Upon entering, I was totally mystified. There were shelves with boutique glassware and to the left side, bathroom with strategically placed figurines fishing in the sink. But as far as I could see, there was no sign and no people signaling this could be Hidden House. "Is this it?" I thought to myself. Walking out thinking I had the wrong place, I was chased down by a waitress, welcomed back in, and with the press of a button a bookshelf slid to the right welcoming you into a space of yore.
The interior was plush and pleasing on the eye, with nice lighting and a decor of primarily wood and brick. The bartenders wear bow ties and there is an enjoyable rotation of vintage jazz, blues and funk coming through the stereo.
The menu is pretty extensive, with a nice selection of cocktails and a lengthy list of whiskeys. I first ordered a bourbon Mai Tai (RMB 65). It was delicious and sweet, with a slight aroma of almond from the orgeat liqueur. Next, I procured the London Mule (RMB 60), which features gin and a heavy ginger spice. It was very refreshing, and served in a lovely copper mug. Finally, I had the Peking City (RMB 65), a rum cocktail with chartreuse, honey and lemon juice. It was garnished with rosemary and though very strong, the aroma of rosemary left an interesting whiff that complicated the drink.
From the creator of Revolution and the members-only Ming Bar, owner Ming spared no expense when creating Hidden House. It’s a good choice for a cozy date night, or just chilling with your compadres. There's no smoking, which is nice for people who care about that sort of thing. Hopefully it’ll filter out some of the Sanlitun riff raff.
A version of this article appears in the March 2014 issue of the Beijinger.
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