Quick quiz: What percentage of the patrons at George’s Bar have claimed at one time or another that they planned to team up with owner George Zhou and open a new place?
a) 1 percent
b) 5 percent
c) 10 percent
d) 50 percent
I have no hard data but I am guessing that all of those estimates are too low. Let’s go with 99 percent. It looks like most of those people are out of luck on the next project as Zhou will pretty much go it alone and open a whopping 640-square-meter bar and lounge in that Sanlitun South strip that includes Banana Leaf, Ole and Salsa Caribe and is in close proximity to Nanjie, Q-Mex, D Lounge and Janes & Hooch.
Quick quiz II: What is the new place called?
a) By George
b) Nearby the George
c) Boy George
d) Touch Beijing
Touch Beijing it is.
Most of the space will be divided between a large lounge and an area for private parties, each with a separate entrance. A room divider will make it easy to merge the two spaces for larger events. The venue will also have about a three-meter strip — containing a garden and seating — between its glass facade and a stand-alone wall that will shield customers from the street.
Perhaps the most impressive feature will be a bar that runs pretty much the length of the venue and looks capable of seating around two dozen patrons. Not surprisingly, the focus will be on cocktails, though Zhou says he is installing a small cellar with 150 wines and will have beer options. As for food, the focus will be on tapas though he aims to do barbecues in the garden.
Zhou has also added a VIP room that can hold around 20 people and has its own toilets and garden. Speaking of toilets, no shortage here: both the main and private areas have men’s and women’s facilities.
This is an ambitious project and Zhou says he is hiring some top-notch bartenders to help run things while he simultaneously keeps his namesake bar going at Workers Stadium. No doubt he will be putting to work all of the lessons he has learned there and as a former co-owner of Q Bar and Midnight Cafe and bartender at the much-missed First Cafe. He says he aims to get this place open in about a month.