The Rickshaw closes: And the reality TV show continues…

Sorry Rickshaw will shut the doors today at 5:00 pm.
We will gladly continue giving service in the Saddle Cantina and Side Saddle…

- Sign on The Rickshaw today


It looks like The Rickshaw might have deep-fried its last wing and mixed its last Margarita, at least in the present spot, given a sign posted there today and comments by management the lease will not be renewed. The end comes suddenly, with no farewell party, so perhaps there is a chance things might as quickly turn around. Then again, the farewell party for the forerunner of this bar, The Saddle, did not turn out to be a pleasant affair. Management has cited the possibility of opening The Rickshaw elsewhere — the lower level of The Saddle Cantina seems like a good fit. Again, this is rather sudden — let’s see what happens.

The Rickshaw opened just under three years ago and quickly drew a strong following due to its 24-hour service, tasty wings and Tex-Mex fare, focus on televised sports, loyal following from previous spots The Saddle and Cox, and side patio that featured beer pong and general rabble-rousing. It drew a diverse clientele, from sports fans to people migrating along the Sanlitun bar route to people in the food and beverage sector – I remember many a Sunday when half the tables were full of people who work at bars, restaurants, wine companies, and hotels, and enjoyed the earthy atmosphere. The past two years have been rougher, given growing competition in the area, forced closure of the patio, and constant staff changes.

In its early days, The Rickshaw also featured three of the city’s more interesting bar charactersKris Ryan, Luga, and Chad Lager. Their divergent personalities and background made me suggest the place would be great for a reality TV show.

Since those days, there have been some hard feelings among the three as each went his own way. Ryan and his partners opened The Saddle Cantina, The Side Saddle, and a cafe in the Volkswagen building; Luga wiggled the original Saddle away and called it Luga’s, opened Luga’s Villa, Pho Pho, and Baan Thai (these latter two venues will swap spaces as of tomorrow) and a Mexican restaurant that failed, and is set to open another spot in the Luga’s Villa building; and Lager went on to first work at Tun and now Fubar. This trio has had a good deal of influence over the Sanlitun bar scene during the past three years.

As for what will happen to The Rickshaw space, which in a previous life was home to Midnight Bar, the first spot run by George Zhou and Echo Sun of Q Bar fame, well, maybe the reality show has a few episodes left in it…


See also:

Hard to believe this was less than three years ago...

4 thoughts on “The Rickshaw closes: And the reality TV show continues…”

  1. Pingback: Poetry in Sanlitun
  2. wow.. looks like there’s been a lot of changes in the beijing bar scene.. i wonder if i’ll going to recognize it at all by the time i get back for a visit!

  3. Wow! I’m not surprised, though.

    None of my friends have mentioned they were “going for drinks at The Rickshaw” since early 2008.

    Do you remember how PACKED THAT PLACE WAS IN 2007?

    Their patio was super-hot in the summer of 2007.

    That whole area had energy e.g. Browns

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