Article By Mike Leaner
Southeast Connor, Building 3, Fu Rong Xin Tian Di, Fu Rong South Road, Qu Jiang New District
(029) 8699 1688
8:30pm – Midnight
Average Price per Person /人均消费:40-60RMB
PROS: Good service, good drinks, martini glass full of peanuts
CONS: Chinese-only menu
I’ve made a lot of mistakes in my life, not least of which was going to Qujiang during the Spring Festival holiday. I was wholly unprepared for the throngs of tourists choking the district, and eventually I needed an escape. A liquid escape, more specifically. Luckily for me, Call Me Bar was there. Situated opposite the south gate of Tang Paradise, next to the Qujiang Book Store, it may be tricky for people unfamiliar with the area to find. Just look for the big fountain next to the bookstore, and you should see it to the right (the west side of the courtyard).
Call Me deals in American-ish trappings, with an interior decked out in lots of wood and a big sturdy bar that reminded me of some of my haunts in my past life living in the States. One thing that didn’t hit me immediately, but impressed me all the same, was that its interior design ran counter to a lot of the trends I’ve seen in new bars in Xi’an—instead of just a big open-concept room with tables butted up against each other, there were many nooks and crannies, allowing for a more intimate and more private experience, if you so desired. That’s not to say that this is a labyrinth; there’s still a bit of floor space covered by regular, free-standing tables, in front of the stage where they have musicians perform nightly, but if you don’t want to be there, you have other options.
As is my wont, I started with a glass of whiskey on the rocks while I looked over the rest of the menu. You’ll find a healthy selection of beer, liquor, wine and cocktails, but if you haven’t committed the Chinese characters of your preferred drink to memory, you might have trouble finding it (at this point in my life my alcoholism is bilingual, so I didn’t have too much of a problem). If you’re one of the Chinese-deficient, there are enough staff around that speak passable English, and they sought me out like a laowai-seeking missile to make sure I could order what I wanted and keep me as comfortable as possible. Eventually I wanted to test the bartender’s skills, but I didn’t want one of the normal cocktails, so I asked one to surprise me. Surprise he did, sliding a green, opaque cocktail my way. Turns out, it was a lime and cilantro cocktail—maybe that sounds gross on paper, but I was shocked to find it was really unique and refreshing. Paired with a steel martini glass full of peanuts, it was a pretty good night cap.
In a way, Call Me is a lot like that cocktail. At first glance, you might think this place is typical, but I think on second glance, you’ll find that there are at least a couple of tricks up their sleeve.
Mike Leaner likes to get dirty but not for free. He can be reached at