Beijing-based importer and distributor The Wine Republic, which has about ~300 wines from ~50 producers in its portfolio, is teaming up with Just Beer in Shanghai to handle four Australian brews in our fair city. All four are from Carlton United Breweries:
I wrote earlier this week about the four-year-old ginseng-infused soju at Saveurs de Coree in Ju’er Hutong and promised a follow-up on a planned Korean food and cocktail event at the sibling restaurant in nearby Xiang’er Hutong. Here it is:
The booze / bibimbap / barbecue deal goes down next Tuesday, April 3, from 6:30 PM to 11: 30 PM.
For RMB69, you get a choice of bibimbap or pear-juice marinaded beef strips, both with side dishes, and one Korea-themed cocktail. (The regular price is RMB88 to RMB108, depending on the cocktail.)
Stephanie Rocard of Mao Mao Chong will be on hand to make the drinks, which include the Cinn City, the Kimjito, the Ginseng Tonic and the Soju Collins. Additional cocktails are RMB25, as is Cass beer, while barley tea vodkashots are RMB10.
This is a good chance to try some interesting food and drink combinations at a reasonable price. (Note: the kitchen closes at 10:15 PM.)
The Big Easy was a big rambling ol’ two-floor joint at Chaoyang Park South, with live blues, tasty Bloody Marys and an outdoor bar out back. The Little Easy, to soon open on that neon-laden, big beer brand-sign adorned, lady bar tout-strolling Sanlitun Bar strip, might not be quite as ambitious but aims to bring a bit of New Orleans to our fair city.
The Little Easy is directly across from Sanlitun Village South, two doors north of Swing. On this strip, that is ideal positioning, as Swing is among the few (only?) bars that draws a regular Beijing crowd. Perhaps they can team up and help upgrade that entire area.
Anyway, when I walked by last night, I saw furniture being moved into the two-floor venue and signs on the door door saying it will open March 30, tonight. Ignore those signs.
Chad Lager, known from Fubar, Tun and The Rickshaw, is consulting on the project and says the soft opening will be on Monday. Look for an official launch on April 13..
About the time of the Olympics, a two-floor sports bar called Stadium — now known as Danger Doyle’s — opened on Workers Stadium East. It was part of a trio of related establishments in the China View complex. A second part was the three-floor German brew house and restaurant Drei Kronen 1308 next door. A third was the massive short-lived Klubb Rouge on the twenty-ninth floor. Four years later, Klubb Rouge is now V+ Lounge, DK 1308 looks like it is doing okay and Danger Doyle’s is about to … close and reopen in a few weeks as a German restaurant?
Word is that as early as tonight, Danger Doyle’s is finished. That is a shame because this bar’s hardware – design, equipment, rooftop – is very good. Then again, the issue isn’t the hardware or even the sports bar theme, in my opinion, but the revolving door of managers and the poor marketing. Anyway, I live close to this place and would prefer a good bar to an extension of DK 1308. In case it is not too late, and that anyone in power cares what a blogger thinks, here is one alternative…
Draw on the strength of DK 1308: The beer here is made in the basement by a brew master from Munich. Not exactly a common situation in Beijing.
Why not extend that brew house / draft theme to the bar? It has ten taps downstairs and, I believe, four tapsupstairs. Dedicate some to local craft outfits Slow Boat and (when it gets its license) Great Leap, or others that pop up. Use the rest for a mix of interesting labels such as Dead Guy, BrewDog, Maredsous and Chimay and more common ones such as Guinness or Murphy’s, Stella or Vedett, Beijing, and so on. That would be an impressive craft / draft lineup in a city where such beers are catching on and would make the place stand out.
Yes, I realize an immediate concern is the risk of draft beer going unsold and thus stale. But there are ways to deal with this via timely discounts. Would I stop by for a pint and see if the remainder of a Dead Guy or BrewDog keg were on sale that day? Yes. Would I follow a Weibo account that lets me know about such deals? Yes, again. Plus, going the draft bar route would require little investment compared to redesigning as a restaurant.
Anyway, it’s just an idea…
(Another one: change the name. Given the place is across from Workers Stadium, home of a local football team with a strong fan base., maybe the original name wasn’t so bad. Or maybe it can do a twist on its neighbor, DK 1308, and go by Draft King 2008. I don’t know, but something should be done here)
Three things regularly amaze me about King-Tai Chow of Saveurs de Coree: 1) he and partner Eunjung Yoo serve consistently good Korean food, no easy feat as they have to hustle between two restaurants, 2) he has not reported anyone crashing through those glass dividers inside, and 3) he continually mentions things that make me think, “WE NEED TO KNOW ABOUT THIS!“
In regard to point three, last night he showed me a huge glass container of ginseng-infused soju. That might not seem like a big deal except the ginseng has been in there since November of 2007!
That means Chow infused it when Nanluoguxiang was still an up-and-coming area, with perhaps a dozen key spots such as Salud, Plastered, Xiao Xin’s and Sandglass. The ginseng — he imported it from Korea, “because it’s the best”, says Chow — has been in there as NLGX grew for better or worse into a major destination for cafe, restaurant, bar and snack seekers. And even though my photo below is poor quality, you can see he didn’t skip on the root.
Look for this infusion to appear on the menu at the Ju’er Hutong branch at rmb40 per pour — that reflects how many years it has aged (four) and how much you get (40 ml) — and to be paired with a treat.
Chow says that when he used to serve it to customers, some didn’t like it — they found it too strong, earthy, medicinal — with those from southern China and Korea being most amiable. I can vouch that it is concentrated: taste that Korean terroir! And that I enjoyed the story behind this infusion and both trying something both new (in terms of experience) and relatively old (in terms of how long it has been in that jar).
Two other things:
Chow has only part of one jar left, so, as they say, “supplies are limited”. Also, if you get that bibimbap set with this, a heads up that the spiciest sauce is gonna make you sweat.
Look for the other Saveurs de Coree, up the street ini Xiang’er Hutong, to do a special deal on April 3, with either bibimbap or barbecue, plus one Korea-themed cocktail at rmb69. Also look for Stephanie Rocard of Mao Mao Chong to be behind the bar that night. More on this soon.
A Somewhat Steady China Hand on the Local Bar Scene