Article By James Morrow
1-1, West of Ti Yu Guan East Road..
Average Price per Person /人均消费: 141RMB
James is currently living in Xi’an and loving it, from the food to the people.
It seems like everywhere you go these days, new bars are popping up. With most of the main commercial areas already filled to the gills with chain restaurants and other similar establishments, the smaller boutique places have turned to side alleys and back streets to open up, creating tiny enclaves of unique and interesting shops. One such place is Ti Yu Guan Lu, located on a small street behind the SKP at South Gate. Here a wide variety of restaurants and tap rooms have opened up, including its most recent addition, Snug Room.
Located directly on the southwest corner of the intersection, Snug Room has a tight, almost bunker-like appearance from the outside, with a few tables sitting outside in the evening. Stepping inside, you are immediately greeted by a prominent bar, with plenty of seat around it, as well as several high-top and low-top tables for you to sit at. The windows are in a high small row that looks out onto the street, which gives the whole place a hidden feeling, as you can see out but others would have a hard time seeing in.
One look at the menu tells you that this is a craft cocktail bar. You won’t find your typical drinks on the menu, in fact each and every cocktail is a custom creation, with hand-crafted ingredients to boot, with each of the ingredients listed in English and Chinese, with further descriptions of each cocktail written in Chinese below describing major flavors and alcohol content. The back of the menu is entirely in Chinese, mostly listing bottles (primarily whiskey) and a few snacks and such.
The manager informed us that this is primarily a cocktail bar, and that is what they were famous for. He had previously worked in bars across China, even working for a time in Hong Kong. Each of the specialty items on the menu were infused, distilled, or otherwise created by hand.
The first round was a drink called an Italian Ice Cream and another called an Amber Summer. The Italian Ice Cream was a combination Absinthe, Grapefruit, Rock Sugar, and Clarified Yogurt and came in a rocks glass with a large cube of ice topped with gold leaf. The Amber Summer, served in a tulip glass, was a tart combination of Chamomile-infused Amber Liquor, Distilled White Oolong Tea, and an Apple Shrub, an acidic solution made from combining various vinegars and juices. The drinks were light, flavorful, and gone too quickly.
The next round was another pair of drinks, a Barbeque Partner and a Family Movie Theater. The Barbeque Partner included Shiso-infused sake, citrus, and soda that would indeed be perfect on a hot day. The Family Movie Theater included White-Rabbit-infused Mezcal and a buttered popcorn and marshmallow garnish;
The final round, for it was a work night, was a Black Tea Negroni and an Oreo Old Fashioned. The Oreo Old Fashioned was frothy and dark, containing chocolate bitters, Oreos, and Mitcher’s Whiskey. The Black Tea Negroni was nice and bitter, not overly sweet like some versions of the drink, with slight accents from the black tea.
Overall, this is a nice place to stop by for a drink or two when you are in the area, especially if you are into trying unique flavor combinations and creative cocktails. The menu seems to change regularly, so it might be worthwhile to come every now and then to see what they’ve got on offer. It’s guaranteed to be an experience.
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