Sips & Bites: Godfather Bar, Tafelspitz, BBC, Yubar, Irish Volunteer, Q Mex, Beer Mania, Pizza Plus, Pizza Express, Kenny’s Burgers

Ten photos and captions about drinks gulped, foods guzzled and stuff observed in the Beijing bar and restaurant scene…

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I finally had the fish and chips at Godfather Bar and Randy, Ray, Bruce, Hailie and everyone else is right: delicious! I find plenty of fish is overcooked and heavily battered, but this one was moist— almost juicy–and with a light coating. Paired with thick-cut fries, a salad with a flavor boost from shaved almonds and pine seeds, and an ice-cold Coopers, this was a tasty treat. Good value, too, at rmb85, including the beer. You can find Godfather Bar across the the Brazilian Embassy and beside Caravan near Ritan Park.

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Austrian restaurant Tafelspitz is now open on the fourth floor of Nali Patio. Thanks to an invite from DZ Rider, I was able to sample some top-notch eats, including schnitzel, at a pre-opening party. This place also has several dozen Austrian wines, including some nice options from Heinrich.

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It’s been a while since I last visited BBC and this bar still cranks out quality cocktails. I enjoyed a pair of good gin drinks, including a spin on the Alfonso Special. You can find BBC in the same alley as Frost and Big Smoke, just off Xingfucun Middle Road, north of Workers Stadium.

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I really want to like Yubar, near Sanlitun youth hostel, as the layout is nice and the staff is friendly. But my first two trips left much to be desired. During the most recent one, I ordered the house beer to find it stale and smelling of sour wheat. Meanwhile, human guinea pig Dustin–pictured above–tried The Swimming Pool, a drink with vodka, milk and a bunch of other stuff. He quickly pulled the plug on that drink–and I apologized for suggesting he try it– and switched to a White Russian that was okay. If you go, your best bet might be one of the dozens of whiskies or the bottled beers in the fridge.

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Word came last weekend that a trio armed with sledgehammers and a pair of pliers were on hand to take off the front extension of The Irish Volunteer and Hockey Bar. It appears they got as far as taking down the IV sign and removing a few counter tops before the two parties at odds–the landlord when the additions were made and the landlord who now owns the space–headed to the police station for negotiations. A visit to IV earlier this week revealed no further damage to the facade thus it appears cooler heads prevailed.

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A nacho pizza at Q Mex. I know it sounds weird but this pie is delicious. And it’s half-price on Tuesday nights.

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Chimay Red plus Belgian fries with Beer Mania’s house sauce. Not a bad way to mark 5:30 PM on a Friday afternoon.

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This might be my favorite mow-down pizza, the kind of pie that you guzzle in less than five minutes. It’s the capriciossa from Pizza Plus and includes ham, green olives and artichokes. I had it with a bunch of wines at the shop La Cava de Laoma in Sanlitun Soho, which allows customers to order in food.

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I took this a few weeks ago, so maybe things have been spruced up, but remember when this space was Blue Frog and drew a big happy hour and evening drinks crowd? Now it looks like it would fit better into a primary school playground.

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Kenny’s Burgers, headed by Kenny Fu, is open on the first floor of Nali Patio. I haven’t been by yet but friends say Fu does a mean patty. Review coming soon.

Yolanda’s Secret: New wine bar near Yashow Market

Photos by Yolanda's Secret Wine Bar in Sanlitun Beijing China (2)Yolanda’s Secret Wine Bar opened last week close to Yashow Market. You will find it down the street from Mr Shi’s Dumplings, across from cocktail bar Miles and beside Blissful Nomnoms.

This is a cozy spot with both bar and table seating. I made a quick stop during the opening night–thanks for the heads up Edouard–and the place was bustling with friends of the owners. I saw wines from big distributors like ASC and Torres and am told there are also products from niche operators, including grower’s Champagne importer Seina. I’m also told this place will source desserts from L’Atelier and cheeses from local producer Fromager de Pekin.

That’s all I know at the moment. I’ll visit soon to learn more about this place!Photos by Yolanda's Secret Wine Bar in Sanlitun Beijing China (3)

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Pizza will kill me. What’s going to get you?

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Saw this sign yesterday near Workers Gymnasium.

“Find What You Love And Let It Kill You”.

I guess you can already arrest Pizza Plus’ capricciosa pie for murder, with a dry gin martini as an accessory to the crime.

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The new Q: Beijing bar veteran almost ready for relaunch


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Work is coming along nicely on the new Q Bar atop the Eastern Inn in Sanlitun South. Look for a new color scheme, an upgrade on that super long bar, and a shift from the Edison lighting that has become the default at most every other watering hole in Beijing.

Owner George Zhou and his partners plan to have this place open within a week or two. I stopped by yesterday as the workers were finishing the paint job, removing the construction materials and installing the lights. I’m told this weekend will see the new floor go in and fridges pulled from their crates and installed.

As with the former Q, there will also be a rooftop patio with a 270-degree view, although it will only be about half to two-thirds of the former size during this first summer of the relaunch. More details to come as the launch of the new Q nears.

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These lights are a nightmare to assemble.

Steak outs: FatFace launching The Smokeyard in Sanlitun, Wudaokou

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The guys at FatFace Dining are part of team that is launching a restaurant chain called The Smokeyard, with the first two outlets to open in Wudaokou, near Lush and Eatalia, within a week, and in Sanlitun, in the former F by Tribute space, within two weeks.

The menu will include about 20 items, including steaks, ribs and sliders, with the meat hailing from Heilongjiang. Look for this place to grab a seat at the table near Flamme and O’Steak. Prices will be competitive: I’m told a 150-gram steak with sides will be rmb98.

As for drinks, the focus will be wine and beer, with brew from the guys at Lark in Beixinqiao on tap for about rmb20 per pint. Word is the wine list will be created by Weiley Lu from The Loop.

Finishing touches were being put on the interior at the Sanlitun branch last night and it should be about ten days before it opens.

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