Sips & Bites: Hockey Night in Beijing, Jing-A Brunch Deal, Capit’er Spirits,

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It’s the time of year to lace ’em up for Hockey Night in Beijing. This year’s event features The United States vs The World on May 15 and Canada versus Finland on May 16. That’s two chances to heckle the other team (“I’ve seen better hands on a digital clock!”) and the officials (“Hey ref, does your wife know you’re screwing us!?”) while cheering your own (“Holy moly, what a goalie!”). Get your tickets at The Irish Volunteer. Get details in the poster above.

I noted a few days ago that Jing-A now has weekend brunch from 11 AM to 2 PM. What I didn’t realize is that brunch is a special price during the “soft launch”: rmb98 gets you antipasto, a main and a dessert. Plus a free beer cocktail called the Beer Belly-ni if you post a picture of the brunch on WeChat or Instagram. Plus, it’s 10-kuai off all beers if you go on Sunday. See the menu here, RSVP at 6501-8883.

Finally, the guys at Capital Spirits will soon open a second bar. It’s kind of a secret. The only people who know are a bunch out of the thirty or so who were in the bar on Tuesday night. Plus, I’m guessing, the same on Wednesday night. And Thursday night. Also, several outside sources told me. Honestly, I am good at keeping secrets but there is a point when the word is out! Look for the new place to open within three months, to include plenty of spirits and to be within 500 miles — or was it 500 meters? — of the current one.

By the way, if you have ever wanted to explore baijiu in a non-ganbei environment, Capital Spirits is a must-go. Start with the intro flight — 10 ml shots of four different baijiu styles — for 40 kuai and chose a route from there. You can wash it down with refreshing Sinkiang lager.

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Get into the spirit: Three updates about World Baijiu Day

World Baijiu Day Logo 2

Posts on this site are a bit sparse these days as I juggle work, travel, bagels and World Baijiu Day. Here a triple shot of updates on the latter, er, spirit-ual event:

  • World Baijiu Day Bars: I’ve confirmed or am close to confirming venues in New York, Los Angeles, London, Paris, Taipei and, of course, Beijing, including Capital Spirits, Jing-A and Schoolhouse at Mutianyu. I’m also working on bars in cities such as Hong Kong, Buenos Aires, Christchurch and Adelaide, among others, as well as Shanghai, Chengdu and elsewhere in China.
  • World Baijiu Day Fun: The idea is to go “beyond ganbei” and the usual downing of shots until your skull explodes. That means everything from tasting flights to cocktails, from liqueurs to baijiu-inspired beer. Plus, as noted earlier, deep-fried baijiu.
  • Confessions of a Baijiu Drinker: This series shares first baijiu experiences, and how people came to appreciate this spirit, with some fun anecdotes as chasers. There have been three confessions thus far, by Lao SanPaul Mathew and me.

So, that’s about where World Baijiu Day stands for now. Check out the website here for updates on venues, for more confessions and for general news about baijiu. Next week I will also add a fancy interactive map — I’m still shocked I got the thing to work — that includes all of the participating venues.

Sips & bites: Tavalin Bagels, Andy’s Sausages, Jing-A, Infusion Bar, Meatball Company

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Got my bagel fix on Sunday at the new Tavalin shop, about 20 meters from the old one, just down that alley beside Revolution Bar. This place offers the same bagel choices, quality and prices as before but now has a three-table deck a nice distance from the street on which to enjoy them. You can get a buttered bagel and a coffee — and chill out — for rmb22.

Meanwhile, around the corner in the former Tavalin space, Andy’s Craft Sausages has opened. It has a similar seating setup as last year.

Over in Sanlitun South, Jing-A Taproom has added a brunch option and more outdoor seating. For rmb98, get antipasto, a choice of one of nine mains, ranging from Eggs Benedict to “Hungry Man’s Hash”, and a dessert. Also, all beers are rmb10 off on Sunday.

Look for Infusion Bar to open in this part of town in mid-May and include some very creative cocktails on the menu.

Finally, The Meatball Company has opened in the Gulou area, near 4corners. I haven’t been yet but the meatball sub above looks fantastic (Meatball Company pics courtesy of Justin C).

Cheers to CHEERS: Wine Shop Chain Celebrates Fourth Birthday Tonight

cheers fourth year anniversary

Cheers to CHEERS! This chain of wine stores will celebrate its fourth anniversary on Saturday night at its Gulou outlet. Since opening its first store, CHEERS has grown to more than a dozen outlets in Beijing, expanded last year to Chengdu and will soon open in Shanghai. Get your party ticket for rmb20 from one of the CHEERS shops or for rmb30 at the door tomorrow night. The party starts at 8 PM and includes free sparkling wine.

Check here for the address and directions.

IV is VI: The Irish Volunteer Turns Six This Weekend

first charity corntoss cornhole bean bag tournament beijing china at irish volunteer hockey bar (4)

It’s been called everything from the “best local in Beijing” to the “home of Canadian Pizza” to the “site of the most ferociously and valiantly fought corn hole tournaments ever held in China”. It’s The Irish Volunteer and it’s celebrating six years in business with a weekend of fun and games.

An extended happy hour starts on Friday afternoon (today) at 3 PM (now) and goes all the way until The IV closes on Sunday night.

Friday also features an NHL PS4 tournament at sibling The Hockey Bar next door. Sign up your two-player team by emailing Conor at conorsmith21 (at)

Saturday afternoon includes a full slate of activities, including:

  • Corn Hole (2 PM). Enjoy a sport that combines the accuracy of lawn darts and the excitement of curling. Seriously, this is addictive. Sign up your two-member team by emailing Trish at trishsmithus (at)
  • Beer Pong (3 PM). Do you like to drink beer? Do you like to bounce ping pong balls? Can you do both in a single afternoon? This game is for you!
  • Sjoelan (3 PM). A game of precision that also goes by the name “Dutch Shuffleboard”. More here.

There will also be a Power Hour on Saturday, from 1 PM to 2 PM, with TsingTao beers and Penalty Shots at rmb6 each.

Finally, on Sunday, catch NHL playoff games in the morning and play Blackjack in the afternoon from 2 PM.

And if even activities sound like too much, do what I usually do at The IV, which is grab a drink and a seat by the window and chat with fellow pub goers while watching both the fun inside and life going by outside. That atmosphere is what makes The IV such a good local.

The Irish Volunteer is on Jiangtai Lu, close to Metropark Lido Hotel Beijing.