Tuesday, January 04, 2011

The worst bar in the world??

I actually took a look inside the long derided La Fite Exotic English Bar (well, actually it's 'Exotic British', but let's not be pedantic) the other day.

The upper mounting of the 'pull' handle on the outside door has become detached, rotates freely around the lower mounting, threatens to come off in your hand when you grab it.  And the staff just shrug at you dumbly with a "Yeah, it's broken; ha-ha" kind of look which implies to me that it is probably NEVER going to be fixed.  This alone could tell you just about everything you'd ever need to know about this irrelevance of a bar (in my latest Froog Bar Awards I gave it the title of the city's Most Pointless New Bar).  The 'a' in 'Bar' on their neon sign (which they never seem to switch on anyway) has already come loose and lolls upside down.  I'm told that they used to have a large fibreglass Alsatian outside (??!!), but they seem to have decided to get rid of that - after someone tore its head off.

The interior displays most of the typical Chinese vices: despite having a fair-sized space, they've thrown so much furniture in there that it feels cramped and cluttered; there's nothing that establishes any 'theme' or character to the place; the level of lighting is, of course, much too high; and there is a hint of an unaired, slightly musty sort of smell  (probably suggesting that some of the staff sleep on site).

Ah, the staff.... never having seen a customer before, they are uncertain how to respond to our intrusion.  They rouse themselves grudgingly from their slump of catatonic boredom, but cannot bring themselves to utter a single word towards us - not even a mumbled ni hao.  At least they don't attempt to stop me from picking up a menu for myself to peruse their prices.

Aha - and here's the really big problem.  Despite having absolutely nothing - apart, perhaps, from a few incongruously fancy leather-look upholstered benches - that could elevate them above the level of a quaint neighbourhood dive bar, their prices across the board are 5-10 rmb more than you'd generally expect.  25 rmb for a stubbie of Tsingtao?!  Get OUT of here!!

No, I did not stay for a drink.

The only thing that may possibly save this dire venue from the accolade of being Beijing's (and China's, and the world's) WORST bar is that it has two near neighbours - Looking and Camel Bar - which look as though they might be even more awful.

It fair brings a tear to the eye to think that the one remnant of the great old Sanlitun South Bar Street has sunk to this.....


Gary said...

LOL, it's stuff like this that makes me miss the Jing sometimes.

Is this place really on Nanjie? There ought to be A LAW!

Froog said...

Yeah, the top end of Nanjie got redeveloped into yet another SOHO complex (not as ugly as most of them, but still fairly deserted a year after opening), but the bottom couple of hundred yards is still there. Of course, there's no foot traffic any more - apart from a few people who live in directly adjacent apartment blocks.