street with big smoke, back alley bistrot, commix, frost, bbc and bob's wine beijing china.jpg

Happy Alley: What’s up at Frost, BBC, Commix, Back Alley and Big Smoke?

A bunch of stuff is going down–or seems about to go down–in the alley that branches off Xingfucun Middle Street, is home to Frost, Big Smoke, Back Alley Bistrot, Bob’s Wine, Commix and BBC, and is a favorite outdoor hangout for many people living in the area.

Renovations at Uncle Otis, the chicken-centric venue at the butt end of Big Smoke, are aimed to improving the kitchen and a somewhat minor tale compared to what is happening across the way.

First, word is Olaf “Kro” Bauer, he of Kro’s Nest Pizza fame, will take over Back Alley Bistrot and apparently shift the menu to wraps and sandwich-y delights. (When he saw me exiting April Gourment with groceries last night, he gave me a ride home. What a nice man.)

Meanwhile, neighbor Commix and its beer focus has simply not worked — although kudos to bartender Billy for his friendly demeanor — and it seems only a matter of time before the fridges are turned off for good. Will this place last the summer? Who knows.

The natural move is for the modestly sized cocktail / bottle shop next door, BBC, to expand into that space. BBC has quickly earned a reputation for quality and value, and attracted many of the city’s cocktail aficionados. Co-owner Doug Williams has plans to open a pâtisserie somewhere in Beijing. It would be a nice fit here and provide spillover space for BBC while bringing even more patrons to the area.

Last but not least, look for good things from Frost, which kicked off the scene here a few years ago with its martinis and manicure theme, then gained a reputation for its quality burgers. With Jeff Powell in the kitchen, there is no shortage of talent, and the reduced burden of Back Alley should see it shine.

Oh, I almost forgot Bob’s Wine. It is as ever.

One thought on “Happy Alley: What’s up at Frost, BBC, Commix, Back Alley and Big Smoke?”

  1. I just ate at Frost, the burger was good and would be considered great in Beijing, but the service was terrible and insulting. I ordered some thyme and garlic fries along with the burger and they still hadn’t arrived by the time I was almost finished the burger when I mentioned this to the waiter he suggested that perhaps the potatoes were fresh and thus required a longer cooking time. Interesting idea, complete nonsense but interesting. Then I heard the cook repeatedly tell the waiter “who cares if the fries take a long time?” I then cancelled the fries paid for the burger and left.

    This wasn’t my first time to Frost and usually the service is very passable.

    I’ll miss Frost’s milkshakes. A good milkshake isn’t rocket science but it sometimes seems that way in Beijing.

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