Update: The full press release re ownership changes at Q Bar — I have yet to talk to George Zhou about the situation (by the way, I popped in to Q last night and it looked like business as usual — I tried an Alfonso Special, a Dirty Martini, and a GE, all of them good):
Q Bar announces ownership restructure.
Beijing’s leading cocktail lounge, Q Bar announces today a restructuring of its ownership. Since opening at the top of the Eastern Inn in Sanlitun South Street in 2006, Q Bar has established a solid reputation as one of Beijing’s best nightspots with its imaginitive drinks menu, bar food and a spectacular rooftop terrace. Ralph Ziegenhorn and Echo Sun, two of the original partners at Q Bar have now taken over the share of George Zhou, the third original partner. The move is an amicable parting of the ways based on differing views of the future of the company and the partners’ management styles, and marks Ralph and Echo’s commitment to the ongoing development of the Q Bar brand and offering.
The two partners assure loyal patrons that it will be business as usual at Q Bar; we will continue to serve the same imaginative, high quality drinks and bar food to a soundtrack of hip lounge music including funk and electronica, and with the summer fast approaching, Q Bar’s extraordinary roof terrace will soon be coming into its own as the premier outdoor lounge space in Beijing. Details of our forthcoming events and ongoing developments will be available online at www.qbarbeijing.com
The months-long disharmony among the owners of Q Bar has been painful for their long-time friends and customers, but a deal has now been reached that will see partners Ralph Ziegenhorn and Echo Sun buy the share of partner George Zhou, says Ziegenhorn. [Clarification: In case my initial post was unclear, the deal is signed and the funds made available to Zhou, says Ziegenhorn.] He adds that Q Bar will issue a press release in a few hours.
My earliest experiences in the Beijing bar scene involved Sun and Zhou, when they were fledgling bartenders at cozy First Cafe–run by Keiko Shirata and Roger Houng in a building that once stood behind The Rickshaw–just over five years ago. They had just started making the martinis that would propel them to fame. I remember spending many a night enjoying the cocktails as well as helping them remove their belongings from their second venture, Midnight, after friction with the landlord, getting together in my apartment with them for whiskey tasting or cocktail making sessions, my first and only Beijing bartending gig when Echo and I tended bar at a party, checking out potential venues with them, spending at least part of nearly every New Year’s Eve at their bar, and… well, the list goes on. It will strange to no longer see them on the same team.
A photo essay from those early First Cafe days…