Sanlitun Fun: Tavalin Bagels opens today, Mr Shi’s Dumplings launch party tomorrow

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The guys at the new Tavalin Bagels shop, who used to work at the old Tavalin Bagels shop just a few meters away, are ready to go and started to sell bagels from from 10 AM this morning. Expect the same options and same prices as at the previous place. As an added bonus, this new space — which is just up the tiny alley beside Revolution Bar (see map below) — has a cozy patio on which to enjoy them. They also are planning to have a party this Saturday.

Meanwhile, the Sanlitun branch of Mr Shi’s Dumplings will hold its launch party on Thursday. Get all-you-can dumpling / drink for rmb100, with two seatings, one from 6 PM to 8:30 PM and one from 8:30 PM to 11 PM. There will also be speed dumpling eating. If you want to guarantee yourself a spot, RSVP via the email address or phone number in the poster above.

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Bright Cider of Life: Paddy O’Shea’s stocks a dozen-plus ciders, offers specials

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Fans of cider have a growing number of choices when they visit Paddy O’Shea’s, with the menu now listing over a dozen options from Ireland, England, Denmark, Germany, South Africa and China, and more to come. The Chinese ciders come via iBeer, and include “Bad Apple” and “Perry Pear“. Get added value during happy hour, from 2 PM to 8 PM, Monday to Friday, which includes 30 percent off most drinks and a buy one, get one deal on local beer, Tiger beer and house drinks. And on Thursdays, those happy hour prices on cider last until midnight.

Mug shot: Great Leap Brewing to start VIP registration on April 8

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If you want bigger pours of Great Leap beer in your own fancy mug, then you best get down to your favorite branch on April 8. States GLB’s Carl Setzer via the wonders of social media:

All three Great Leap Brewing locations will have sets of VIP mugs available for a membership fee…. Drink the most per location and rise to the level of Chairman, second best gets the Premier’s position. Read the details, mark your calendar and join the collective!”

Registration starts at 5 PM on April 8, with only 88 memberships available at each of the three GLB locations.

“We’ll be handing out tickets deli-style all day to reserve your place in line, but if you aren’t in line when you’re number is called, you’re back to the end of the line,” states GLB.

“For 300RMB, members get a personal 550ml GLB Collective glass mug behind the bar, bigger pours of every beer [550 ml instead of 440 ml], plus all the other cool stuff we don’t have space to mention here. Membership is valid for one year with a 100RMB yearly renewal. There are only 88 memberships per location available, and you must be in person to register. Full details available each location, ask your bartender.”

A Great Leap poster says one can register for all three locations for rmb750. Does one have to visit all three to do so? Or can one register for the trio at a single site? What if one only wants to register for two locations because one simply can’t find that hutong pub? Something for one to ponder over an Iron Buddha.

If you want to be part of the GLB brew crew, I suggest you book April 8 on your calendar. And if you want more info, use the dedicated address collective (at) greatleapbrewing.com.

Closing time: Wine bar Xiao Ju waves goodbye tonight

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Hutong wine bar Xiao Ju will hold its closing party tonight, with word the team plans to reopen a restaurant in a new space. In announcing the party, Xiao Ju also released a few statistics, namely, the venue has witnessed 12 successful marriage proposals, held 368 tastings and served 8563 bottles of wine. Tonight’s party is from 7:30 PM to 9 PM and will include live music, snacks and, of course, wine. There will also be discounts on takeaway bottles.

Xiao Ju is in Mao’er Hutong, about 100 meters off Nanluguoxiang.

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New venues: Yu Bar and Mexican Kitchen & Bar

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Yu Bar and Mexican Kitchen & Bar have opened in the former Cru Wine Bar space by the Sanlitun Youth Hostel.

The venues offer seating at the bar or in three narrow table-filled areas, with the decor dominated by wood and illuminated by the now-standard Edison lighting. One room has a row of beer fridges stocked with about 100 options, El Nido-style.

Mixed drinks start at rmb30 (rmb25 during happy hour) and there are a few nifty whiskies behind the bar, including a few Japanese single malts. As for beer, I grabbed a bottle of Asahi, a reasonable rmb15. That beer is also on tap, at rmb23 for 500 ml, along with several other options.

When I stopped on Wednesday around midnight, the sole table of patrons was engaged in the most raucous dice game I’ve seen in years, so I split after a quick beer and will return for another look soon.

And to try the food. The menu lists chips and salsa (rmb18). buttitos (from rmb45), and nachos and fajitas (from rmb50).

(Thanks to DW for the heads up.)

Brew chews: Jing-A might be adding delicious mini burgers

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A few weeks ago, I taste-tested some dishes the guys at Jing-A Taproom were messing with in the kitchen (see collage above). They included fish and chips (crispy batter, delicate flavors, nice) and beer can chicken with the feet attached (the meat was tender and juicy but I think the bad-ass look of the bird merited a funky dipping sauce or spicy rub). It was all good fun, although Jing-A already has some dependable options like the grilled cheese and the meat and cheese plate.

Anyway, I stopped in this week for Wednesday night chili, also a tasty option, and had a chance to try another experiment: the yet-to-be-named Jing-A mini burger. Now, this is something that should be on the menu. Tender juicy grilled patties topped with bacon, Yunnan water buffalo cheese, rocket, tomato and a tangy “secret sauce”. I temporarily abandoned my chili to mow down those two burgers. Word is the the recipe is being fine-tuned, and will include some funky pickles, which means even more potential for what is already a tasty snack.

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Hump Day Drinks: Okra, BBC Team Up for Cocktail Fun

BBC and Okra are joining forces on Wednesdays for cocktail fun. BBC’s Doug and Linch were at Okra last night doing some “hump day concoctions“, including a Taketsuru sour that includes “bamboo charcoal salt”. Given I hadn’t been to Okra in ages, I decided to check out the two-for-one signature cocktails during the happy hours, 6 PM to 8 PM, and recommend the Bloody Mary. I plan to return and try some of those BBC drinks.

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Bagels in Beijing: New Tavalin Shop Opening in a Few Days

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The new Tavalin Bagels shop, by staff from the old Tavalin Bagels shop, is slated to open in a few days. It’s across from the west side of Yashow Market, just around the corner from the old Tavalin bagel shop, which has been rented by Andy’s Craft Sausages and should also open soon. The shop only has space for a couple of people inside but is beside a patio that can handle up to a dozen seats. Look for a similar lineup of bagels, although let’s hope they up the production on the “everything” option, as those were perpetually sold out.

Snacking in Sanlitun: Mr Shi’s Dumplings Now Open

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Satisfied a late-afternoon hunger yesterday at the new Mr. Shi’s Dumplings in Sanlitun, thanks to a heads up from Sue Zhou. This place is on the same street as Nearby the Tree and just west of the old Two Guys and a Pie space. There are tons of options, fried or boiled, including lots with cheese. Look for an official opening party, possibly as soon as next Thursday.

Niche Vendors: Spaces at Chaoyang Park, Sanlitun South Available

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One of the best things about the food and drink scene in Beijing is the growing number of niche vendors who make everything from bacon to bagels, cupcakes to coffee, mala sausage to meatballs — lots of them were at the recent Jue Market.

Over the past few days, I have heard about a few available spaces that might fit some of these business.

One is Deli De Luxe, at Chaoyang Park, which is up for rent. This is a cozy space that seats about ten, has a decent kitchen for a place this size, and, for those businesses focused on delivery, is close to plenty of residential areas. Word is the rent is reasonable and there is about a year left on the lease, which would provide a nice amount of time to test-drive a business idea.

The other spaces are at the front of Nanjie, in Sanlitun South, increasingly the go-to area for those seeking Western comfort food. The owner at Nanjie is planning to create two spaces out front — about the size of the Tavalin bagels: see drawing below — that will be especially good at night when there is heavy foot traffic.

I don’t know all of the details on leases or rents, so if you’re interested, please contact the owners. If you don’t know the owners, let me know at beijingboyce (at) yahoo.com or ‘beijingboyce’ on weixin, and I’ll connect you.

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