Another interesting new bar has appeared in my neighbourhood, which is, strangely, still flying well below the radar, despite having opened its doors a month or so ago now.
It is pretty much the nearest bar to my home: a bit further than Cangku and Zui Yuefang, roughly the same distance as Modernista and Mai, but rather easier for me to get to than any of these, since it is adjacent to the Andingmen Qiao roundabout, where it is fairly straightforward to cross the 2nd Ringroad (there's even a tianqiao [footbridge] nearby, but that's hardly necessary).
It's a bit swish for my taste: a renovated siheyuan, with a loungey feel to it. But the standard of decor is most impressive, and the small open courtyard sandwiched between the two lounge areas will be a very mellow hangout in the warmer months.
The prices - at least, in this initial trying-to-woo-a-clientele phase - are extremely reasonable: most cocktails and mixed drinks are 25-40rmb, and even the formidably strong Long Island Iced Tea is only 45rmb - surely one of the cheapest in town these days.
There's a broad range of imported beers too, including one from North Korea (the Belgian proprietor has a six-weeks-on-six-weeks-off kind of job in Pyongyang, and gets friends to bring in the odd bottle or two of the stuff for him in suitcases). Because of its extreme rarity, this one is priced at an offputting 50rmb (and you're unlikely to want to try it more than once; it's OK, but nothing very remarkable); but most of the other brews are again quite a bit less than you'd expect in a joint this swank. I suspect these good times can't last - so get in there to take advantage while you can.
On the demerit side: there's no draught beer, only bottled (a major drawback for me), and the selection tends towards the poncey end of things (what can we expect from such beer-fetishists as the Belgians?!); the staff are still finding their feet; and there are currently only one or two menus, which are mounted in picture frames (an annoying affectation), and in such small print that they are quite hard to read.
Oh yes, and then there's the name... Chill. Words fail me. I can scarcely imagine a crappier name for a bar. I actually find it seriously off-putting. And I don't think I'm alone. Two or three people I've introduced the place to have cringed at the mention of the name as well.
A pity, because it's really a very promising bar indeed. I think a name-change is in order.