely to meet acquaintances from Slovenia, France, USA, Ireland, GermanyFrank even lets Canadians in. Frank’s Friday night wine tastings are usually a magical mystery tour – wines from parts of the world that I have never tried before. Frank and Jennifer are always friendly and take the time to say hello, which is nice.

Second prize goes to Saddle Cantina. I love the music, the burritos, the drinks list and the deck. Their pool table is too new yet, with a true surface – so I tend to lose more often.

Top place however goes to a private little place. It’s well-stocked with everything I like to drink, and music that I can choose according to how I feel. It’s a spot where I can sit quietly and veg out or enjoy the company of friends. It’s an oasis – but it’s my bar at home, and it’s where I go when I am not out on the town. Not only that, but the bartender there makes the best margaritas in town.

Finally, I want to put down a ghost vote for Maggie’s. Why this dead den of iniquity? Because my girlfriend and I used to love going along and bopping to the music. A couple of hours on the dance floor there was a night well-spent. Sure it got a bit sleazy when the “ladies of the night” arrived, but they never went anywhere near the dancers.

We are looking forward to seeing it re-open after the Olympics.

Chandler Jurinka, Local Noodles
Kevin Shen
, T3 Terminal
Steven Schwankert, SinoScuba