Article by Jaz
Graffiti and neon lights fill the walls, Kendrick Lamar is playing in the background, and people are sipping on beers. Did I just walk into Compton, China? Welcome to Fit Street, a new place in Xi’an with all your urban desires, located west of the Changle Park metro station on Line 3. Barbershops, a recording studio, a brewery, and sneaker stores stand side-by-side in this tight knit community.
Dastree was my first stop in this hip-hop haven. Unlike your usual Chinese hair clinic, this place boasts the skills to perform tapers, fades, and line ups with an authentic American style. I received a hot towel shave with a straight razor and a “mid fade.” Chatting to my barber about sports, and new albums being dropped reminded me of being home at my local barbershop. This was a special experience.
After that I was a little thirsty, so off to Hold Fast Brewery it was. That’s right, a brewery in the midst of this urban realm. The menu is full of German style beers that range from porters to IPA’s and everything in between. All of the beer is brewed here in Xi’an and changes quite frequently. I had the opportunity of tasting all of the beers because this place offers an all you can drink special. The IPA was my favorite; it poured a hazy orange with a white head. The scent had hint of citrus, and it was really flavorful.
While enjoying my beer I could hear a freestyle battle erupting in the corner. I turn around to see a circle of people nodding their heads in unison. I swear I was in the movie 8 Mile with Eminem, listening to bar after bar coming from these guys standing in front of Hustle Future Flame, a recording studio that offers a discount to hip-hop artists.
Walk just a little ways down the path and you’ll come across a myriad of dancers at New Dancer, a dance studio. This spot offers dance classes ranging in everything from high energy routines to pop & lock. Most of the girls stroll on over to Swag Mama after dancing. Decorated solely in pink and brandishing weapons as decorations, this beauty place offers nails, facials, and other services.
There are a couple of sneaker shops that cater to sneaker heads. Nike and Jordan litter the walls. These shops offer cleanings and customization for their customers. Being a collector of Adidas, I had to check out their selection and see what they could do as far as customizations.
After feeling like I was back in SoCal for a while, I was in the mood for a snack. Of course, after a couple of beers, tacos or a burger sound great. Unfortunately there aren’t any tacos, but Unik Burger will serve you food in the brewery.
All told, Fit Street caters to a more specific customer. It may not be the right style for everyone, but for me it was a perfect fit (see what I did there?). It offered a complete different experience from your average mall.