Written by Tim King
If you were to tell me that the space between Xiao Nan Men and Hanguang Men was a famous and historical patio furniture district dating back to the Tang Dynasty, I would probably believe you based on the amounts of wicker chairs and tables littering the sidewalks every night. This alleyway has become an unlikely hotspot in recent times and Kraken sits west of the action, directly adjacent to Hanguang Men, hoping you’ll stop by for a drink.
If Kraken can be defined by one aesthetic, it’s a lack of pretense. It’s a small place with outside seating and its decorations are simple and clean: all white walls and wooden tables, with some rock and roll paraphernalia strewn about. The gentleman behind the bar seemed very excited to see me, so I kind of assumed that he knew I was the Xianease guy sent to judge his establishment, but when he charged me full price for my beers (a modest 25RMB per bottle for a Chimay, Delirium Tremens and a Coopers) I realized that he was just kind of pumped to have foreigners taking an interest in his bar. He was as attentive as I needed him to be, open to special requests I had and eager to make sure that my stay was comfortable. I can’t really ask for more than that from a bar’s staff.
Their beer selection is pretty decent, all bottled beers in a couple of tall refrigerators. It’s a bigger selection than most bars but, in the shadow of K and Mototo which are just down the alley, it may seem small by comparison. Take that in context though: there is most definitely a beer for everyone in their coolers, it’s just not quite the cornucopia of hops and barley that exists down the street.
As it stands, Kraken is a nice, quiet place to sit down and have a drink. You’d probably be tempted to consider it a “Plan B” kind of place if the aforementioned bars in the area are too crowded, but if you’re looking for something a bit more relaxing (or you’d prefer talking to the people you’re with instead of screaming at each other over whatever deafening cacophony is in the air) Kraken deserves consideration as your Plan A.
Pros: Their fridges have enough beer to satisfy the varying tastes in your party (including Arizona products for the teetotalers and designated drivers among us) and everything hovers around a price point of 25RMB; really quiet and laid-back; Kraken is quite a snappy name
Cons: Peace and quiet is not everyone’s bag and, for higher impact nights of drinking, Kraken might not scratch your itch (to make the easy joke: you probably won’t be releasing the kraken at Kraken); you will need people with you because I can’t imagine drinking there alone and enjoying it
Avg. price per drink: 25RMB
壹Kraken cafe & bar
地址:西安市 含光门里 顺城巷 东20米
20m East of Shun Cheng Xiang, Inside Han Guang Gate.
电话:139 0920 9319