Is it just me or does every third person in a Beijing bar describe themselves as a DJ? Based on personal estimates, that’s a major increase from one in six in 2008, one in ten in 2007, and a meager one in 20 just three years ago.
Global warming, economic crises, or a planet-shattering meteor strike might be the least of our worries if this trend continues. Instead, when the DJ to patron ratio reaches 1 to 1 – or, for a more visual explanation, when the pink dot meets the blue dot on the graph above – it could launch a chain reaction of catastrophic consequences (think the scary parts of The Bible, or the Y2K bug, but with house music). The pressing question: By the time anyone decides to do anything about the situation, will it be – as the BBC might put it – too little, too late?
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D-Bar in the Renaissance Beijing Capital Hotel is featuring RMB12 bottles of Guiness, Corona, and Carlsberg at the moment. The Beijinger will hold a party there this Friday, from 7:30 to 11 PM, to make a dent in the stock. D-Bar is near Fulicheng (61 Dongsanhuan Middle Road / 中国北京市东三环中路61号 邮编).
The Rickshaw is holding 10 Mao Wing Mondays. Here’s a chance to exchange your coins and small notes for something tasty (I’m partial to the medium sauce). The Rickshaw also continues with its Lord of the Wings competition.
Finally, for Aussies looking for a cozy spot to celebrate the one-month anniversary of their national day, Nanluguoxiang bar 12sqm will have RMB15 Coopers today from 5 PM to midnight.
This is part four in the Give a Crap Report series, which covers what would happen in the bar scene if only people listened to me, me me! (Previous reports listed at bottom.)
25. TUN would replace the highly wound springs on the swinging doors leading to the restrooms and thus reduce the number of cracked knuckles, bruised forearms and broken ribs as well as, for short people, bloody noses and, for tall people, “lower body injuries.”
26. Whiskey bar Er, which lacks its own toilet, would hire someone to clean the shared facilities patrons must use on the other side of the building’s lobby. The service, bourbon, and atmosphere are good at this place, but I would rather not see or, worse, slip on someone’s, um, processed spirits.
27. This is a long shot: Hex in the Legation Quarter would become the part of the set for a reality show in which people dress up like bees. That honeycomb look would make for the perfect bar and the actors could drop lines like “your hive or mine?” and “you are as sweet as honey.” (Before anyone out there writes that a hive only has one female, let me preempt them and point out that in my world bees are free to be gay.)
28. Back to the serious stuff: Stadium sports bar (happy hour currently includes two cans of Beamish for RMB30) would put an English-language sign on its door, which is wired shut, to let patrons know they must reach the place via Drei Kronen 1308.
29. And Stadium would have no charge for peanuts.
30. A bar would regularly show NHL games and especially Hockey Night in Canada, which is on Saturdays and thus perfectly timed for a Sunday morning breakfast crowd in Beijing. Why can I find ten places to doze off while watching F1 and not a single spot to see the sweet art of elbowing? <– I wrote this before learning the Goose and Duck is showing games. Consider this one crossed off.
31. I have seen that “perfection takes patience” motto on the wall, but Crobar would nevertheless take down its “opening soon” sign until it is within one month of doing so. (I hear the place might open in June.)
32. All-Star would not charge RMB24 for toast – two slices, cut in half, with a pat of butter – unless it came with a complete breakfast. They would also stop sending mobile phone spam to people who did volunteer to receive it.
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Save your time. For some reason, my normally reliable spam filter is not working and thus my comments box is being flooded with about 1,000 junk messages per day (hmm, I wonder if one of them is about blocking spam?). It looks like I’ll have to dump the lot, so apologies to those who have taken the time to submit a comment.I hope to have the system working by tomorrow afternoon.
The economic crisis seems to have hit the Lotus Lane lady bar touts in Houhai. How else to explain that as I walked from Starbuck’s to La Baie des Anges a mere 14 people approached me with the “Sir, lady bar. Looka looka. Beautiful girls” spiel. On an annoyance scale of 1 to 10, with 10 being highly annoying, this place has dropped from a 14 to a 12.
Anyway, despite upbeat Latin bands, patrons were few and far between both at Buffalo and Alpha Omega, while Sex and Da City featured a pole dancer, on a mission against rhythm, as about a dozen patrons crowded around the bar and slurped their bars. On to the places visited:
La Baie des Anges: A cozy spot with comfortable bench seating, room for a half-dozen patrons at the bar, music at a volume that makes conversation easy, and some decent wines by the glass (divided on this night into “balanced and silky” and “fresh and fruity”). Rare are wine bars in Beijing that have survived two yearsand draw a crowd, and I will soon post a talk with co-owner Olivier Six about how he has managed to do this.
Shut Up, Just Drink (Huxley’s): After circling the entire lake in search of Obiwan, we ended up here. This place is smokier than the lungs of a two-pack-a-day Zhongnanhai puffer who has just taken a massive drag. But you feel it (stinging eyes) rather than see it because the combined strength of the half-dozen or so lights is about 100 watts (rough estimate). Still, I like the earthy atmosphere, that white-plastered sloped ceiling, the cheap beer, and the likelihood of running into a character or two.
Obiwan: With directions obtained at Huxley’s, we took a taxi here. It reminded me a bit of the old 5:19 bar: three stories, a grungy feel, a bare cement rooftop with a view of the water (though the pond behind Super Bar Street was an eyesore), and a few cheesy touches (tinsel on the staircases), though it is much larger and thus lacked that Wayne’s World recreation room feel. This night featured a German party downstairs, so we headed upstairs for a drink and found Tsingtao at RMB15, other beers at RMB25 and up, soup of the day at RMB20, and one woman violently heaving in the toilet. That rooftop will be nice in the summer and Obiwan seems like a good event space, though a map is essential.
The Boat: The DJ to patron ratio stood at about 2.5 to 1 when we arrived at 3 AM, but a stream of late night party people, incluing a strong Russian contingent, came in as the hours whiled away. One of the co-owners seemed annoyed that the draw of me was the buy two, get one free Stella, rather than the DJs. What can I say, I didn’t have a cultured upbringing. Nevertheless, this is a creative space, which includes the men’s toilet and its view of the river through the portholes.
A Somewhat Steady China Hand on the Local Bar Scene