Back to Beijing: New Year’s Eve

Last New Year’s Eve, I marked midnight with a glass of bubbly and a final smoke at Q Bar, the best stop of about a dozen that evening. This year, I’ll be fresh off a fourteen-hour flight and likely hopped up from mowing down the kilo of Licorice Allsorts my Mom gave me for Christmas. That makes me think of doing something a bit different to bring in 2011, perhaps sauntering over to Shuangjing or going off to Gulou or nipping into Nanluoguxiang and then spending some quality time in Sanlitun. We’ll see…

In any case, I wish a happy New Year’s Eve to all those who read this blog. Have fun, be safe, and if you haven’t decided what to do, check out these lists by The Beijinger and City Weekend. And if you plan to go the Yen Party in 798, the ever-thoughtful JG reminds me to remind you to get there early so you aren’t one of those people who shows up half an hour before midnight and ends up stuck in that massive  line during the countdown (two words: ankle flask).

First impresssions: Love The Loop

I spent about 20 minutes in recently opened The Loop in Shuangjing on Thursday and here is my first impression: love it.

I spotted the place as I wandered the streets and I wasn’t sure what to expect given the promotion made it sound like it would be everything from bar to cafe to club to film house to pool hall;  made it sound like it was trying to do too  many things. But it turns out the place does have the potential to be all that.

The Loop has an earthy feel (red brick walls, lots of woods, subdued lighting) and a clever design that divides the open space into seating (with a combination of soft wing chairs and high bar-style chairs), an area that can serve as dance floor or stage and is paired with a DJ booth, a pool table (this is in an elevated area which means players won’t be banging their pool cues into other people’s ribs), and a bar. It seems especially attractive for mid-sized events, from conferences to film screenings, and can seat about 70. The place is headed by BB Deng, well-known in DJ circles and previously involved with The Boat.

Anyway, I’ll be back for a longer visit and to try the food (which includes pizzas, sandwiches, and the like), the coffee and other beverages (to give some idea of the prices, a gin tonic is RMB30), and the wireless.

I’ll also have a post on other places visited last Thursday, including Grinders (the pulled pork sandwich is tasty; this place now has wireless), Lily’s, The Brick, ED Cafe, That Year Cafe, and 1639 Beer House.

Hold that Latte? U.S. Embassy warns re violence at Beijing bars, nightclubs

Just got off a plane, turned on my laptop, and saw a bunch of forwarded messages titled, “Taking Precautions At Beijing Bars And Nightclubs“. Here it is in full (hat tips to The Frank, niubi, Hart Attack, and Mr Hao):

Warden Message

December 17, 2010

Taking Precautions at Beijing Bars and Nightclubs

The U.S. Embassy has seen an increase in reports of violence against U.S. citizens at bars and nightclubs in Beijing. The most recent incidents began as disputes over small matters, such as spilled drinks or laughter that was taken as a gibe, and then developed into serious altercations resulting in injuries.

In recent weeks, the U.S. Embassy received several reports about the unprovoked harassment of U.S. citizens, including two incidents that occurred at the Club Latte nightclub on the property of Worker’s Stadium near the Sanlitun bar district. In light of these incidents, the U.S. Embassy has advised U.S. government personnel to avoid going to Club Latte. You should take this information into consideration when making entertainment plans.

In order to avoid becoming the victim of such an attack, please follow these safety tips:

- Pay attention to your surroundings. If you feel unsafe or believe that other bar/club patrons or staff wish you ill, leave. Don?t stick around on principle.
-When going to bars and clubs, go with other people. (The more, the merrier, the safer!)
-If you want to go to a new bar or club, learn about it first. English publications geared to the expatriate community may have information about recent criminal incidents.
-Carry a cell phone at all times.
-If you are the victim of a crime or you have been threatened, seek safety. Notify the nearest police station and call the U.S. Embassy at the emergency after-hours number given below.

The U.S. Embassy can be reached 24 hours per day. During business hours, call 86-10-8531-4000 or email amcitbeijing@state.gov. For emergencies after hours or on weekends, call 86-10-8531-3000. The Embassy is located near the Line 10 LiangMaQiao subway stop at 55 An Jia Lou Road, Chaoyang District. The Embassy?s website is beijing.usembassy-china.org.cn.

If you are residing or traveling in China we recommend that you enroll with the U.S. Embassy’s Smart Traveler Enrollment Program at: https://travelregistration.state.gov. You should also regularly monitor the Department?s Bureau of Consular Affairs Internet website at http://travel.state.gov while living or travelling abroad.

Um, did something change at Latte because I have never had a problem there, although admittedly I haven’t been there for some time. Anyway, caution is the word.

Need to catch a connection but will post more…

Le Petit Gourmand relaunch tonight with No Name Trio, mulled wine

Le Petit Gourmand will officially reopen in Tongli Studio tonight at 8 PM with mulled wine and a performance by No Name Trio. This place, now managed by Alexis Tresor, used to rank among my favorite spots for laptop work and I dropped in over the weekend to see how it changed. Things are looking good:

  1. Windows have been added along the west side and provide some needed natural light.
  2. The place feels more spacious given that some of the bookshelves in the center of the room have been removed and an open kitchen and a bar area called Le Zinc added.
  3. There are lots of large faux leather wing chairs as well as booth-style areas along the walls and these will be good for reading, surfing the net, or chatting with friends.
  4. The sandwiches and those tasty fries made it on to the new menu though they are a bit pricier. <– Actually, the old price was RMB48.  Don’t know what I was thinking. My mistake.
  5. Coffee starts from a reasonable RMB18.
  6. The wood-burning stove remains out back.

Perhaps most importantly, especially for those who don’t like to wear earphones and do like their sanity, Tresor says he plans to have a diverse play list. (I hope that means an end to the days of hearing that freaking My Way compilation album over and over and over again.)

Official opening: 8 PM tonight with mulled wine and No Name Trio…

Kiwi surprise: Pavillion to soon reopen as Solidaz

I’ve bumped into Russell Probert of the Pavillion a couple of times in the past week and he says the temporarily closed place will reopen on December 22 as Solidaz, the name of the New Zealand band he is teaming up with as the place shifts to a greater focus on live music. Word is Probert spent a near-fortune on the sound system. Look for a grand opening on New Year’s eve.

The Pavillion has long been known for its superb patio and perhaps this move will help fulfill its potential as a late-night destination. As for Solidaz, according to the band’s Facebook page, it “first went abroad in 1997 to Beijing China.. [and] have been playing around the world since.”