Sun Quan is an award-winning mixologist, a top-shelf connoisseur, and a self-proclaimed hustler. “Luxurious women come into the salon, and, hopefully, after a haircut and two flutes of champagne, the happy ladies will buy expensive clothes from the boutique,” he half-jokes.
More than simply loosening patrons’ grips on their purses, Sun and his partners are attempting to transplant the charm of his past employer, Gulou “hidden-gem” Lucky Man, to Xindong Lu using an unprecedented hybrid: fashion boutique, hair salon, and whiskey bar.
The bar’s interior designers have recreated scenes from inside the parlors of Victorian-era gentlemen’s clubs, while retaining the Japanese speakeasy ethos from Lucky Man. There is only seating enough for 30, but you have the choice between leather couches, deer-horned bar stools, or a bathtub.
The shelves of liquor require their own Dewey Decimal System, or at least a Ctrl+F function on its 24-page iPad menu. Comprehensive is one way to describe the selection. Overwhelming is another. Whiskey connoisseurs can explore their obsession thanks to a collection of more than 200 varieties.
Sun recreates the familiar cocktails (RMB 80-120) with surgical precision. His most popular request is his own creation, the Capital Smog (RMB 180), a novelty smoke gun filled with shavings from an old American Bourbon whiskey cask is shot into a glass of 23-year-old Spanish rum, then mixed with orange bitters and Italian vermouth. It pairs nicely with a plate of cured Iberian ham cut right off the leg (off-menu, RMB 240). Other off-menu snacks include rum raisin bread (RMB 60) and whiskey-infused truffles (RMB 80), all made in-house.
While Bubble Bar doesn’t go easy on the wallet, with the skills and expertise Sun has been quietly acquiring over the years, it just might blow up.
Daily 7pm-2am. 8 Xindong Lu, Shoukai Bojun Neighborhood, Chaoyang District (8418 5331)
800m northeast of Dongsishitiao station (Line 2)
Also try: Drink House, Revolution
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