Article By Mike Leaner
1-2F, North of Lv Di International Club, Jin Ye Road and Zhang Ba 3 Road Intersection
8:00pm – 2:00am
Average Price per Person /人均消费: 199RMB
If I’m ever asked to pick my poison, I choose whiskey. No contest. Drinking beer is like doing homework, shooting tequila is for people trying too hard to have fun and drinking any other liquor means that I’m drinking with people who complain that they don’t drink whiskey. Fannou House isn’t a good fit for hop-heads or the whiskey-averse, but for me? For me, it’s a swanky heaven.
If the name sounds familiar, you’re probably aware of its sister bar in Shenzhen. Xi’an’s Fannou House is situated in (get ready, a pinyin storm is coming) 绿地世纪城 (Lv Di Shi Ji Cheng). You can call the area “Greenland Century City,” but that won’t get a taxi driver to take you there. If you’re like me and hadn’t really been around that neighborhood in a while, it’s developing quite nicely, and Fannou House sits snugly among some other restaurants and bars.
Before we go any further, we should be perfectly clear about what kind of place this is. This is a fancy place. There was a BMW motorcycle parked in the small foyer (which, for a place like this, should really be pronounced “foy-ay”), and there was a tiny glass door to the barroom proper, which was nice and everything but I couldn’t look away from the probably 100+ whiskey bottles displayed behind the bar. The prices reflect the fact that people with BMW motorcycles go here and that those bottles aren’t dummies; they’ve been purchased and they’re there for your consumption.
So let’s not mix words: you’re going to pay about 60RMB for a drink, sometimes 80RMB or more depending. The question is therefore not whether you want to be spending that much for a shot of whiskey or a cocktail, but whether a person willing to go spend that kind of money will find it worth it. I would have to say yes.
The cocktail list is short; while that’s a stark contrast from the encyclopedic drink menus popping up at other bars, I would say that the old “quality-over-quantity” axiom applies here. My Old Fashioned was perfectly executed, and, seeing some of the other cocktails being made in front of me, presentation was top-notch. But let’s move on to the whiskey menu: it’s crazy. It’s broken down by type of whiskey: isleys, highlands, lowlands, Japanese, single-malt, blended…it goes on. No matter what you fancy, they’ve got it in at least a half-dozen varieties, from what would pass for top-shelf in a normal bar (about 60RMB a shot), to top-top-top-shelf stuff that goes for a couple hundred RMB a shot. It’s a veritable dream house for whiskey lovers with a bit of cash to throw around.
Fannou House is certainly not for everyone, but nor is it meant to be. What it does it does very well: good atmosphere and good drinks backed by a great playlist on the PA (and set to perfect lounge volume). If this kind of thing sounds like it’s your bag, I assure you it is. It’s a bit of a hike to get there, this whiskey lodge will be a great reward for the journey.
Mike Leaner likes to get dirty but not for free. He can be reached at