Word is that the strip of bars that includes Shooters, Butterfly, and Kai Club will bite the dust in the next few months and that the facing strip that includes Fish Nation, Smugglers, and The Door might meet the same fate. (No word if Oyo House is included but it deserves to be until the staff learns to add that vinegary salad as a side dish and not beside the eggs on the breakfast plate.) Anyway, a source at Kai told me the place would move to the former Bananafish space in Tongli Studio in April. I’m not sure about the other spots but the basement of Luga’s Villa might work for a spot like Shooters given the failure of higher-end venues there.
Meanwhile, Pure Girl has opened in Tongli Studio in the former Bambu BBQ space. You might be wondering, “Hey, isn’t there already a Pure Girl across from Tongli?” Yes, there is, but apparently this new Pure Girl is by the guys who did the original Pure Girl, and even includes the words “Pure Girl No. 1” on the menu, whereas the one across the street is not. (Are we heading for a Club China Doll versus China Doll 3.3 kind of showdown here?) Expect a dark and dive-y vibe, Tsingtao at RMB10 (guys, turn the temperature of the fridge down), cocktails at RMB15, and the fanciest toilets of any Pure Girl ever–the six units that served Bananafish and Bambu. (For more on the Pure Girl legacy, see The Olympics are officially over: Pure Girl is back).
Also in Tongli, look for Bar Blu to introduce a full food menu, including pizzas, burgers, and wings, and to expand its range of beers in coming months, says manager Tate. I finally visited the second floor of this refurbished place and what a contrast it presents to the lower level, which includes a dancing pole, plenty of glow, and a four-sided bar that takes up far too much space. The decor upstairs is earthy and includes orange brick walls, a wood ceiling, a bar that includes cork facings, and red plush chairs. There is space for about 40 people, including a dozen at the bar. With the pool table, it has a bit of a Rickshaw feel; with the stage, live music is now an option; with the new rooftop deck, it will offer excellent views come spring. Even better, word is that there will be a separate entrance to this floor.
Finally, to return to the Kai Club story, some of you might be saying, “Yeah, yeah, yeah, we already read the same news by Iain Shaw here on The Beijinger website today.” Here’s the thing, I visited Kai Club et al with Shaw last night but I drank beer while he drank soda water. Hence, he arrived home refreshed, typed up his story (no doubt while working through a bottle of Scottish Collie whiskey and Diet Coke), and posted first. Such underhandedness never would have happened if the magazine’s founder Mike Wester were still alive. (Wait, he is?) Anyway, I hope Shaw realizes that is the last can of Blox I will ever buy him.