Dada bird: Rare species gives Beijing club extra life

Our fine-feathered friends nearly saved veteran Gulou area club Dada with an, ahem, ‘coop’ d’etat. The club was facing imminent closure last month but the discovery by inspectors of an apparently rare pecies nesting inside and outside the venue raised hopes a respite might be in order—at least until the eggs hatched, the fledglings left the nest and the parents moved to Shenzhen like everyone else seems to be doing these days.

Dada founder Michael Ohlsson explained this when I joined a Gulou pub crawl with his team last Saturday before we headed to Dada for what seemed potentially possibly maybe the final ight. All hopes were on a rare swallow literally giving the bird to fate. (Insert Monty Python European swallow vs African swallow joke here.)

Alas, those hopes are gone with the wind, along with the birds, which flew away today, says Ohlsson. Dada is officially closed.

“We did get an extra two weeks because of them,” he added. “They would have kicked us out on May 15 if it weren’t for the birds.”

That’s nevertheless a bittersweet ending for the club, although it avoided closing far longer than its also much-loved neighbor, Temple Bar.

“It’s pretty heartbreaking. I put nine years into that place. I love the space, I love all the history in there, I love the vibe and feng shui,” he says. “Of all my projects in China, it’s probably my favorite, so it was really painful to let it go.”

But there is a glimmer of hope. Ohlsson says once renovations are done, there is a small chance that Dada can return, though the space won’t look the same. In the meantime, he is moving ahead with construction on a new location near Ritan Park.

Some photos from last Saturday night’s fun in Dada.

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