Article By Mike Leaner
#14, Tian Shui Jing Jie.
(Eastside road, 200 meters Inside of Hanguang Men)
(029) 8962 8697
7:00pm – 2:00am
Average Price per Person /人均消费: 75RMB
PROS: Interesting and unique atmosphere; great drinks
CONS: Drinks are a bit pricey, just like most other Xi’an cocktail bar
It’s officially official: cocktails are the current hot trend in Xi’an. We’ve got swanky cocktail bars, we’ve got come-as-you-are cocktail bars, it only makes sense that speakeasies would follow. The adventure to find Cinnamon, Xi’an’s latest cocktail bar and possibly first speakeasy, is a fun one. First you go through Hanguang Gate, then up the east side of the road a little bit, past a couple of hot pot joints until you find Cinnamon’s small sign and storefront. Then you’re going to go up some eerily quiet stairs until you find a dead end with nothing but a golden cocktail shaker on a pedestal, like some sort of alcoholic Indiana Jones fever dream. Push down on the golden booze idol until the hidden door slides open and enjoy the looks on everyone’s faces when they see your unforgiveable foreignness strutting through the doorway.
Cinnamon is definitely aiming for that “cool and exclusive” factor—the quest to find the place, the Vice documentaries they play on their TV, the sometimes risqué decorations and the whole “what if there was a bar in Echo Base?” aesthetic. Altogether, it’s a really nice space that seems to be getting some buzz already, if a full barroom on a Tuesday night is any indication.
I’ve spent a lot of time on the atmosphere of the bar, so by now you’re probably wondering about the drinks. Don’t worry, they’re good. The bartender is a fine gentleman from Shanghai who’s spent time behind the bar in a couple other Xi’an spots, and in his retro-striped-shirt-and-suspenders outfit, he looks like he’s never been more at home. Whether it’s a Zombie, a Singapore Sling, the signature Cinnamon Old Fashioned or whatever, he makes them all relatively quickly and they taste great. If you’re not into cocktails much, there’s a substantial list of whiskeys and wines, as well as a couple of beers on tap. If you’re a person who drinks, you’ll find your poison no problem.
Now that all these mixologists are directly competing for your cash, they want to find a way to separate themselves from the pack. Drink menus or prices can only vary so much, which makes atmosphere and aesthetic key. Cinnamon does all the basic parts of the cocktail bar experience very right, and on top of that you’ll get a chance to hang out in one of the most unique bar spaces in the whole city. If you’re looking to scratch your hipper itches and have a nice drink and a chat, this place should be next on your list.
Mike Leaner likes to get dirty but not for free. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org