G’day mates, it’s nearly that day on the calender when those hailing from The Land Down Under jump in the yute, head to the outback, put a shrimp prawn on the barbie, sink a few tinnies, and have a chinwag — and, yes, I’m letting loose with my antipodean vocabulary because that’s the kind of sensitivity Canadians are all aboot, eh?
Australia’s national day is tomorrow, January 26, and one way to celebrate is with a mini pub crawl to three Aussie-run spots within a boomerang’s throw of each other in the Nanluoguxiang area — a tour I undertook last Friday night with Mr Hao and Ms Hao.
Ned’s: Now that 12sqm has expanded, this might rank as the smallest, or at least the smallest Australian-run, joint on the street. The place can get as crowded as a bunch of kangaroos loose in the top paddock — hope I’m using that term right — and there is a decent selection of bevvies. The lads plan to be open from noon, with happy hour prices all day, meat pies, the Pakistan-Australia test match, and the top 100 song countdown on Triple J.
The relaunched 12sqm now comes in a larger format for extra comfort and comradeship. The place has more than tripled in size by expanding into the back of the building thus making possible a three-sided bar and more lounge seating. For Australia Day, 12sqm not only has RMB15 bottles of Aussie brews, including Coopers, but also meat pies, vegemite on toast, Aussie tunes, and Bundaberg Rum — ask for a “Bundy and Coke.” Ms Hao enjoyed her White Russian here.
Mao Mao Chong is about 200 meters down the alley that is beside Pass By Bar. If you reach the public toilet and think you have gone too far: 1) you are only about halfway there; and 2) don’t use it because Mao Mao Chong has superior facilities, though like many other places there is a “no poo” rule.
This new bar impressed us due to the art created by one of the owners, friendliness of the managers, creativity behind the cocktails, and prices — Tsingtao is RMB13, Tiger is RMB16, and Sam Adams is RMB25, while sodas are RMB10 and mixed drinks start at RMB20. There is an intriguing winter menu with cool sounding drinks such as French Toast — Advocaat, rum, warm milk, cinnamon, and honey — at RMB30 to RMB35, and a regular cocktail list with creative concoctions such as Feng Shui — oolong-tea infused vodka, lychee liqueur, sake, lime, and sugar cane stick (this might be even better with slightly less liqueur).
Mao Mao Chong features its own infused vodkas, among other DIY items, with flavors such as ginger, lemongrass, and rooibos, a plant grown in South Africa and apparently a member of the legume family — Mr Hao described that one as “smooth and with a subtle tea-like flavor.” We were told to expect pizza on the menu the next time we visited. For national day, Mao Mao Chong will have James Boag’s, Redbuck, and VB, as well as its own stock of Bundy.
If you are looking for other ways to celebrate Australia’s national day, you might consider dropping into The Den, which offers the lowest regular price (RMB25) on a handful of Aussie beers (Crown, Cascade, et al), heading to Astral restaurant in the Tangla Hotel for a bite of emu, kangaroo, or crocodile, or ordering some beers from Dxcel or some wines from Aussie-run importers such as Gelipu or The Wine Republic — perhaps someone can find the perfect pairing for Tim Tams.