Article By Ji Kai Rui
B1, Liu Yuan, Outside South Gate, East of Huang Cheng South Road.
(029) 8935 1585
5:00pm – 3:00am
Average Price per Person /人均消费: 122RMB
PROS: Original cocktails, price (still expensive, but better than some)
CONS: Quality varies between bartenders
Conveniently located just outside South Gate, Barn is the newest entry into the Xi’an cocktail scene, and it puts enough of a twist on the standard formula to really stand out from the pack. Coming from the same group who brought us Mototo, I was worried that Barn would be the same as a lot of the new cocktail bars in town: nice decor, high prices and uninspired drinks. However, I quickly came to realize that Barn has a secret weapon in their excellent bartender, Arman.
Originally from Taiwan, Arman has studied mixology in both Shanghai and Japan, and this experience shows in the way he crafts his drinks. I dabble in mixology myself, so I always like to chat up bartenders about their menu creation. After talking with Arman for over an hour, I realized that he is someone who truly cares about the art of drink making. The menu has a nice variety of original drinks, and every ingredient is there for a reason, down to the specific brands of spirit he uses in each.
I tried every original cocktail on the menu, and while there’s too many to list here, I will go over a few of my favorites. I started off with the “Traffic Light,” a multi-colored 3-shooter that’s meant to be downed in series. A Tequila starter, Limoncello chaser, and Xi’an suanmei (plum) juice to finish. It was a unique take on the traditional tequila and lime combo that I really enjoyed. The “Black MaMa” is a boozy take on a milk tea, complete with pearls, and was probably my favorite of the night. Also of interest was the “Popcorn.” It came with popcorn on the side, but the drink itself also manages to taste like popcorn, and really showed off Arman’s skill with flavor creation.
The decor at Barn might be my favorite of all the cocktail bars in Xi’an. It seems like every other place you see is trying to outdo the rest in terms of sheer “swankiness,” with nobody actually putting the focus where it should be: on the cocktails. Barn’s decor is simple, comfortable, and tasteful, with no hint of pretentiousness to be found.
The name Barn evokes thoughts of simplicity, and the bar itself follows through on this concept. A comfortable atmosphere, one of the top mixologists in town and a focus on inspired, original drinks make Barn a must-go for any cocktail lover in Xi’an.
Ji is a singer, maker of Ejuice, and lover of all things drinkable. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org