Written by Tim King
An umbrella is a folding canopy, made of cloth, feathers, or other light material, supported by ribs and mounted on a pole. Its primary use is to shield a person from the perils of rain or sunshine, with secondary usage as a knight’s sword in spontaneous sessions of drunken make-believe. The umbrella, in its purest essence, is intrigue. It’s cinematographic cliché to see a beautiful woman reveal herself from under one, or to lose a dangerous suspect underneath a vast, drizzled-upon awning of umbrellas on a busy sidewalk. Umbrellas are made to hide things.
That’s what Umbrella is probably best for—a hideaway from some of the nonsense happening just around the corner on Bar Street (not to mention the nonsense going on around the other corner at Club TNT). It lies in a surprisingly quiet nook on FenXiang, across the way from a Sculpting in Time café. Though it’s a smallish brick-and-mortar, with a significant portion taken up by their fridges stocked to the brim with imported, primarily German and Belgian beers, they make up for this with ample patio space.
Unlike some of its more famous competitors, they fully expect you to sit outside and enjoy, rain or shine, and go through great lengths to ensure that that situation is more accommodating than wicker tables on a sidewalk. Sure, you could sit at one of the few small tables inside, but outside there is music, fresh air, and an army of—wait for it—umbrellas, ready and waiting to defend you from whatever elements might be bothering you.
In this latest trend of “beer supermarket” bars, Umbrella runs a good business. I could fault them for not doing anything new or exciting, but, things being as they are, I can’t fault them for solid execution of their concept. And when you need the shelter, isn’t it better to have a solid, working umbrella than a flashy, but flawed one? To paraphrase the ancient Barbadian philosopher Rihanna, you can stand under Umbrella’s umbrella any time. You’re unlikely to regret it.
Pros: Comfortable environment; attentive staff; ample beer selection; unafraid to play a certain song featuring Jay-Z from the album “Good Girl Gone Bad”, without irony
Cons: You’ve been to this bar before, but that’s not to say it isn’t a nice and viable alternative to any other trendy “beer supermarket” place you’re thinking of; With some of the bizarre, rainy weather we’ve had lately, Umbrella’s umbrellas are faced with a serious challenge from Mother Nature, and it’s up to you if you want to take that chance
Avg. Price per Drink: 25RMB
Address：1F, East side of Nanyuan Men, Fen xiang, Nanda Jie
( 南大街粉巷南院门里东侧一楼 )