Article By Mike Leaner
Defu Xiang Street
(029) 8721 7637
3:00pm – 3:00am
Average Priceper Person/人均消费:30RMB
PROS: Super comfortable; a solid, jack-of-all-trades kind of menu
CONS: The jack-of-all-trades is master of none, so if you’re looking for fancy cocktails/oodles of craft beer you may be a little disappointed
What is the “happy medium” for a bar? In Xi’an, does such a thing even exist? In my several-year-long bar crawl across the city, I seem to find as many expensive, maximalist noise caverns as I do expensive, claustrophobic watering holes, neither of which particularly scratch my itch. When presented with this cold reality, the first instinct is to long for an American-style bar. What does that even mean though? I’ve been expatriated so long that I’m not even sure anymore, and when I realized how close-minded I was being, I was faced with another possibility—what if there’s another option I just haven’t thought of?
Sunshine Bar (尚Shine), located on the southern bend of Bar Street next to 3as4 and STA Food, embodies those theoretical possibilities with a unique concept. If forced to describe it (and I am since I’m reviewing the place), I would say that it feels like a teahouse extrapolated towards a logical, but uncommon, conclusion. Comfort seems to be king here, and though there are more than a few tables and couches, their placement makes the room feel less like a bar/restaurant and more like you’re visiting a rich friend with a hell of a living room.
That comfort extends to the menu as well: tea, coffee, food, beer and liquor all share space on their iPad-powered menu. If you’re looking for a double-triple-single hop chocolate mango IPA or another such curiosity from Xi’an’s craft beer explosion, you may find yourself wanting, but for everyone who might be a bit sick of that kind of thing, Sunshine’s simple but expansive menu will do well by you.
To sum up, Sunshine is one of the most comfortable bars I’ve been in. I just stopped in for a quick beer with friends, but what was supposed to be a lightning-strike drinking mission lazily stretched into nearly an hour of good conversation and good company over a good beer. If I were to go for a cup of coffee during the day, I could see time slipping by just as easily, if not more so. It’s in a league of its own; not a dive, not a slick and overwrought nightclub-wannabe, but a truly nice place to have a seat and a drop of something and do your thing.
Mike Leaner likes to get dirty but not for free. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org