Article By Brian Cotter
West North Coner of the Si Fu Jie and Bao En Si Jie Intersection
7:00pm – 2:00am
Average Price per Person /人均消费: 30RMB
PROS: The cocktails, the prices, the window counter bar
CONS: If it’s packed, you’ll have to wait a while for your drink
In May of last year, a rather unusual Xi’an idea was born. Zhang Yuan Yang and Wang Xiao Mei, two Xi’an locals, had been impressed by a pared down wine bar in Beijing’s Sanlitun that sold just two wines yet had fostered a loyal following, and they pondered the possibility of doing something similar in Xi’an. With backgrounds in advertising and beverages respectively, they felt they possessed the business nous and mixology experience to make something work. However, they still lacked the capital to open an actual bar, so they hit upon a concept they’d seen in Southeast Asia. They bought an electric tricycle and some wrought iron, sketched some ideas, and got some help from designer friends. One month later, they’d built a drinks cart and were operating around Xiao Nan Men.
The cart attracted a large and loyal customer base and, by Christmas, Zhang and Wang had saved enough to finally open a bar around the corner. And it’s definitely worth a visit. A cosy and inviting spot from the outside, I was first attracted to it by the bar counter that’s perched invitingly at the window, facing onto the street. It’s perfect for propping yourself up on a stool, indulging in some people-watching, and soaking up the local street life. And of course for sampling the amazing range of drinks on offer, whether ice cold cocktails in the summer months or hot wine in winter.
Ah yes, the drinks. Specifically, the cocktails. There’s little point me trying to do the nine of them justice on paper;I implore you to just go and give them a taste for yourself. My own favourite is the Granadilla and Rum-influenced “Jin Ye”, but I equally have friends who swear by the “Girlfriend” (tequila and grapefruit) or the “Jia” (Kahlua, rum and milk). And the most ridiculous part? All but two of them range between 15 RMB and 25 RMB!
Finally, I should mention the atmosphere. Zhang and Wang have attracted and fostered a customer base that is among the most diverse I’ve seen in Xi’an. The place is always buzzing, packed with the loyal clientele they’ve accumulated over the last year. This gives the place a distinctly “familiar” vibe, but at the same time one where they’ll always be happy to welcome others to sample the uniqueness on offer.
Brian Cotter is Batman. He can be reached at email@example.com