Wangfujing Cathedral: So, I saw this couple dancing…

They’re walking the line.


On Thursday night, I found myself stuck in Wangfujing (no cabs) in a funk (bad week) after a wine tasting (bad idea during a bad week). I decided to visit the cathedral. When I first moved to Beijing, I stayed at an inn near this church for more than a month while I checked dozens of potential apartments. I spent some time hanging around Wangfujing, drinking coffee and reading newspapers, but Thursday night was the first time I had seen it this busy. There were hundreds of people line dancing. That provided a nice distraction. But what eventually drew my attention was a couple who showed up and, rather than follow everyone else, did their own thing. They were quite good with their twists and turns, free spins and dos-à-dos. And they provided a welcome contrast to that mechanical line dance behind.


They’re dancing with ourselves.

Sips & Bites: Dead Guy Draft at Grinders, new Blue Frog open, Beer Mania to be Wine Mania

Number 21 is still with us. (


Like it says, Dead Guy Draft at Grinders. This time our fantasy league focused on Sweden. I started off explosively with my first pick, Alfred Noble, then followed up with former UN Secretary General Dag Hammarskjöld and, in what was the surprise move of the day, Olof Skötkonung. (First-millennium son-of-Eric-the-Victorious Swedish royalty? Oh yeah, I went there.) After that, things fell apart. I was penalized for taking actor Dolph Lundgren and former NHL defensemen Borje Salming — apparently they are alive — and almost did the same with Hans Blix. Then I was penalized yet again when I confused director Ingmar Bergman and actress Ingrid Bergman, with a fellow player noting that the latter is “not a guy”.  I picked painter Isaac Hirsche Grünewald and Jacob Magnus Sprengtporten simply for their names and finished by grabbing — I couldn’t believe he was still left — Tetra Pak founder Ruben Rausing. Not the best, or worse, Dead Guy Draft I’ve been involved in although it pales to our New Zealand session where I managed to get explorer Edmund Hillary, Sinologist Rewi Alley, mathematician Alexander Aitken and runner Jack Lovelock with my first four moves.

By the way, you have no doubt realized that this is all bullshit and that the Dead Guy draft at Grinders refers to a tasty pale ale, the tap through which it will flow installed less than an hour ago. Owner Trevor Metz says the regular price of a pint will be rmb50 , while during happy hour it will drop to rmb35. I know how much this stuff costs to bring in and that is a fair price.

Also of note, the new Blue Frog at Chaoyangmen is open for business, says manager Greg Dover. It might take a week or two, however, before that two-for-one Monday burger deal starts.

And a new date has been set for an event that will see Beer Mania turn into Wine Mania. That event will feature 15 wines from distributor La Caumette, start from 6 PM on November 25, and will see The Beijing Beatles play at around 9:30 PM.

Halloween bashes in Beijing: The Subway Loop Party, and more

They’re gonna flock you up! (


Zimbu is exhausted after a week full of days spent manipulating the global currency markets and nights spent partying hard with those (still unemployed) Fuwa, thus Halloween might not be in the cards for the monkey this year. Not that there is a shortage of events. From tonight’s Yugong Yishan bash with Randy Able Stable, Not There and Christmas to the Yen Fetish party in 798, from Saturday’s Spooked party at Lantern to the 20rmb Sangria for the costumed at Enoterra, there is lots going on. Even new bar Real Wine on Workers Stadium West went all out on decorations. For dozens of parties, see these posts on The Beijinger and City Weekend.

One not listed there is the second annual Subway Loop Party on Saturday. This is a chance to share that Angry Birds, slutty nurse or Green Lantern costume — or even that Lady Gaga-inspired chuanr dress  — with the general public. The starting point: Dongzhimen Station, at the Xizhimen-bound end of Line 2, at 9 PM. From the invite:

You can join the party at any station on line 2. The Halloween party train will be traveling COUNTER-CLOCKWISE from Dongzhimen. The second stop on the party train is Yonghegong Lama Temple. Board through the LAST CAR of the train. After the party leaves Dongzhimen station, we don’t know how long we’ll stay on line 2. (Last year some of us stayed on the subway for two loops). But if you want to be at the party, try to be there on time…

Needless to say, this event is BYOB.

Photo bites: Dishes from Taverna, Flamme, Agua, Mao Mao Chong, Ssam

Photos of dishes recently eaten — except that ox bone one: The French Connection ordered it — in Beijing…

Ox bone, with bread and salt, is one of the starter options for the two-course lunch menu at La Taverna…
We ordered Coq au Vin as the main.
Chicken Waldorf sandwich, with salad and toasted bread, at Flamme. Good late afternoon snack ahead of happy hour.
Tuna and ‘tater at Agua, one of the mains options in the lunch menu at Agua. (Hat tip to Philip O)
Sample sausage roll and chicken Schniztel at Mao Mao Chong. This seems like something that should go on the menu, no?
Experimental snack tried while guzzling makkoli and dreaming of dukpukki at Ssam.

Sips & Bites: Charity brawls; booze and burlesque; meat pies

Beijing Hilton will focus on fists and food on November 19 when it holds its first “Black Tie Charity Brawl” in the hotel ballroom. Inside the ring: a series of mixed martial arts fights organized by Black Tiger Muay Thai. Outside the ring: a four-course meal paired with wine. Tickets range from rmb888 to rmb1288. For more info or to book seats, contact Emile Otte at or call 5865-5120. See poster below for details.

Expect booze with maybe a touch of burlesque, sort of, at Fubar on Thursday night as Lulu Galore of the Moonglow Burlesque show will lead a jazz trio from 10 PM. I’m no expert on jazz but I do know a bit about happy hours and Fubar has a half-price deal from 6 PM to 9 PM. Those planning to catch the show, and who do not have to get up early Friday, would do well to invest in a couple of those heavy-duty Long Island Iced Teas.

Mao Mao Chong will go from pizzas to pies for two nights. On October 31, the deal is a meat pie (the beef is stewed in a concoction that includes Worcestershire sauce, nutmeg, white wine and onion), mashed potatoes, white beans and relish for rmb65. You need to book your pie(s) a least four days in advance, which means a deadline of October 27 (email focus on November 14 will be veggie pies, with the same fixings, for rmb5o. On both nights, diners can add a Vedett beer for rmb25, a glass of Mountain Pass Shiraz for rmb30 or a house cocktail for rmb35.