Mix Bar @ The Westin Xian 迷吧

Article By Mike Leaner

No.66 Cien Road, Qujiang New District.
(029) 6568 6568
8:00pm – Midnight

Average Price per Person /人均消费: 130RMB

PROS: A more convenient experience; clever drinks; affordable prices; comfortable atmosphere
CONS: Those looking for a fuller bar experience (i.e. playing pool) won’t find it here

Those giant Starbucks placards that sat for months in the windows of the Westin were certainly conspicuous, signaling to the world that Mix Bar had seen the end of its era. However, those who thought Mix would be gone for good will be surprised to know it survives, albeit in a different form. Now, instead of lobby-adjacent, Mix stands physically in the lobby, a glowing monolith of booze just to the east side of the room. If you were the kind who liked to go watch sports there, a TV still remains that broadcast the World Cup while I was around, but gone are the pool tables and other distractions the former Mix provided.

What has been preserved from its previous incarnation, however, is still notable. You can still expect high quality drinks at prices more affordable than some other places that popped up during the cocktail bar boom of 2016/2017. On that note, as if to compensate for the losses of its other amenities, the drink list has been overhauled. It was my pleasure on a pleasant June evening to go through much of it and broaden my boozy horizons.

First, I was given the “Xian-politan,” the only non-alcoholic drink they offer on the new list (and something of a mercy for me, because I knew a cavalcade of spirits would follow and I wasn’t trying to get sloppy). Served in a martini glass, it’s best defined by its pink, pomegranate coloring. With additional ingredients of pu’er tea and lime juice, altogether it made for a pleasingly tart drink, slightly tempered by the moderating presence of vanilla syrup. Next came something they called the Chinese Mojito.

They said it came from a “secret menu,” one intended for long-time guests, but this chrysanthemum-infused take on the minty classic is amazingly refreshing and I would recommend you harangue them for a glass. Next up was the White Pagoda. It’s largely a mix of amaretto, almond milk and baijiu, but the creamy, nutty flavors manage to blunt the Chinese spirit’s infamous sting. Overall, it’s definitely one of the better, more interesting concoctions I’ve had based on baijiu. To bring things full circle, the final drink of the night was another pomegranate cocktail, the Pomegranate Green Tea, a subversion of the typical gin-and-tonic affair that substitutes the sweet, dry tartness of tonic water for the sweet, dry tartness of pomegranate juice. Paired with a platter of mousses and finger foods, it was truly a nice way to spend the evening.

While I lament the loss of Mix Bar proper, it seems that this new iteration is more guest-forward, and, indeed, I never really saw the old bar filled up the way the new lobby bar was filled that night. I’m also struck by the clever, rather earnest idea to use the cocktail menu to promote local flavors and ingredients. It may not be what it was, but Mix lives to serve another drink, and is still worth your time.

Mike Leaner likes to get dirty but not for free. He can be reached at reviews@xianease.com