Draft King 2008: The Best Darn Beer Bar in Beijing?

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?

What!?

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 taps upstairs. 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)

Last call at the bar...

One thought on “Draft King 2008: The Best Darn Beer Bar in Beijing?”

  1. Very sound ideas, JB, and I hope somebody does something like this soon.

    But I think it will need to find a more amenable venue than China View. Has anything made a decent profit in that mall, even DK (which has a small following of German beer fanatics and conspicuously-consuming Chinese yuppies) or Hooter’s (which has a small following of American engineers)??

    A bar needs to be on a ground floor, or at least to have really good visibility, if it’s going to get any walk-by trade. At least somewhere like The Village now has pretty good foot traffic even on its upper floors. But China View has almost no foot traffic at all, even at ground level, other than local residents and people who’ve been thrown out of The Den.

    The divided space was always a bit of a challenge as well. I found it weird, on going upstairs in search of a toilet, to discover that there was an identical but completely unconnected bar up there! I think a restaurant probably has a better chance of working over two floors in a location like that – not a great chance, but some.

    I really wish someone would open up a decent – and affordable – brew pub such as you outline here. Sounds like a job for Chad Lager!

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