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.
Opened just six months ago at the tail end of 2020, Nick Motors Coffee is a small little café on Defu Xiang, also known as Bar Street. Opened by a group of friends with a passion for motorcycles, this coffee shop is located right next to the only motorcycle wash in the downtown area. The owners opened the shop so that they would have a place to sit, relax, and have a cup of coffee while waiting for their bikes to get cleaned.
The name of the shop was selected because they thought that it sounded like the name of an old school repair shop, so there’s no actual person named Nick inside, but there are a few seats and narrow tables to sit down and have a coffee. The entire front of the shop is made from glass, so you can look out on the sleepy street and admire the numerous motorcycles parked out front, either waiting to be cleaned or having just finished. There’s even a space inside for motorcycles that are currently for sale, currently being occupied by a 500k beauty of a motorcycle.
Even if it’s too short to fully enjoy, spring time is here in Xi’an. Have you seen the cherry blossoms? They are
magnificent. But whether I’m enjoy a meal al fresco, or taking a boat ride with friends on a lake, I always find myself asking the same question; how can cocktails improve this experience? So once again, I am here to provide you with some cocktails to help take your express spring time to the next (boozy-filled) level. Yes that’s correct. 3 cocktails perfect for light breezes, sunshine and flowers blooming.
Only a short (<10min) walk from Yanpingmen Station (Line 3) and with car access from Tuanjie South Road (团结南路), Hualuxe Hotel is very accessible. Upon arrival, we learned from the welcoming staff that the hotel had just opened last year. Everything from the decorations to the appliances to the meticulously manicured bamboo-lined entryway demonstrates a modern Chinese style.
Notable is that throughout the lobby of the hotel were cages of various kinds – a distinctive feature hinting at an appeal to affluent clientele. After all, in ancient China, only the wealthy had the time and resources to care for and admire pet birds. According to Dazhong Dianping, the restaurant is currently the #5-ranked buffet in Xi’an for environmental quality.
I once had a friend who used to complain about the lack of standalone restaurants. He loathed the fact that every half decent restaurant happened to be in a mall or jammed into the first floor of a building, not allowing for much in the way of outdoor seating or enjoyment. And it’s true, real estate is a premium and the fact of the matter is that it is more economical to save on expenses by going the mall route. It’s also almost guaranteed foot traffic to help your business along. So when you find a restaurant that breaks out of this mold; that is something to pay attention to.
You haven’t really lived in china if you’ve never had ChuanChuan! A simple but delicious dish originated from Chongqing and rapidly spread to all of the country. Once, a cheap and common food of most street food streets, ChuanChuan has slowly moved upstream with restaurants opening in some of the more fancy malls around the country and obviously Xi’an.
One notable restaurant is “Super Wow ChuanChuan” or “chao ji wa ChuanChuan” a lovely new spot located in SKP mall near the south gate
I’m a coffee guy, plain and simple. Don’t get me wrong, as a British guy I do enjoy a ‘Cuppa tea’ every now and then, but my go to drink is definitely coffee. When wandering along the side street of Mandi plaza near the Big Goose Pagoda, I stumbled across a hidden gem: Remedy coffee & beer. This place may not be the biggest, but boy do they have a good selection of drinks. The decoration of this place is very clinical with simple colors and makes it an overall relaxing environment to be in.
If you get around as much as I do (I mean that in the best way possible) you may have noticed a number of Japanese-themed bars and restaurants popping up around the local nighttime hotspots. The question is, “Are they just a passing fad or do they have some staying power?” Well, if they’re able to hit it home like the new Torikai restaurant, located just off QuJiangDaDao, right across from BeiChiTou subway station, then we may be in for a treat.
Leban is a name that many foreigners in Xi’an are familiar with, as they have been operating for many years at this point (we wrote about their first location all the way back in October 2015). In the time since their inception, the café and bakery has expanded out to many locations throughout the city, expanding their menu and refining their craft in order to deliver a consistent, high-quality product.
Their newest venture is no exception, venturing for the first time to the north of the city. Located at the Wenjing Lu subway stop, not far from the government center at XingZhengZhongXin, this Leban has upped their game quite a bit, having more seating (indoor and outdoor) and an more extensive menu than any of their other locations. The interior is decorated in a modern chic style, with low tables and chairs – not the best if you’re tall – as well as some booth seating and regular-sized tables and chairs. There is a sliding wall that gives you access to the mall, if you’re into the whole secret panel door feel.
With the cold weather having truly and properly announced its arrival in our city, it’s easy to just want to stay inside. Yet, I find this weather to be the ideal time to practice my favorite pastime: cafe hunting.
On a fresh Saturday afternoon, I headed out in the direction of South Gate in search of coffee. I was most delighted when I found a café at a location I’d never have thought to venture in to.
Having faced the cold on route, and admittedly getting lost (for trusting my mental compass over a map), what better feeling than being welcomed by warmth, the smell of coffee and freshly-baked croissants.