Unhappy hours | Sanlitun Sans Persons

The usually chaotic free-for-all blood pressure-inducing junction of Sanlitun South and Gongti North looked like this at 6 PM last night:

Eerie. Especially as the Chinese New Year holidays should have ended by now and the city’s flow returned to normal.

I took this photo en route to Hulu, my first restaurant / bar visit since January 21. I’ve spent nearly two weeks at home, save occasional market forays for food and water, during this ongoing coronavirus situation.

The usual bustling Swire Taikooli Village South, home to Hulu, reflected the barrenness of that junction, with the Intercontinental Hotel glowing surgical mask blue in the background:

I met RP at Hulu and we indulged in the superb happy hour: two Negroni sets are just rmb65.

As you can see, Hulu was empty, though several tables of guests arrived a little later. It felt surreal. (“I had this weird dream last night where I went to Hulu and it was empty.”) We also did a round of martinis, also priced at two for rmb65.

Those arrived just in time for a momentous chronological moment, when it was 8:02 PM on February 2, 2002 aka 200202022002.

Anyway, Hulu has a general “kill them with kindness” policy, so on top of the four cocktails and mini burgers trio we ordered, the masked staff also gave us two glasses of sparking wine, two shots of Limoncello, mixed nuts and an order of garlic shoestring fries.

(Hulu’s happy hours are 5:30 PM to 8 PM daily until further notice. The restaurant is open 11:30 AM to 2 PM and 5:30 PM to close, and will start delivery service on Wednesday).

Emboldened, and tipsy, from our Hulu experience, we headed to nearby Groovy Schiller’s for a beer. This place, with a strong regular crowd, had more people though it was far from full.

RP got a Guinness while I sipped Tennent’s: try the IPA. Groovy Schiller’s is opening at 2 PM on February 3 and 4, due to a staff shortage. And while they aren’t running their food deals at the moment, those in the WeChat group can play the daily meal giveaway game. Oh, Groovy Schiller’s also has a very nice Schnapps collection.

Anyway, with a couple of beers under my belt. I ended my first trip on the town in nearly two weeks and headed home. Not surprisingly, the streets looked like this:

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