Ich bin ein Saluder: The “mayors” of Beijing make 28 motions

Ich bin ein Saluder...

If you are among the small but growing number of people using foursquare.com in Beijing, you know that the basic idea is to “check in” to bars and restaurants to let people on your “friends” list know where you are. Thinking of going to Mao Mao Chong? Maybe knowing three friends are there might help to make up your mind. On top of this, the person who checks in the most times at a given spot is deemed to be its foursquare “mayor”.

This is irrelevant to most bars and restaurants because, at this early stage, they do not know what foursquare is about. But what if they did? What if we lived in a  world of lollipop smiles and rainbow hugs, and they not only knew about foursquare, but they cared. In that case, since I am the mayor of 28 places, I would make the following motions that…

  • Aperitivo discover iTunes and stop repeatedly playing those free Suzie Wong CDs;
  • Apothecary drop its 5 percent service charge and, if it wants to reward its employees, simply give them a cut of revenue even if it means raising prices;
  • Blue Frog do something to “lighten up” the fries — maybe it is just me, but I find them a bit heavy;
  • Cafe Europa fix its wireless system — good food, good wine, but if I want to get online, this place becomes a no-go;
  • D Lounge bury that glass-enclosed skeletal “art” — I don’t want to look at exposed eyeballs while sipping an olive-garnished martini;
  • Dalyan Turkish Restaurant consider whether one belly dancer is really enough;
  • Danger Doyle’s drop its prices on bottled Aussie beer by at least half — not a good business model to charge RMB65 for a VB when I can get one for RMB25 at a bar 100 meters away;
  • Double Coffee Sanlitun, well, this place is closed, so let it rest in peace;
  • Grandmas Kitchen in SOHO install a decibel meter that goes off when the sometimes noisy kitchen staff hits a certain volume;
  • Hao Shi Lai Bakery make more items that do not include meat floss or sausage-looking substances;
  • Ibn Battouta Moroccan Restaurant get some beer from the homeland — I hear Dxcel will soon start to import a Moroccan brew;
  • Le Petit Gourmand increase its temperature, even if that means getting some oil drums and starting fires in them, because it’s bloody cold in this place.
  • Le Zazou put proper pours in its mixed drinks;
  • Luga’s Villa spruce up its toilets;
  • McDonald’s Sanlitun Village tape the biligual menus to the counter so I can think about what I want to order while I’m in line and thus save time for everyone;
  • Olas de Mare fix its wireless sytem — “use Cold Stone’s” is not a long-term solution;
  • Q Bar drop the price of its martinis and margaritas to RMB50 — yes, two-for-one martini Wednesday is nice but it would be nice to have something to look forward to on any given day;
  • Salud Sanlitun add coat hooks below the bar lip;
  • SPR Coffee on Sanlitun South start selling sandwiches;
  • Stadium Dog pull the weenies off the cooker when they get dehydrated enough to look like chew toys;
  • Starbucks at Sanlitun Village, well, actually I meant to check in at The Village;
  • The Bookworm taser any patron who holds long loud phone conversations or cranks laptop volume while watching a video;
  • The Den never ever try to charge separately for gin and for tonic when someone orders a gin AND tonic;
  • Time Cafe opens a branch in Sanlitun;
  • Tour Les Jours changes the Korean music video rotation more frequently;
  • Tun also spruce up its toilets;
  • Union Bar and Grille open earlier next year for Monday Night Football games;
  • Vineyard Wine Experience have a wine fair of all the grape varieties they have available.

Twilight cocktail bar: 360 degrees of drinking pleasure


What makes a strong drink at Twilight so appealing is that you truly need one after navigating that SNAFU known as Jianwai Soho to get there. The continued lack of prominent signage at Chez Legoland amazes me, especially since the powers-that-be decided it smart to have a villa number 5 and a building number five — the bar is in the former. But take it from me:  forget finding a method to this madness and instead look for the Jenny Lou’s. Twilight is directly across from it, on the third floor.

Twilight encircles a stairwell and provides 360 degrees of drinking space with eight small tables, a bar that seats ten, and a private room. The decor is done in chocolate and off-white, giving it a pleasant subdued vibe —  it is brighter than spots such as Glen and Ichikura, dimmer than Apothecary.

I had a Smoky Martini which includes absinthe and single malt (Laphroig, I believe), and an olive stuffed with anchovies, Italian sausage, onions, and spices that had been stir-fried and then marinated in herb-infused brine — fancy stuff. This potent drink has an aroma of smoke and iodine, so much so it should come with a bandage as garnish (drum roll). I liked it.

I next tried a Saigon Mistress, a cocktail that includes Hendrick’s gin, green Chartreuse, ginger ale, and cucumber. My notes say, “refreshingly herbal” and “tastes like green,” and that Mr Hao said, “smells summer-y.” Frankly, I think I was still feeling that Smoky Martini.

Mr Hao and Ms Hao gave thumbs ups to the Sazerac, Apricot Old-Fashioned, and other drinks they tried.

Most of the drinks cost RMB60, though it is RMB20 off during happy hour, from 6 PM and 8 PM. And unlike some cocktail joints in town, there is neither service charge nor sitdown fee. Given the difficulty of getting a taxi immediately after work in Jianwai Soho, this is a decent option to relieve a long day of stress.

By the way, Twilight has eight kinds of pizza, including one with potato, at ~RMB60, and about a half-dozen bar snacks. The figs with whisky syrup and Camembert (RMB30) are a rich treat, though I wonder if a more pungent cheese might work better.

Twilight is open 11:30 AM to 2 PM and 6 PM to 2 AM daily, except for Sunday.