The irrepressible Badr Benjelloun (of music blog BeijingDaze and foodie blog The Noodle Diaries) has for a while been harbouring a mad ambition to open a little bar of his own. I hadn't known this until recently, but apparently football is another of his great passions; and, like me, he is thoroughly dissatisfied with Beijing's current provision in the 'sports bar' sector. Hence, his plan is to open a little hutong haven in central Beijing where we can enjoy watching a game without having to endure the chronic overcrowding of Paddy O'Shea's, the crappy beer and surliness of The Den, the hopeless disorganization of Luga's Villa, or the high prices and dire service of the Stumble Inn.
He began looking around for a space in earnest a couple of months ago, and finally secured a lease just a few days prior to my departure at the end of May. After a lightning-quick refurb, he's aiming to be open in a day or two, just in time for the start of the feast of international football that is the European Championships. He's calling the place Cuju (that's 蹴鞠, an ancient Chinese ball game that was somewhat football-like - a neat name for a sports bar).
Sharing also my concern over rising drink prices in Beijing's bars (though I don't know if he was directly influenced by this post), he assured me that he would be offering the capital's "best range of beers under 30rmb".
I'm very sorry not to be around for the opening night. I hope all goes well with the venture, Badr. And enjoy the football!!