RIP The Den | Beijing bar legend closes on Sunday

The Den Closing in Beijing

About six weeks ago, when word spread that The Den would close, I went there for lunch on what was reportedly going to be its last day. As I ate my first last meal (the ever-reliable eggs Benedict), veteran staff member Lisa, who has worked at The Den for 16 years, said that yes, indeed, the place was closing. Halfway through the meal, a bunch of guys in military suits and peaked caps entered and started inspecting the place and eventually headed upstairs with the management. I was nearly halfway through my second last meal (the ever-reliable chicken cordon bleu) when that group came back downstairs and left and I was told the place would instead remain open. Yay, The Den was saved!

I’ve visited The Den a few times since then and it’s future did not seem sure. Notably, one night a few weeks ago people were listing their names to a kind of petition to show their support for The Den. Hmmm. Thus, it didn’t come as a big surprise when Big C sent me the above image of an announcement that The Den will close this Sunday.

The Den has always been an intriguing place. When I arrived in Beijing, it was far more raucous, due to a dance space on the second floor and Maggie’s just up the street at Workers Stadium. The Den still has a somewhat dubious reputation, given occasional late-night shenanigans, but it is far more than that. It has has supported local sports teams, been a haven for watching games, offered one of the best happy hours with beer and pizzas half-price daily from 5 PM to 10 PM, and served decent pub grub year in and year out. It’s been a place to meet friends, have a few drinks and some food, and chill out. The staff members deal with a lot of jackasses and can be tough at times, but if you act decently, they are sweet. Anyway, I will miss this place. I’m out the door now but will have more on The Den soon.

The Den Beijing (3)
The eggs Benedict. At 5 PM or 5 PM, they hit the spot.
The Den Beijing (2)
Grabbing a pint six weeks ago with some Den friends.

The Den Beijing

1 Comment

  1. Crikey. Another sad day. As you said, Jim, the Den was once notorious, then mildly dubious, but always reliable and, if approached with the right attitude, always welcoming. I’ve taken so many foreign clients to the Den for their first beers in China, and not a small number for their 1000th beers in China (or even the long weekend). And remember The Denmark, in Aug ’08? Best National House ever. Vale, Den.

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