Sips & bites: Beijing’s best cocktails, plus The Bar at Migas, Bottega, The Den & more

phil tory bungalow tiki and cocktail bar beijing.jpg

The city’s best cocktails are at Bungalow Tiki and Cocktail Bar. So says Julian Tavalin, former Beijing bagel whiz kid and now budding drinks aficionado.

I’ve been pushed by Tavalin via weixin for a week to visit Bungalow. He’s adamant:

  • “You must really go when you get a minute. I don’t care much for cocktails in general but [owner] Phil [Tory] makes me a believer.”
  • “I wouldn’t tell you to go if the cocktails weren’t amazing. They’ve got everybody at work all excited.”
  • “Go to Phil’s man. I’m not just telling you because he’s a friend. I’m telling you because he really makes some amazing cocktails and you’ll be impressed.”
  • “I would suggest when you go, don’t order off the menu. Just sit at the bar and talk with him. He will do one of those ‘Are you in the mood for…?’ [conversations] and then make a really cool drink.
  • “[Phil] made me all kinds of drinks that were awesome. He wipes flavors into the glass and all this weird shit and loves every moment of it. I’m thinking ‘Is this really necessary?’, then I taste it and I’m like ‘Wow, maybe it was’.”
  • “He’s like a safari guide through the land of cocktails.”
  • “Here’s something my other friend sent to me today. ‘I’m very proud of Phil Tory. I’d given up on cocktails in this city. When I saw Woody Allen at the Carlyle Hotel, I had the best cocktails I’d ever tasted. There is nothing like them, I swear it, though they’ll cost you 25 U.S. before tips. Phil’s are the only ones that equal this. And he really cares. I have huge respect for this.”
  • “I stand by my word it’s the best cocktail I’ve had in Beijing. It’s the cocktail that got me off the fence and into the cocktail camp.”

Sounds like Tavalin has gone freaky for tiki. At this rate, I expect to find a drink to soon be named after him — The Tavy Grog? Anyway, I was unable to get to Bungalow–or anywhere else for that matter–during the past week due to other obligations but will check it out soon. Find it at 82 Dongsijiutiao, behind Zhangzihonglu subway stop, exit C (see this map). It’s open daily from 6 PM to midnigh

Traitor Zhou’s should finally be opening and selling cured meat, doughnuts, cream cheese, bagels, condiments and more in the next few weeks. Renovations on the Nali Patio shop, in the former Migas lab space, are underway and will be siblin to outlets in 1949: The Hidden City and 789 Art District.

Speaking of Migas, look for The Bar to double as an eatery over the summer months, with a special focus on ceviche. In the restaurant proper, the back area that seats about two dozen people will soon be converted into a private room.

Enoterra has a 50 percent off deal on wine by the glass from 4 PM to 8 PM daily, including weekends. There are about a dozen options: try the Portuguese red. The rooftop is being renovated and will open soon.

Speaking of happy hours, both the Sanlitun and Lido outlets of Gung Ho have a daily buy one, get one deal from 5:30 PM to 8:30 PM.

And Bottega, in the same alley as Alameda, has half-price calzone and Stella draft on Mondays.

The Den has added a huge burger to its pub grub options. This whopper costs rmb158 and, I’m told, will feed five or six people. I’m still partial to the chicken Cordon Bleu and the nasi gareng.

Finally, notable birthdays last weekend included rum-focused bar Mas, which marked three years in business just off Ghost Street, and Orchid Hotel in Baochao Hutong, which celebrated four years.

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