While there are many restaurants in Xi’an, most of them are faceless institutions, without a personal look or touch that separate them from any other. Often it seems like they are mere money spinners, designed to separate you from your hard-earned currency while delivering a mediocre product. So when you find a place that has a bit of a story behind it, there is immediately more interest.
It’s the season of heavy coats and boots. We’ve reached that time of year where the indoors are preferred over the outdoors. Which brings me to the following point. It’s good to know which places to visit once the cold, winter blanket settles over the city. I’ve spent some time during autumn building up a list of places I’d like to frequent during the winter months. Fortunately, I was able to add one more place to my list.
Bueno is a brand that might be somewhat familiar to many of the expats in Xi’an who have been here for a while. Bueno started out selling their unique mix of cocktails from a cart located inside of Xiao Nan Men. It was always a place to stop by if you were in the area, as the cocktails were good and sold at a very reasonable price. Then, later on, they opening up their first store front, just a few meters away from where they had previously positioned their cart. It is a great location, and still in operation, but it often fills up quickly. Well, now space will not be a problem, as they’ve opened up a new location just outside of South Gate behind the Ginwa, a short walk from exit D2 of the Yongning Men subway stop.
Situated towards the south end of De Fu Xiang, also known as “Bar Street” in Xi’an, this upscale boutique hotel brings new life, attitude, class, and, most importantly, revitalization to an area of Xi’an still suffering post-pandemic shutdown. The hotel itself just had its soft opening in October and occupies the street front of and several floors above a former bar. Jiu Jian Shang She is across from the now-closed 3 as 4 Bar, familiar to long-time Xi’an expats as a venue for pub trivia and other events and activities.
First of all, don’t be deceived by the name – this restaurant is a lot more than just cakes. It is actually best known for its dry-aged steaks! Tucked back and away into the dining plaza of Glorious Plaza (大都荟) in Gaoxin, this restaurant featured a glitzy and higher-end collection of gastronomic delights. Greeted by clear glass walls, wooden tables and green tropical plants, we were quickly shown to an upstairs table.
The word traditional gets thrown around a lot here. It’s a word that is used so often as to lose its meaning, rending the awe and reverence that the word is meant to evoke a moot point. Nevertheless, when it comes to the tea café and restaurant True Blue, traditional is the word that first springs to mind, but in the most positive of ways. Located on the 6th floor of the LAFONCE center on Fengcheng Er Lu, it’s not a place that you would immediately know was there looking from the outside. However, once you arrive, you are instantly transported from the world outside to a place that feels different. Soft lighting and a delicate fragrance fill the space. And it is spacious. The restaurant and tea house fill what seems to be the entire floor, with dedicated rooms for both tea and dining. Upon entering the main reception area, you will find a long table, topped with various relics and statues, including a replica of a carriage of the first Emperor of Qin that becomes animated when a crank is turned.
When it comes to partying and enjoying the nightlife, Xian is a city that’s not shy to show off. There are bars and night clubs galore. Options are endless.
But what if you can go to a bar, a place of familiarity, that feels like your own, where friends become family. A place where the food is delicious, the drinks are tiptop, where the energy is vibrant, the rum flows freely and beautiful people fill the dance floor?
It’s a tale as old as time. You are ready to go out, see the town, and enjoy the night. Maybe it’s you and a couple friends, and you are polling the room for what to do. Inevitably, you realize that some of you want good drinks, others want good music, and the rest want to club a bit while the night is young. Then, of course, you realize you have to choose 1 of these 3 options, because most places don’t really deliver on all them at the same time. That is until On/Off Bar arrived on the Xi’an scene.
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