Part five of a series on where Beijing residents enjoy a beverage (or two). This round is with music and nightlife lovers Elisabeth Tchoudjinoff and Katrina Arndt.
Black Sun Bar
This is our neighborhood bar and a good place to start the night. The cocktails are standard but cheap. This is the only bar we know in Beijing where the foosball players’ feet are not too high above the field. It doesn’t meet professional EU standards, which is probably why we are used to it. We enjoy kicking sets of men off the table and we do so often. We are not cocky, just confident.
Liang 30 Bar
Elisabeth: This is my reason to visit Houhai. The young (read: uncomplicated) Xinjiang musicians listen to our requests and the service is friendly. We also get to plug in our iPod during music breaks, us being the music snobs we are. Plus: Live music can still be heard from the upstairs, which offers a view of the rooftops of Houhai. Major plus: The flattering mirror in the bathroom helps you turn into Narcissus for a few hours or to see the rings in your eyes Downside: The bartender can only be trusted to make Gin Tonics. And open beer bottles.
Katrina: I only come for the music and the mirror.
If we don’t dilly dally too much, we might try to catch the end set of the salsa band, since they play with explosive energy. We don’t know how many bands play in this venue, but they recently had a singer from the Middle East. A sweaty salsa band + Amr Diab’s ‘Habibi‘ live = very happy moment. Afterwards, we dance to salsa and Arabic and African music until the wee hours. Sure, this place can be a bit of a meat market, but at least the women are playing games as well as the men.
Le Petit Gourmand
The terrace seating is comfortable (when the weather is not too hot), the food is consistently good, and it is a good place to bring a laptop and concentrate on work. We once ordered food and told them we didn’t think the wine list was sufficient, so we were allowed to bring two bottles of our own. They provided the ice bucket and glasses. However, now this place has a new wine selection, so we might not be able to do that anymore. Still, it’s a fond memory.
Ichikura / 12SQM
Katrina: Ichikura is a one-of-a-kind bar with a very nice intimate setting and a bartender who takes great care in all the details that go into making a cocktail. Each drink is like a piece of performance art. It is nice to see someone in Beijing who puts so much passion into his work. To be honest, I don’t really want to mention this bar because it doesn’t have a lot of space.
Elisabeth: 12SQM has a nice cozy setting and offers Grey Goose vodka and lychee liquor on the beautiful back wall full of liquor. The lighting is soft and the conversation is low. It is nice to sit on the cushioned window sill and watch Nanluoguxiang life pass by.