There is a bar alternatively known as Eje Bar, Zhou Bar and That Gulou Bar Above The Sidecar Motorcycle Shop in the Same Alley as Jam and Temple. It offers some of best beer prices in town.
How good are they? On Saturday night, I made my first visit since the opening party and happily downed draft La Chouffe at rmb25 per glass. A small draft Vedett is rmb18 and there is a good range of bottled beer, with Estrella at rmb20, Maredsous from rmb22 and large bottles of Samuel Smith’s Imperial Stout and Oatmeal Stout for rmb38. It’s a little like Heaven Supermarket but with more comfort and less chaos.
It also seems to be the unofficial bar of the rock climbing set. At the opening night party, I met a dozen practitioners of that sport. Last night, I ran into an old friend, Ping and his buddy, two guys who love to climb. We ended up having a long talk on Jon Krakauer’s Into Thin Air, about a disastrous climb on Mount Everest, and whether or not the presence of a reporter might have caused some team leaders, in the pursuit of the peak and the ensuing press that would entail, to take bigger risks that they should have. Heavy stuff.
We also discussed how long it takes to bicycle to Lhasa, the physical properties of wild walnuts and whether or not the hottest women in China hail from Sichuan. That’s the kind of place Eje Bar is: you end up in long and winding conversations as you drink beer that is deceptively strong.
Anyway, the main drawback at Eje is lighting. It is way too bright, in my opinion. The lamps above the booths sear the retinas if stared at directly. The purple fringe lighting, including near the floorboards, is a bit too much. Even the lighting behind the bar, while it nicely displays various Belgian beer bottles and glass styles, is a notch of two too high, at least if you’ve had a half-dozen beers.
Even so, the owners are friendly, the prices are excellent, and, if you are in the area and seeking high-quality brew at low prices, this is a decent option for warming up or for winding down after a night of partying.