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By: bulbinchina

Paper Planes

Unpretentious and friendly bar, buried in the basement offices of a commercial building. Not far off the beaten track in Sanlitun, like a lot of good bars in Beijing it’s sited in amongst offices and storage, but discretely signposted. I arrived close to midnight and most seats and tables were taken up. Staff spoke good English and offered a menu, but as this was my first time here I went for my test drinks of a Negroni followed by a Vesper. Both were well delivered after the barman came to talk to me about my preferences. After the initial successes I asked for bitter and smoky, resulting in a mezcal-based riff on the Negroni. We then drifted into a Fernet-Branca cocktail and closed out with a remarkable baijiu-based concoction that tasted like peaches but hit like baijiu. After a sad start to my evening after discovering my favourite Beijing bar (Janes & Hooch) was no more, this place quietly snuck up to replace it. The friendly bar staff played a big part in bringing that to fruition.

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2021-07-30 17:21

By: bulbinchina

BEI Zhoalong Hotel

Funky little place to stay with perhaps the most cool and attractive guests I’ve ever seen at a hotel. Location is perfect: right next to Tuanjiehu metro station and the eastern third ring road, and a five minute walk to Taikoo Li and Sanlitun Soho. There’s a cluster of bars, coffee shops and an izakaya connected to the hotel building, and the south Sanlitun bar and restaurant precinct is right next door too. The hotel itself seems to be a renovation of an older building. The ceilings are noticeably low and the rooms cosy, but if you’re in this location it’s not all about staying in the room, is it? Nonetheless, the staff are cool and helpful. There’s a lobby bar that seemed lively when I checked in close to 2300, and was magically repurposed into a shared breakfast space in the morning. Think long tables and bar seating, western and Chinese choices. My room was small, no bar fridge but it was clean, comfortable and came with a Nespresso machine. A good Bluetooth speaker and lots of mains and USB outlets around the room too. I was facing the ring road and didn’t notice the noise of traffic, but I did hear the sound of construction at the nearby metro line extension. I’d stay again.

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2021-07-30 17:08

By: bulbinchina

Sanlitun Taikoo Li South

Cool outdoor mall that centres Sanlitun. Taikoo Li South is the more affordable cousin to the higher end Taikoo Li North. Highlight: at the main entry facing the intersection of Gongti Bei Lu and Sanlitun Lu, there’s a bit of an alleyway that has become the haunt of fashion photographers, social media types and voyeurs. Local fashionistas like to sashay through here in their latest and greatest, hoping to catch the lenses of those standing ready. It’s well worth staking out to catch a glimpse: try the nearby Starbucks Reserve for window seating facing this area for an extended view of the parade in climate controlled comfort.

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2021-07-30 13:37

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