Centro: Provides happy hour value, protects your nuts

centro martinis peanuts kerry center beijing china

Centro, the first bar I visited when I moved to Beijing over a decade ago, offers good happy hour value. Two martinis, and well-made ones at that, for 80 kuai? That strikes me as around the same price as when I first visited this place.

And Centro also offers a solution to the peanut-sharing problem, namely, that only about half of the men who use the toilet wash their hands after doing so* and thus any time you find yourself sharing gratis snacks at a table with four guys the odds are two of them are adding extra flavor.

The Centro solution? Forget bowls and go for narrow containers like that pictured below. One must tip to get at the snacks and that lessens the chances of getting someone else’s sweat on your nuts.

* Based on one decade of observations.

centro martinis peanuts kerry center beijing china (2)

Parachute club: Four hours of free booze at DB Cooper on Saturday

db cooper jeans and sports bar sanlitun soho beijing china (2)

DB Cooper” the man hijacked a Boeing 727 in 1971 and — after ordering the passengers off, the authorities to load USD200,000 on, and, once back in the air, the skeleton crew to stay in the cockpit — parachuted from 3,000 meters into a stormy night. He was never found and his case remains the sole unsolved air-jacking in U.S. history.

“DB Cooper” the Sanlitun Soho store is named after the man and is primarily a jeans retailer, although the space also includes a cafe, and a 360-degree video room, powered by 20 projectors, where themed dinners costs thousands of renminbi, and staff members dressed as airline pilots.

On Saturday this spot will add another quirk in the form of a sports bar focused on cheap drinks (think Heaven Supermarket). That mission will launch with four hours — 8 PM to midnight — of select free flow cocktails popular in the early 1970s (think Screwdrivers).

The plan is for DB Cooper to then operate as a sports bar daily from 9 PM till 2 AM, and possibly at other times if demand is sufficient. According to a post on weixin, the drink options will include shots at 10 kuai, beer from 10 kuai and cocktails at 20 kuai. And for entertainment, there will be darts, Xbox games and karaoke, as well as a massive screen for viewing sports.

DB Cooper is in Sanlitun Soho on the B1 Level of Building 6 (southwest corner of the complex) in the same general area as Don Chicken and the new N Beer Pub.

See poster below for exact address / apparent expected vibe.

db cooper promo

Smoke show: The Bar takes over By the Tree, opens BBQ joint

brisket ribs etc at the bar-b-q in by the tree sanlitun beijing china.jpg

The guys at The Bar have turned downstairs neighbor By the Tree into the city’s newest meat lover’s joint, one not surprisingly named The Bar-B-Q. While pizzas will still be available from The Tree downstairs, the hungry can now also get brisket, ribs, sweet potato fries and more. See the photos for options and prices.

This is the most recent project by Jack Zhou and Ah-Jin, whose resumes include stints at The Tree, Shooters, 1F and 2F. Zhou is also a daily fixture at Groovy Schiller’s.

Hole foods: Bagels available from Traitor Zhou’s

traitor zhou's beijing logo

Where to get bagels now that Tavalin is closed? One option is from Traitor Zhou’s.

Max Levy, known for his work at Okra, is making bagels to order. For the moment, these are only available around Sanlitun, the minimum order is a dozen (at rmb12 per bagel) and people need to order one day in advance.

“There are real bagels”, says Levy. “We malt our own syrup from barley and we use our own live starter for the dough. They are boiled and then baked on stone.”

Look for more bagel access after Chinese New Year as Levy plans to not only open a new deli but also stock the bagels — and hopefully other items he makes, such as doughnuts and cream cheeses, including plain, chorizo, salted plum and miso caramel flavored — at locations about town.

You can find contact details for Traitor Zhou’s here.  Levy says the easiest way to place your order is through the weixin account “Traitor Zhous”.

Temple Restaurant Beijing is open — and promoting China wine — as usual.

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Much chatter these days about Temple Restaurant Beijing and whether or not it is open, given Chinese media reports that unregistered private clubs operating within temple grounds in Beijing are being or will be shut down.

First, TRB is open. Second, TRB is not private, but public, and anyone can dine there. Third, to the best of my knowledge, TRB is fully registered.

TRB deserves the opposite attention it is getting, namely, it should be recognized as promoting China. I don’t simply mean it is a superb restaurant with exceptional service and that is good for the status of Beijing. I mean that no restaurant has done more to promote Chinese wine than TRB. It has the biggest and best menu — with more than two dozen options — and has been responsible for giving countless people their first good experience of local wine.

If you are interested in more about TRB and wine, check out it’s online wine shop.

(Photos are from a dinner last month at TRB.)