Are you experienced? Get ready for Hilton’s massive wine event

Two years ago, I lost my mobile phone. Last year, I accidentally broke a bottle of Shiraz on a marble staircase. This year, who knows?

The eleventh annual Beijing Food & Wine Experience is slated for Saturday, November 29 in Beijing. While the 2007 event covered two days, this year the trade tasting, public tasting and other activities will be squeezed into one day and utilize the Hilton’s new nine-floor “executive tower.”

Given that a fee of RMB230 provided patrons access to hundreds of wines (more than a thousand?) and a buffet, I found the turnout at the public tasting disappointing last year. So did several distributors with whom I talked: they not only paid for display space, but also had the costs of providing staff, wine, and literature. (Note: This year’s display packages range from RMB3500 to RMB22000).

If my in-box ahead of last year’s event is an indication, better marketing – by the hotel and distributors – is needed for what, at least for many consumers, should be one of the wine events of the year in Beijing. This seems especially important for the Hilton given that some distributors have been “going it alone” and holding partial portfolio tastings for as low as RMB100, including Torres, Palette, GELIPU-Winelink, and ASC.

Last year saw eight distributors hold the vast majority of the nearly 200 tablesASC, Aussino, Jointek, Summergate, Jebsen, H&L, Palette and Torres. Other distributors included DT Asia, Metro, Bacchus Pernod Ricard, Ao Hua, Beijing GLP, East Meets West, Longfellows, Moet Hennessey Diageo and TBC (The Beverage Company). Some food, glassware, wine accessory, bottled water and publishing companies also participated.

For more details, see my write-ups about the the 2007 event and the 2006 event. I’ll have more on this year’s event soon.

Bar crawl Beijing: Let’s party like it’s 1992!

We cranked up the Beijing time machine yesterday and checked out the city’s former disco scene, courtesy of the China Daily Entertainment Guide from 1992 – the year CDs outsold cassette tapes, Barney debuted on PBS, the Toronto Blue Jays won the World Series, and Zhang Yimou took top honors in China’s first film festival.

Today: China Daily’s “club and pub” listings from the same year, including an intriguing entry for “Derby.” (Is it just me or is there one – or maybe two or three or more – conspicuous omission(s)?)

  • Aladdin’s Hideaway (Tianlun Dynasty Hotel)
    – “Live Filipino band… Moroccan style cocktail lounge”
  • The Brasserie (Beijing Shangri-la)
    – “Seating 25 people with background music and pianist….”
  • Brauhaus (China World Trade Centre)
    – “German beerhouse with traditional German snacks”
  • The Caravan (Great Wall Sheraton)
    – “Business or social cocktails. Also home to the Foreign Correspondents’ Club”
  • Charlie’s (Jianguo Hotel)
    – British style with about 80 seats and a guest room salon”
  • The Cosmos (Great Wall Sheraton)
    – “…contemporary live music by an international band…”
  • Derby (Swissotel)
    – “Offering Royal Hong Kong Jockey Club telebetting accounts every Wednesday and Saturday during the racing season”
  • Gallery (Holiday Inn Lido)
    – “Secluded environment with about 75 seats… resident jazz band”
  • Hollywood East (Kunlun Hotel)
    – “Bar decorated in American style of the 30s”
  • Intermezzo Lounge (Palace Hotel)
    – “Discrete and relaxing lounge offering cocktails and snacks with live jazz…”
  • Lan-ye (Qianmen)
    – “American style with daily live music featuring American folk songs”
  • Mexican Wave
    – “Mexican style bar run by chefs of the Mexican Embassy in Beijing”
  • Peacock Bar (Beijing Shangri-la)
    – “Seating about 75 people with resident entertainer”
  • Piccadilly Nightclub (Palace Hotel)
    – “Sophisticated environment with live band and dance floor. Private rooms….”
  • Pig and Whistle (Holiday Inn Lido)
    – “A typical English pub…”
  • Rose (Kunlun Hotel)
    – “Offering various drinks and wine”
  • Silk (Hotel New Otani)
    – “A typical Japanese bar with about 50 seats”

Charlie’s, Mexican Wave, and (as far as I know) Pig and Whistle are still around. But I’m amazed this list does not include Frank’s Place. Also, was not Poachers open at that time?

Charlies: In business since the 1980s, this Jianguo Hotel bar once reigned as a hotspot for business deals

See also:
Disco fever Beijing:
Let’s party like its 1992
Flashback: Beijing’s hottest night spots 20 years ago
One of those days: Charlie’s Bar