Dives into history: What ever happened to Kai and Butterfly?

The history of Kai and Butterfly is cemented.

Today I found myself walking down the alley that once housed Kai Club and Butterfly – and is still home to Fish Nation, The Door and Smugglers. While I have friends who pine for Kai and Butterfly — far more often the former bar than the latter one — neither ranked among my regular hangouts. But in case anyone wondered what is there now, the facade is newly cemented, railings are being erected along it and, says an acquaintance, those former drinking dens will soon be meeting rooms for the school just up the alley. Fans of Kai Club are now resigned to its reincarnation in Tongli Studio.

Q Mex in the city: Sanlitun Mexican Bar and Grill aims for May opening

The signs are going up tonight for Q Mex Bar & Grill, a Mexican bar and restaurant under construction below Kro’s Nest in Sanlitun South, in the old Heat Club spot. Echo Sun is part of the team behind this nearly 300-square meter establishment that is equidistant to NanjieSalsa Caribe, Ole, D Lounge and Brussels.

Q Mex will be split almost equally between restaurant and bar, the latter including both table seating, and several lounge areas along the window. Given the reputation of Q Bar, I imagine this spot will serve tasty margaritas and have an extensive list of tequilas. As for food, the goal is contemporary takes on Mexican food. Chimichangas with a dusting of powdered chou dofu? We’ll see.

Opening dates are usually to be taken with a rim of salt – along with that shot of tequila — but the hope is to pop the doors by the end of May and to have an official launch in June. More details soon…

Countdown to tequila time...

Maifest: German-themed Taps Bar & Grill on verge of opening in Sanlitun

Hammers before Taps

They say the trains always run on time in Germany. But sometimes the construction in China faces a delay or two. Such is the case with Taps Bar & Grill, a German-themed establishment slated to open a few days behind schedule beneath Luga’s Villa. Look for the suds and schnitzel to be flowing by May 10.

The Taps team has done a good job of integrating the basement, which always felt far too cloistered, with the patio out front via a series of tiered seating areas. I ran into Luga outside today and he gave me a tour, pointing out the booths downstairs the kitchen around the side and a ‘BBQ corner’ out front.

General manager Stefan Schober:was also on hand and provided info — and pics for the gallery — about the project. Look for Taps to include:

  • Five draft beers: Radeberger, Paulaner, Eibauer, Gaffel Koelsch and Carlsberg. There will also be German botttled beers and nearly two dozen wines, including three from Germany.
  • A German food menu with a variety of sausages as well as schnitzel, meat loaf and a German noodle casserole dish known as spaetzle (see the photo gallery below).
  • There will be a pool table, six TVs and, in the case of big events, big screens outside and inside.

I wrote earlier that Taps will feature tables equipped with draft taps so that patrons can pull their own pints and — it seems inevitable — compete with nearby tables to see who can finish a keg first. Those taps are coming but will likely to be installed a week or two after the opening, says Schober.

I haven’t been to Luga’s Villa much over the past couple of years but have to say my past two visits have been good ones. The staff was particularly polite and efficient. With the new patio out  front — and a second floor deck that extends around the side — I imagine having a few pints there this summer. 

The BBQ corner

Sips & bites: Migas rooftop reopens, plus Enoterra, Fez, Scarlett, Blue Frog

Working at the speed of sound — which, given the place in question, no doubt includes funky beats — Migas has been busy this month doubling the size of its rooftop and outfitting it with three bars. While a few “unexpected issues” have arisen and some finishing touches remain, the rooftop is nevertheless ready to go for its scheduled opening tonight, says manager Eduardo Gutierrez. Given the state of the space a few weeks ago, that is impressive.

My ex-boss, who is a wine afficiondao, visited Beijing last week and we headed to Nali Patio on Sunday for a few glasses. First stop, the rooftop at Enoterra. Perhaps it’s a building code but that stark stairwell connecting the main floor and the roof is a bit depressing. Anyway, the roof itself is pleasant enough, especially on a cool night. The Viognier by the glass, on the other hand, is pretty average given a price tag of rmb55.

Our second stop, the rooftop next door at Fez, which we found busy even at 11 PM. We tried the Tempranillo by the glass: a good wine but a modest — very modest — pour for rmb65. I didn’t bring my measuring glass but we pegged it at well below 125ml, which is considered the lower end of the pouring range. No complaints about the atmosphere, however, which simply means we’ll switch to cocktails on the next visit.

I don’t make it to Scarlett in Hotel G enough given that most of my experiences — which largely involve parking at the bar with a friend or two and working through some wines — is pretty good. Anyway, this place continues its long-running TGIF deal tonight with rmb30 standard drinks from 6 PM to 10 PM.

Finally, kudos for Blue Frog in Sanlitun. Last week, I found both plugs beneath that comfy cushioned bench just south of the bar to be malfunctioning. I mentioned it to Greg Dover and he said they would be fixed right away. I stopped in today and…. both plugs were replaced and working. A small matter, perhaps, but on such deeds is customer loyalty gained. By the way, Blue Frog is still hoping to open its branch in the Indigo project in Lido on June 1.

Plugged in at Blue Frog

Sips & bites: Master Curry, K’s Kitchen, Little Britain, Frost, Brussels, Sureno


The Steak Factory in Workers Stadium came and went so fast that you probably didn’t get your meal if you ordered well-done instead of rare. In any case, there are now signs up for Master Curry, the note in the window simply saying the new place is “coming soon”.

Speaking of steak, I am long overdue in mentioning the buy one, get one deal on Sunday nights at K’s Kitchen, the restaurant that houses cocktail joint Mokihi on Lucky Street. K’s offers numerous choices of cuts and sizes, with sides of veggies. There is also a draft Asahi deal (I believe it is half-price and thus rmb15 but will have to double-check), pasta deals on Monday and Tuesday, and, of course, tasty cocktails from Mokihi. 

Regular contributor Beijing Elvis reports that construction continues on Little Britain, near the Irish Volunteer in Lido. Will this place screen episodes of the show with the name? Will it be a parody of the typical Beijing bar? Will it serve mashed bangers and kidney pie? These and other questions require answers.

Frost nail salon / coffee shop / cocktail bar / movie-screening venue has added seating and a barbecue outdoors. Owner Jeff Powell is cooking up tasty burgers at rmb38, which includes a side salad. Frost has also added Liefmann’s on tap.

Relatively new bar and restaurant Brussels will christen its even newer setup downstairs on Saturday nigth with a free flow of Tsingtao and mixed drinks from 8 PM to 10 PM for rmb100, says Kenn Bermel. He says Brussels has also introduced rmb48, rmb58 and rmb98 set lunch menus.

And Opposite Hotel restaurant Sureno has opened its “sunken garden” area, just outside the restaurant, and the food options include a free flow of tapas on Saturdays, from noon to 3 PM, for rmb182. Check out the wine menu: one of the best / most extensive in Beijing. And the art installation in the lobby, which one person described as video screens set in pools of kitty littler and featuring graphics that evoke 1990s video games. Frankly, my favorite installation there continues to be the permanent one called Elevators With Lights So Dim You Can’t See The Floor Numbers. After all these years, we can safely call it a classic.