I ran into Tom Cui – known from Club 99 and Le Petit Gourmand – in Sanlitun yesterday and he gave me a tour of the newest project, a two-floor cocktail, whisky and wine bar that is currently going by the working name Venus 99 and sits atop the youth hostel behind the 3.3 building. Expect a labyrinth of drinking options at this new venue.
The main room, with a focus on cocktails and spirits, will include a long bar, a station for single malts and making iceballs, and a pair of lounge areas. A “guys” room and a “gals” room will branch off, with each space able to hold up to 10 people.
A hallway to the east will include two more private rooms, three bathrooms (each with its own toilet room and washing area), and what I’ll simply call the “drunk tank” — it will have a bed, a toilet and a shower, and be for those who might have had one too many drinks and were unable to make it home.
A rooftop that ranks among Sanlitun’s most underutilized and unsung spaces. The focus here will shift from cocktails to wine, although both will be available. Near the entrance will be two lounge areas, followed by a gazebo and an open area with views to the north, east and west.
There are a few challenges, such as getting patrons to take the stairs — I suggest having a drink station halfway up the stairwell on weekend nights — though this hasn’t been a deal breaker for other venues in the area. In any case, Cui has a few service tricks up his sleeve. For example, each private room will come with a bartender, assistant and booze trolley for making drinks on the spot. He also plans to give regular customers numbered tokens they can show the staff and thus easily add drinks to their bills.
As for opening dates, I’m told the chandeliers went in today and the bars will be set up within the next week, with the the aim of being open in about three weeks. Expect an update before then…