Old street, new street, Side Street | New vibes near Friendship Store

Once upon a time, Xiushui South Street–on the flip side of the Friendship Store on Jiangguomen Outer Street–ranked among the hottest weekend brunch tickets in town. Grandma’s Kitchen and Steak & Eggs drew crowds at a time when the pickings were few and far between, with outdoor seats coveted during Beijing’s better-weather days. (And who could forget this logo?)

Plans for a comeback are in the works with the Friendship Culture and Art Industrial Park that aims to attract 100-plus local and foreign businesses. Some 45 percent are to be “culture exhibition enterprises”, with a noted target of creative industries such as film and TV, design and the fine arts.

The project is listed at 7600 square meters, with spaces from 20 square meters and up, and will include a good number of restaurants, bakeries, cafes and bars. (The rent rates I saw seem pretty reasonable if they are available long-term.)

Side Street is the most prominent new venue to set up shop thus far, putting the finishing touches this month on its venue just around the corner from New Orleans restaurant NOLA, with seating for over fifty, an island bar and a large patio area for those enjoying burgers and more. More venues are in the works: word is the team behind cocktail bar Arch is opening a new space, this one with a focus on wine.

I’ll update as more places open. By the way, I am more active with my Instagram and Twitter accounts, so if you want frequent updates, follow me there. Below are some photos I took near the Friendship Store on Friday. (Thanks to M.C. Quest for the heads up.)

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Get regular Beijing updates via my Instagram and Twitter feeds. Also see my sibling sites Grape Wall of China, World Baijiu Day and World Marselan Day. Help cover the hosting and other costs of these sites with a WeChat, AliPay or PayPal donation.

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