I wrote last week about how, depending on whose opinion you accept, Bungalow might have the best cocktails in the universe. I finally made it to this hutong tiki bar last Saturday to try them.
Bungalow won’t win any awards for decor unless a bunch of dry grass, old fishing rope and knickknacks are the new definition of fashion. But this place easily makes up for it with drinks and with the five or six high tables outside around which to guzzle them.
On this night, owner / bartender Phillip Tory had Evan Williams Old-Fashioneds on special for rmb30. (No typo, thirty kuai.) These concoctions — with three dashes of bitters and a spray of citrus oil — were bursting with flavor. And while a bar focused on tiki drinks makes one think of rum, the American whisky list impresses, with 20 options, including Bulleit at rmb30, Buffalo Trace at rmb35, Maker’s Mark at rmb40.
As for those rum drinks, expect about two dozen choices, including Mai Tais, Pina Coladas and Niu Nius. Tory can provide a wealth of info about mixology for those who want to stimulate both their minds and their taste buds.
I didn’t try any of his tiki drinks because Bungalow, which has about a half-dozen square meters of customer space, had drawn upwards of 50 patrons on this pleasant night and turned Tory into a cocktail-making maniac. He guessed he’d already made 100-plus drinks at that point–and even more the night before–and still had a dozen post-it notes worth of orders to fill. But the many inebriated patrons around me testified that the drinks were indeed tasty.
So, I stuck with my Old Fashioned and a beer — the fridge has a bunch of options, with a Belgian bent — and will return next time on a school night.
Bungalow is at 82 Dongsijiutaio Hutong, just behind exit C at the Zhangzishonglu subway stop. It’s open daily from 6 PM to midnight.