By Jim Boyce | Beijing bar veterans and friends Jack Zhou and Ah Jian are teaming up to transform Groovy Schiller’s, formerly Nearby the Tree. This space has always seemed underutilized. While the first floor, partitioned into nooks and crannies, tends to be busy with a beer-first crowd, that wide-open second floor sees far less use. Plans are underway to rectify the situation.
The first-floor toilets are currently being renovated and the kitchen has already been redesigned for more efficiency. But the real change is in terms of the menu. Zhou will continue to manage downstairs, where the key libation is beer. Ah-Jian will take over upstairs and shift the focus to quality cocktails. This is a promising shift given his adept mixology skills at The Bar. Look for a special theme, and a new name, when that second floor—still open for use—launches anew in four to six weeks.
Both Zhou and Ah Jian started in the business at The Tree. Ah Jian also opened venues such as Shooters, 2F and The Bar. Zhou turned 1F into a success story, then transformed Schiller’s into Groovy Schiller’s near the Liangma River. When the authorities reclaimed that space last year, the brand moved to Nearby the Tree.
I’ll update more on the cocktail list as details become available.