Top five watering holes: Shane Crombie

Shane Crombie is a digital brand strategist, organizer of the ‘First Thursday‘ monthly ad industry event, and regular contributor to Here are his top five watering holes and his five suggestions for restaurant and bar owners on how to improve their offerings in a weakened economy. First, his five suggestions.


top-five-watering-holes-beijing-shane-crombie1) Distill down and define in one short sentence what your brand stands for and then ask , ‘So, what makes us so special?” If you draw a blank, ask your customers.

2) Price promotions are popular right now. Create an offer that sounds almost too good to be true for maximum impact. Remember the formula: Quality ~ Price = Value

3) Invest in proper staff training and management and treat them like family. Bad service always ruins a good meal and good staff are made not born

4) Pay attention to what your patrons say about you online. Look for trends and gaps and act on them.

5) Those small magazine ads are not cost effective. Connect with your audience online when they’re really paying attention.

The bottom line is get online, keep it simple, and execute flawlessly, and you will prosper.

My top five places:

Ichikura: You cant just go to Ichikura the first time, a friend must take you there. Why? Because watching a master craftsman at work is a sight to behold in good company. Learn about the copper cup, ponder how they make those perfectly formed ice balls, and enjoy the best Moscow Mule in Beijing.

Tun & Nanjie: An oft-asked question around town is, ‘Why is Tun so popular’? Its simple. They give the people what they want: fun music, a very well-run bar and low prices. Its where east meets west in the city. And when I’m about done with the hot hits of the eighties, I head across the car park to Nanjie and some groovin house tunes.

Face: For important occasions, Face is bulletproof. It’s a magnificently designed environment with multiple Asian menus and a generous lounge area to while away the after hours. You’ll never get fired for making a reservation here.

Bed: After a dimly lit dinner at Sambal, Bed is the perfect place to enjoy the city’s best caprioska. It’s an ambient, subtly restored space hidden down an alleyway offering an original interpretation of a classic theme. That’s Beijing.

Element Fresh: They play the best down-tempo music in town, the brewed coffee is rocket fuel, the fruit plate tastes like real fruit, and the pancakes are done just right. What am I getting at? Beijings best weekend recovery session. Just be sure to get there early when its peaceful.

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