Three quick reviews from my first Saturday—September 28!—back from vacation:
1. Shanghai-based craft beer operation Boxing Cat launched a Beijing pop-up about a month ago in the former Okra / Traitor Zhou’s space directly across from fellow brewers Jing-A. Boxing Cat has generally been deemed the quality leader in China’s craft beer scene and was bought this year by global player Anheuser-Busch InBev.
I’ve enjoyed Boxing Cat beers at festivals and the two brews I had Saturday kept that streak alive. My friend was less impressed. He ordered a beer because the staff said it was popular but didn’t get past the first sip—I ended up trading him my milder lager. As craft beers tend to be much hoppier than mass-produced ones, perhaps it would be good to find out a newcomer’s bitterness preferences, especially as Boxing Cat only had four customers, including us. In any case, I do like the beers and will be back to try more. [I’ve since returned for a beer-food pairing dinner and will post on that soon.]
2. Sugar is two floors above Beer Mania in Taiyue Suites and feels like someone took an open kitchen / dining area and turned it into a cocktail bar. There are touches of pink and blue neon, a mishmash of chairs (some comfortable, some not) and martinis a bit steep at rmb85. If my visit was any indication, you better be a Norah Jones fan. Like, the biggest fan. Not my cup of tea, but Sugar might be yours.
3. It’s been months since my last visit to Press Release. While this place can feel a touch pretentious, it is one of the best bar additions of 2017. Good cocktails (try the Paris Boulevardier), nice presentation and music that defines kick back. The decor is smart and the owner is attentive and patiently explains the menu to new customers.
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