Some items accumulated from being out and about the past week…
Renovations are nearly done at Union Bar & Grille and the place is slated to reopen the first weekend of September. Much of the venue remains the same, including that excellent three-sided bar, with the major change being expanded seating at the back. That area will be equipped with several TVs featuring sports, funny photos and, if it is business as usual, one of the biggest music video collections in the city Lipps Inc., anyone?). Manager Amy Huang says patrons can also expect some new food items on the menu.
When Jing A opens its taproom in 1949: The Hidden City in mid-September, it will not only aim to quench the thirst of craft brew fans in the city but also provide them with lots of of munchies.
The new digs — in the former Bar Veloce space — have been under construction for a week and will eventually house enough taps for sixteen beers, including a few Jing A products that will be exclusive to the venue,.
“We’ll also be offering be the first craft brewery to offer the option of nitro taps, serving beers with that creamy Guinness-like consistency,” says an email from the company. “Great for trying a beer you already love in a new way.”
The food menu will be built via collaborations with local food favorites such as Andy’s Craft Sausages, Two Guys and a Pie, and Le Fromager du Pekin, and include the option of “build your own” meat and cheese platters as well as some “healthy” options.
Jing A will join a Sanlitun South scene that has grown by leaps and bounds in the past few years, including the fairly recent additions of Home Plate, The Rug and Taco Bar. It will continue to sell its beers at The Big Smoke and other venues.
Sanlitun Soho wine shop La Cava continues to expand its portfolio beyond an initial exclusivity with Chilean wines. While Chile, home country of owner Mariano Larrain, remains front and center, La Cava also stocks items from France and — as of last Thursday — Spain and Portugal. The newcomers include a handful of sparkling wines as well as numerous bottles that retail for less than rmb100.
La Cava has established a small but loyal following, due in part to its rmb20 by-the-glass deal on Fridays and Saturdays. Larrain says some of the new wines will be included in that deal.
Spanish restaurant / bar / rooftop party hub Migas marked its fourth anniversary this weekend with a two-night DJ-driven bash. Being more a fan of mashed potatoes in an air-conditioned setting than mash-ups on a hot crowded rooftop, I instead celebrated by eating lunch at Migas three times last week.
After having the three-course lunch on Wednesday — see photos below — I couldn’t resist returning Thursday and Friday for the same items. Sound boring? Maybe but there are lots of things I’d happily eat three days in a row — the Greek salad from Gung Ho, the pulled pork sandwich from Home Plate, the capricciosa pie for Pizza Plus, the kimchi bacon bibimbap at Ssam, and plenty of others.
Anyway, Migas weekday lunch deal is rmb95 for three courses, with three options per course. It also comes with bread and a tasty snack. You can tack on a glass of red or white wine for rmb20.
Red velvet cake with fruit. Like the sausages, the fruit changed during the week, with a berry selection one day and dragon fruit, pineapple and more on another day. I’m not much of a dessert guy, but this one hit the spot.
Paca Lee of Gulou area burger joint The Box opened her newest place, Ramo, this weekend in Fangjia Hutong in Andingmen. Ramo takes over the former El Nido restaurant space and gets its name from the first two letters of each of the words “ragazza moderna” — Italian for “modern girl“. As for the bar El Nido just up the street, it’s business as usual.
Ramo offers an airy and industrial space — with splashes of color via everything from the light fixtures and chairs to the wall art and tiled floor — in contrast to the cozier and earthier confines of The Box.
For the soft opening this weekend, Ramo had a lineup of about 20 beers, with most at rmb30 per bottle, including a German wheat beer that hit the spot given the summer heat. The staff also handed out slices of the pizza that will make up a large part of the food menu.
Both drink and food menus will grow as Ramo gets fully up to speed. Lee mentioned adding a burger option and is toying with the idea of morning fare, such as croissant and coffee deals. More details to come.
A Somewhat Steady China Hand on the Local Bar Scene