Beijing is not known for bars that serve up well-mixed cocktails. In this city, nightlife itself is a fledgling concept, and most people’s drink of choice is a bottle of cheap local beer. And don’t get me started on rowdy, sketchy bars like the ones that got raided last Friday, whose atmosphere and alcohol quality remind me of a college frat party. Thank goodness for places like Q Bar, a classy little nook in south Sanlitun where bartenders shake and stir with expertise.
First off, the view of the city skyline from the 6th floor is great, as is the huge roof deck. And the cocktails – a range of martinis, revived classics, and special mixes like the rum-and-lychee-based G & E – ooze sophistication.
Then there’s the food. Q Bar just started offering food, nicely plated and well-portioned for sharing. The grilled flatbread comes with a hummus dip and a wasabi cream cheese dip. The hummus dip was light, almost airy, and had something other than chickpeas that I couldn’t quite put my finger on. As for the wasabi cream cheese, I can’t say I’ve had that combo before, but there was just enough kick without being overwhelming.
The avocado lime dip for the chicken kebabs, also pretty light, was even better. After the chicken was eaten, I couldn’t help finishing off the dip with flatbread.
Q Bar also has a handful of desserts that sound promising. The only one I’ve tried so far is the cream yogurt with blueberries and a rosemary red wine reduction. (Unfortunately I didn’t get a photo.) The rosemary in yogurt was also a new flavor combo I hadn’t tried before. Maybe now I’ll try infusing my plain yogurts at home with any fresh herbs I can get my hands on.
So, yes. Come summer, I’m sure that roof deck will be packed every evening, with Beijingers chilling to lounge jazz, sipping potent refreshers, and munching on some of the city’s tastiest bar food.
6/F, Eastern Inn Hotel
Corner of Sanlitun Nanlu and Gongti Nanlu