We here at the Beijinger love ourselves a listicle, particularly when said listicle involves Beijing. This time its the Daily Meal and their just-released list of 150 Best Bars Outside the United States, which features Janes and Hooch (#124), Bottle Boot & Cigar (#96), Jing-A Taproom (#73) and Great Leap Brewing (at #65) in the their expert-picked rankings.
With four mentions on the list, we're confident that this puts Beijing light years ahead of our rival city Shanghai in terms of the drinking scene, as the Pearl of the Orient only made the list three times, with the Boxing Cat Brewery (#67), Long Bar (#74) and Jade at 36 (#107) .
Oh hell, as long as we're into unreasonable and spurious conclusions based on listicles, let's call Beijing's drinking scene the best in all f***ing Asia, as its four entries beats all other Asian cities, including Tokyo, Hong Kong and Singapore (3 each), Taipei with two; and Bangkok, Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City, Phnom Penh, Mumbai, Bali, Kuala Lumpur, Macau and the Maldives each with one.
No, no, let's do it this way: Beijing is the 4th best drinking city on Planet Earth (outside the US), with only London, Paris and Dublin having more entires on the list. (OK I'll admit that's a tie for 4th place, with Edinburgh, Vancouver and Venice sharing the spotlight).
Shanghai and Beijing were the only cities on the mainland to be mentioned on the list; Greater China fans will note Taiwan is represented by two Taipei bars, WOOBAR at W Hotel at #88 and the MOD Public Bar at #139; Hong Kong entries were Eyebar at #106, Aqua Spirit at #130 and The Blck Bird at #132; and Macau made the list with the Old Taipa Tavern at #121.
Here's what the Daily Meal had to say about our fair city's charting bars:
Janes & Hooch: "This popular vintage dive bar in Beijing’s Sanlitun, bar district is from the team behind two of Beijing’s most acclaimed bars: Warren Pang of d lounge and Leon Lee of the recently shuttered Apothecary. Janes & Hooch first opened as a Chicago-style speakeasy in 2013, but, within its first year, switched its concept to become an urban saloon it describes as having 'a touch of class minus the wank.'"
BBC "Nestled behind an ornate wrought-iron door, tiny speakeasy BBC (for Bottle, Boot & Cigar) is a true gem in China’s capital. Head bartender Douglass Williams, who hails from San Francisco, and his staff craft bespoke cocktails per each guest’s preferences — a feat rarely seen in these parts."
Jing-A Taproom "What started as a hobby for friends Alex Acker and Kristian Li in 2011 turned into the Jing-A Brewing Co. in 2013 and the Jing-A Taproom a year later. One of the Chinese capital’s best microbreweries, Jing-A is housed in 1949, a converted factory space with high vaulted ceilings, brick walls, and pendant lighting. Here, there are 10 to 12 small-batch and seasonal beers on tap each month, like Flying Fish IPA, which won the Asia Beer Cup award, Koji Red Ale, brewed with fermented sake rice, ginger and wasabi, and Smoked Guizhou Chili Porter, a smooth porter infused with an aggressive kick of smoked Guizhou chiles and beechwood-smoked malts."
Great Leap Brewing "Since Brewmaster Carl Setzer, co-founder of China's Craft Beer Association, and his wife, Liu Fang, opened Great Leap Brewing in tree-filled Doujiao Hutong in 2010, its goal has been to foster a Chinese craft beer culture with beers crafted from locally grown hops, barley, and other ingredients. Great Leap's most popular brew to date is the Honey Ma Gold, an easy-drinking ale enlivened by floral, mouth-tingling Sichuan peppercorns and organic honey from an apiary near the Great Wall (it was awarded Silver Medals at the 2014 Asia Beer Cup).
Great Leap, Jing-A and Janes and Hooch made our readers' list of Best Bars in the 2014 Reader Bar and Club Awards -- check here for what they won and what else the city has to offer.
Jing-A and Great Leap are also known for their food and both have been nominated in the Beijinger's currently ongoing 2015 Reader Restaurant Awards -- you can add your two cents by voting here any time between now and March 8.
BTW, the Top Ten from the Daily Meal's list are mostly Eurocentric, and here they are:
10. Le Bar Américain at Hotel de Paris (Monte-Carlo, Monaco)
9. Artesian (London, England)
8. Luna Rooftop Tapas Bar (San Miguel de Allende, Mexico)
7. Harry's Bar (Venice, Italy)
6. The American Bar at The Stafford London (London, England)
5. The Hemingway Bar (Paris, France)
4. Foxy's (Great Harbour, Jost Van Dyke, British Virgin Islands)
3. The Grenadier (London, England)
2. Dry Martini (Barcelona, Spain)
1. Harry's New York Bar (Paris, France)
Images: The Daily Meal
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