I’ll make no apology for concentrating on the first “B” in BBC. I’m neither expert nor particularly experienced in cleaning shoes (“Boot”) or smoking Cubans (“Cigar”), so as long as you know that a shoeshine service and top-end cigars are part of the bargain here, I’ll move right along.

Everyone I know who lives around Xingfucun seems to be excited, at least curious, about this place. Interested, I squeezed in among a crowd of about 20 people for a drink on one of the first nights they were open. Stephanie Rocard of Mao Mao Chong, who helped the owners set the place up, threw me a good Old Fashioned. However, with less standing room than the Beijing subway, I decided to explore more on a less busy night.

From what I’ve seen since, BBC doesn’t have less busy nights. It doesn’t take much to fill the front room – it can’t be more than ten square meters. If you can, that stool at the end of the bar is where you want to be because the best thing about BBC is the ringside-seat thrill of watching two bartenders pour, stir and shake drinks right beside you. The choice of liquor, bitters and other materials seem to have been deliberated over with the same care they’ve taken to ensure that every drink is served in a different size, shape or color of glass.

There’s no drink list yet. Luckily, boss Doug Williams – he’s the guy with the pork-pie hat – is unpretentious and happy to offer recommendations. Second time around, guest bartender Bob Louison made me a refreshing, robust drink combining gin, rum and citrus flavors. Easy, and well worth the RMB 75 I spent. You can also buy bottles to take home here – handy if you need something just a bit more special than what’s on offer at Bob’s Wine.

Also try: Janes & Hooch, Parlor

Bottle, Boot & Cigar
Daily 6pm-late. 1 Taipingzhuang Nanli (beside Frost), Xingfucun Zhonglu, Chaoyang District (186 1405 7407)

Photos: Ken

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