New fixes for Beijing coffee drinkers: Flat White Soho, Coquette, Nespresso, X, Costa Central Park, plus Moment

While the Sanlitun-Gongti area is experiencing a “summer of wine“, with more than a half-dozen bars opening, there are also lots of coffee shops popping up as consumers increasingly go for caffeine buzzes. Here are a few photos I snapped over the past few weeks (I’ll have more but am having trouble getting the pics off my phone).

The newest branch of Cafe Flat White has opened in Sanlitun Soho, across from Moment Cafe. The menu is pricey: will be back soon to try some stuff.

Coquette Cafe has opened just down from Moment Cafe and Flat White, at the end of passageway.

Look for this Nespresso outlet to open on the first floor of Sanlitun Village South, beside the future outlet of Page One.

Out at the drive-in, X Bar & Coffee is under construction near 2 Kolegas.

And the Costa Coffee empire is extending its reach to Central Park: it already has a large operation next door in Office Park.

And while not a newcomer, Moment Cafe has added some new dishes, with its summer menu launched in the last few days. There are eight new items, including a cheese platter with honey (rmb94), sandwich verde (with avocado, cream cheese, cucumber and more on focaccia) and “all’insalata“, a cold pasta with cheddar, ham, olives, basil, cherry tomatoes and mayonnaise-sour cream (rmb52).

Oregon Shucks: Starfish happy hour features oysters, brews from northwest U.S.

Happy hour at Starfish this week features all some things Oregon, specifically oysters and brews.

Tillamooks and Dead Guys might sound like expat dart rugby ultimate frisbee dart teams but refer respectively to oysters from the bay of the same name and to ale from a producer called Rogue, all of which come from Oregon, a place that has an official nut (the filbert), was the birthplace of Simpsons cartoonist Matt Groening, makes some pretty good Pinot Noir and also goes by the name The Beaver State.

Anyway, happy hour at Starfish is from 6 PM to 7 PM weekdays and 11:30 AM to 2 PM on Saturdays and Sundays.

Pay rmb20 for select oysters — Tillamooks are up this week — and for house wine and beers, with options on the latter including bottled Rogue Dead Guy Ale, Vedett White and Vedett Blonde.

And if you are in the mood, why not sing the state song:

Oregon, My Oregon

Land of the Empire Builders, Land of the Golden West;
Conquered and held by free men, Fairest and the best.
On-ward and upward ever, Forward and on, and on;
Hail to thee, Land of the Heroes, My Oregon.

Land of the rose and sunshine, Land of the summer’s breeze;
Laden with health and vigor, Fresh from the western seas.
Blest by the blood of martyrs, Land of the setting sun;
Hail to thee, Land of Promise, My Oregon.

Okay, maybe just hum it.

Not sure what kind these were, but a) we had them on Canada Day, b) they were delicious and c) apparently they contained quite a bit of zinc.

Ala House: Central Park get its very own whisky / cockail bar

If I had five kuai for every time someone said, “Central Park needs a [whiskey / whisky / cocktail] bar“, I’d sponsor a massive LM Plus pizza party. But I have no such revenue stream, and even if someone decided to give me one now, it’s too late because Central Park is getting a nice new bar of its own.

Called Ala House, it is long, narrow and a few doors from cafe L’Atelier. It consists of a long bar, 12 seats and several long benches backed against the wall behind those seats. And a small private room for three. Modest in size, and with a few knickknacks, it safely walks the line between cozy and kitschy.

Ala House has ~100 single malts, Scotches and Bourbons stocked behind the bar and explained in the menu via sniffing and sipping notes. Pours start at rmb80. Expect the regular crowd of bottles, plus less commonly seen ones, from Speyside’s Tomatin and Inchgrower to Kentucky’s Rittenhouse and Willet.

Expect cocktails, too. The menu will focus on classics like Martinis, Negronis and Old-Fashioneds, with a former Constellation bartender handling the mixing glass.

Sigh of relief, imbibers of Central Park, Ala House will open sometime next week. Photos to come.

(Big hat tip to wisebartender.)

Troy Reiley gives 10 reasons to attend the 2 Kolegas Olympics party (plus, he hates my drinks idea)

Guess who’s working the gate?

 ~

So, I am helping with the booze at the London Olympics launch party at 2 Kolegas on Saturday night. Basically, the Beijing Beatles are playing, I know lead singer Ian Burns since we live in the same apartment complex, and I have consequently become acquainted with the rest of the Fab Four.

The idea was for me to come up with themed drinks. To be honest, the past two weeks have basically consisted of going to bed at 4 AM or 5 AM (need to answer emails from the Americas), getting up to work before 9 AM (the people one floor up are either redesigning their apartment or have a fetish for hammers and power tools), and dealing with a hacked blog.

Kinda tired. Even so, I have been doing research and thinking about booze — Jell-O shots in the colors of the Olympic rings, a Beijing Beatlejuice drink with John Lemon, Apple McCartney, Ringo Starfruit and George Pearisson, etc.

But the reality is 2 Kolegas is Tsingtao and standard drinks territory and people will be showing up Saturday for three decades of British music, to see a replay of the opening ceremony, to play games, and to mow down at the Fish Nation and Gung Ho kiosks, not because they want to see my Olympic interpretation of the pousse cafe.

Thus, I’ve suggested the two beverages with each ticket include one standard drink and one high-octane drink, each with a Chinese twist, in order to provide some familiarity and a solid kick-start to a night of partying.

This plan created a deep inner sadness yesterday in Beatle Troy Reilly, who I think hoped I would personally make nuanced Olympic-themed cocktails while working a pommel horse, but he can take solace from the many photo ops he will get due to his costume (see above).

Anyway, as we took a taxi from 2 Kolegas last night, I asked Reiley to give ten reasons why people should attend the party on Saturday night. Here they are:

1. Great British music with the Beijing Beatles and Rikki Sixx (think The Clash, Zeppelin and The Who). Reiley described the Rikki Sixx guitarist as Jimmy Page-like, noted that Jimmy Page played at the closing Olympics ceremony in Beijing, and suggested that is reason enough to attend. Whole Lotta Love, etc.

2. It is the only place, as far as he knows, that will provide a replay of the opening ceremony for those who didn’t watch it live at an unspeakably early hour.

3. Gung Ho and Fish Nation will be serving pizzas and fish and chips on site.

4. Those who do not want the two cocktails offered with the ticket have the option of trading them in for a concoction called the Ringo Chocolate Starfish that Reiley will personally make (to be confirmed).

5. Tthere will be beer pong and obstacle races by Hoegaarden and a Gung Ho pizza-eating contest. (Note: I’m handling the “boat races” between Team Great Britain and Team China. Each member has to suck down a Boddington’s and then a Tsingtao — or vice versa — with a straw. See at bottom.)

6. Thus, even if it rains, there will be lots of people celebrating the Olympics, since all of the activities above and the bands can be handled indoors.

7. The DJ is going to play British and ‘Olympic-themed music‘ — a Chariots of Fire remix perhaps?

8. It’s a chance to dress up, possibly as a famous British person like The Queen, Victoria Beckham, Borat, Samantha Fox, Mr Bean, Winston Churchill or Dame Edna.

9. 2 Kolegas has new toilets. Actually, I am adding that reason. The years of wondering if you are going to fall through the floorboards are gone. There are now four new units.

10. We are almost guaranteed to have London weather, whether it is pre-drizzle, light drizzle, drizzle, heavy drizzle or torrential drizzle. Drizzle fo shizzle, as they say in England.

Again, if you plan to be there, and want to be on either Team Great Britain or Team China for the boat races — and you need to hail from those places to participate — let me know at beijingboyce (at) yahoo.com.

The “Name That ‘Tun” Contest: And the winner is…

Plenty of entries in the Name That ‘Tun contest — see all of them here — to pick a nickname for the area that includes Brussels, Ole, Q-Mex, Nanjie, Salsa Caribe, D Lounge, Rock ‘n’ Roll and more.

The suggestions included 机电院儿 (ji dian yuan), Electric Avenue, Sanlitun Lite, Tuntown, The Huxley, 二lem (a spin on Harlem), 三beca, San li-burbs, NanTun, Sanlitun Lap, Nan Sanlitun, Sanlitun Flipside, Walk of Shame, 小三里屯, The Quarter, SoSaBa (South of Sanlitun Bar Street), 小三, The Hidden Courtyard, NanSan, SoSlt, SoSltay, Gongti East, Tuanjiehu, Soho Bar area east, sibajie and The Warren.

I discussed the entries with Kenn Bermel at Brussels, Yolanda Garval at Ole and Chris Ruggles at Q-Mex and they made a unanimous decision.

And it wasn’t “Nan Sanlitun“. I read the comments that some taxi drivers already know the area by this name. That is good and appreciated info.

But the judges chose something shorter: “NanSan“, as suggested by Vicky, who stated, “It rhymes. It’s slurrable. It’s almost Chinese.” Perhaps with enough use, bar goers, taxi drivers and all else will find it tersely useful. Maybe we need a “NanSan” block party to help?

Anyway, congratulations to Vicky. She and two friends get a mini NanSan tour with the following:

  • Brussels: Choice of three draft beers, with options from La Chouffe to Slow Boat, and a big order of mussels to share.
  • Ole: Three glasses of Sangria and a paella to share, on the first-floor level that is transforming into a Spanish wine bar.
  • Q-Mex: Three tequila flights and guacamole and chips, which should be a nice way to polish off the mini tour.

Thanks to everyone who entered. Check out the current contest — “Want Some Stuff, Man?” — here.