Friday, November 25, 2011

HBH 261

Just a vague address
On a street with no numbers -
A hard-to-find bar!

Beijing is full of them. Just lately, new bars seem to have been opening up in the hutongs near me almost every week. But few of them will ever attract much custom, because they do damn-all to advertise. And because it is near impossible to describe to anyone where they are. Even Za Jia, the year’s best new opening, is very well hidden - and only reasonably readily locatable by virtue of its proximity to the prominent landmark of the Bell Tower.

I suppose things are better than they once were. The hutongs used to be largely unlabelled, even in Chinese; in preparation for the Olympics, they were all given street-signs in pinyin 4 or 5 years ago. But there’s still little or no street numbering. Finding a new bar can be a pain-in-the-arse.

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