Top Five Watering Holes: Ben Shaw

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In part eleven of this series, Ben Shaw, who manages a start-up in Beijing and runs the Beijing Gourmand blog, lists his top five places to drink in the city. His blog’s Chinese name translates as “Taotie in Beijing“, with taotie being a mythical Chinese demon that devoured its own body.

Entero
I always look forward to the 29th of every month. That’s when Entero invites a Japanese butcher to serve Beijing’s tenderest steaks. The steak set comes with a side of bean sprouts, miso soup and rice, and at only 50 RMB is a great deal. The best part about the steak is that the second and third helpings get progressively tastier.

Entero has a decent, if not expansive, selection of single malts, both Scottish and Japanese, as well as bourbon and cocktails. The atmosphere is laid-back and it is one of the few places where it is comfortable to sit at the bar for long stretches of time. Entero will score well with music lovers with the option of watching videos of blues and jazz legends in the main bar, or heading into the private karaoke room to make some music of your own.

Ichikura
One of the classiest places in Beijing; going to Ichikura always makes me feel sexy. Others have already covered Ichikura pretty well, so I’ll just say that they have a great single malt selection and know the meaning of service.

G-zou
There are now several whisky bars in Beijing, but I think G-zou is the only place focusing exclusively on shochu, a Japanese spirit. The fun thing about shochu is that it can be made from nearly anything, barley, potatoes, sweet potatoes, sourgham, rice, or a combination of any of these. The flavors range from those similar to vodka, baijiu, or even tequila.

I think of G-zou as the yang to Ichikura’s yin; its also a small bar, but it’s very light and airy. The bartenders are friendly, and always remember your preferences, or remember which shochu you’ve already tried so they can recommend something new.

Lugar
Lugar is an excellent choice for a romantic night out. It has a unique single malt selection, great cocktails, awesome tapas, and the pool table is always free. It distinguishes itself from the rest of the Gulou/Nanluoguxiang joints by avoiding the whole bohemian thing. In the summer you can sit on the roof under their giant umbrellas and sip cocktails.

Tun
I don’t often go to places that get really crowded, but if I’m in the mood for a lively atmosphere then I’ll head to Tun, particularly for the Friday ladies night. Tun has a good selection of American microbrews, and it is nice to drink beer that you can actually taste.

Top fives:

    4 thoughts on “Top Five Watering Holes: Ben Shaw”

    1. tun has a “good selection of American microbrews”? i think they only carry the brooklyn IPA and maybe another. chad himself told me he just kept one or two of the ACBP brews for variety, since after all, they’re not a “bar for beer connoisseurs” (direct quote), which i of course can’t fault him for.

    2. @xy: It’s all relative. In Beijing, having a comparatively good selection of American microbrews is easy to achieve. Granted, places like Kro’s and Tim’s Texas BBQ have a few more of the ACBP brews to choose from, but I don’t know of any where that has an extensive selection.

    3. It is in a converted ground floor apartment on the far east side of Yangguan 100 (Sunshine 100), right across from Oriental Taipan Spa. There isn’t really a visible sign, but just go through the gate and up the stone path.

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