Article By XIANEASE
“Beer Supermarkets,” as we’ve taken to calling them around the Xianease offices, have been a boon for Xi’an’s 9°-weary drinkers (or a pox if all you wanted was a decent cocktail). As spring’s sunshine thaws the city, these bottled import beer purveyors are going to be setting out their patio furniture in earnest, so we thought we’d separate the wheat from the chaff and let you know the five best spots for a brewski.
Let’s start by talking about the elephant in the room: Mototo may not be the first, but they’re certainly doing the biggest business. Started as a modest wall-side shop at Small South Gate, they’ve now got a much bigger sister store outside the walls between (normal) South Gate and Wenchang Gate. Don’t let that fool you into thinking you’ll get a table so easily—the locals have taken a shine to both locations and will park themselves with dozens of bottles for a night of games and conversation.
It must be tough being situated true west of the hottest craft brew pub in town, but beer die hards should give a second look because Looper has the whole nine yards. It would be easy to mistake this as one of the expendable beer joints around town, but it’s got style, atmosphere, variety, table games, and that fifth element: a great location. In the cold light of day, you can’t go wrong getting red in the face and forging unbreakable bonds of friendship over a cookie-flavored beer. Pulp fiction.
An up-and-comer in this scene, Kuni Blue separates itself from the pack in two ways. The first difference-maker is their insane selection (literally, you will go crazy trying to choose just one bottle from the dozens on offer); the second is their menu of fried food and pub snacks, which correctly assumes that the beer munchies can’t be properly sated by pre-packaged spicy chicken feet.
Why should South Gate have all the fun? If you’re one of the many living in the de facto foreigner ghetto on Caochangpo, V9 has all the beer you could possibly want without the hassle of trying to get downtown to tie one on.
Most beer supermarkets are made up of wicker tables and staff that could be replaced by two dozen sturdy bottle openers, but K Bar manages to preserve a more pub-like feel. Perfect for a couple of cheeky beers, or for when you tried to go to Small South Gate Mototo and couldn’t find a table.