R Lounge: From Key Largo to killer wine deals

"You lookin' at me, kid?"


Went to D Bar (map), soon to officially relaunch as R Lounge, in the Renaissance Hotel Shuangjing last night after buddy Chuckles McFlint told me not only about a “buy two glasses of wine, get the rest of the bottle free” deal but also that Bertie Higgins, known in Asia for his song Casablanca (“A kiss is still a kiss”) and stateside for Key Largo (“Here’s looking at you, kid”), is playing there. Ten points…

  • The wine deal is only on Friday and Saturday nights. And the deal is indeed buy two glasses and get the rest of the bottle for free on a select list of wines.
  • Happy hour is from 6 PM to 9 PM, with standard drinks, beer, wine, and cocktails at half price. Beers start at RMB40, most cocktails are RMB60. There is no service charge. The wine list is modest but you can order from Fratelli’s much bigger list downstairs until 11 PM.
  • I tried the Dutch Martini, with Absolute Blue, Bokma Oude Jenever (full-flavored Dutch gin), Grand Marnier, and Noilly Prat vermouth (RMB60). Quality ingredients, a generous pour, though a bit sweet for me.
  • Wednesday is ladies night, with free cocktails for the fairer sex.
  • Bertie Higgins—he of Key Largo and Casablanca fame—will play until March 12. Last night, he played with keyboardist Mark Halisky, though there is usually a six-piece band, and there was plenty of good-natured banter. And yep, he played both of his hits as well as Jamaican Me Crazy and a Gordon Lightfoot tune. I’m going back to hear him play with the full band.
  • A singer named Juliana performed between sets, including the song Buy Me Chocolate, with lyrics such as “Africa chocolate!” and “yummy yummy!”. Gotta admit, that performance kind of threw us and didn’t fit the whole Key Largo vibe. You can make up your own mind: the video is here.
  • Starting February 23, the Jackson Twins–you might remember them from LAN–will also play. The idea is a short set from The Jacksons, two sets from Higgins, and then two more sets with the Jackson Twins.
  • R Lounge have its official opening March 4 and March 5. It is open Wednesday to Sunday until then and Tuesday to Sunday after that.
  • “We haven’t played that song since Moby Dick was a guppy.” Yeah, that’s an oldie, but it made me laugh. So did the idea of a song called, “How the Fuck Can I Miss You If You Won’t Leave.”
  • And if you are ever in Atlanta, Bertie Higgins recommends stopping by Sloppy Joe’s for Red Stripe beer and conch fritters. Hope you appreciate Bertie acting as your head of China marketing, Sloppy Joe’s…
  • They have a Dutch martini with Absolute Blue, Bokma Oude Jenever (full-flavored Dutch gin), Grand Marnier, and Noilly Prat vermouth (RMB60)…

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