Three new bars this week are on our radar. We went for a little bookish sophistication plus cocktails from Above the Globe and then checked out the two new bars on Dagu Lu.
Above the Globe
What it is: Above the Globe -- to get there, you follow the signs on the building directing you to a small service-elevator that takes you upstairs. To the right is a gate and a tastefully subdued lounge-bar with a trio of Shakespeare’s protagonists shining down on patrons. There are a couple of bar stools, a quartet of semi-circular booths at the back, and plenty of cushioned benches and tables around. There’s also a little arched cubby on the bar, providing a little privacy for two people, though it does seem a bit jarring, jutting up from the countertop.
The Bard’s trio on the wall aren’t just empty symbolism; the bar’s big thing is their triumvirate of cocktail menus, each associated with one of old Billy’s favorite genres; history, tragedy, and comedy. “History” features some ye olde throwbacks like the Yacht Club (100rmb) and Savoy Corpse Reviver (110rmb), and quite a bit of cognac. The other two are full of Eddy’s own inventions, often with on-the-nose names directly referencing the bar’s theatrical inspiration; “Tragedy” is meant to be bitter and strong, with stuff like the Sleep No More (100rmb), while “Comedy” is light and approachable, with sweet, fruity drinks like Drama in the Globe (100rmb) and Russian Spring Punch (120rmb).
First Impressions: The cocktails are Tailor quality, and so are the prices. Running from 90rmb to 130rmb, the list has plenty to offer those with some money to spend on the sort of cocktail you’re meant to sip from, frown and smack your lips at pensively. We tried the Lightning & Cream (100rmb), which was a slightly tart, creamy thing with blueberries. The Derby (100rmb) was a pleasantly simple drink, but the Sleep No More was a stand-out of the three. Espresso, mate tea, coffee liqueur and Remy VSOP makes for a tall glass of refreshing iced-tea/cold-drip coffee like flavor.
The space is cozy, maybe a bit poorly lit, but the decor is nice. It looks a bit like it should be the scene of some neo-noir film, maybe the next John Wick, a sort of retro-industrialist art deco… something. Main take-away is that if you like quality, pricy cocktails, or you’d like to take someone to a place that feels a little hidden, a little cool, but not obnoxiously so, you might want to check it out.
What it is: The inspiration for the name comes, partially, from Caxton Street in Brisbane, adjacent to a rugby ground and home to the famous Caxton Hotel. Appropriate, because the bar’s “thing” is that they’ll be primarily showing rugby games. They might put the Premiere League on if there's nothing else on. Putting rugby first, ladies and gentlemen. They’ll be posting the schedules on their website (when it’s up) and their WeChat channel (when that’s up as well). To those ends, they have six screens and two projectors, one in the front, so it’ll be visible from their terrace, the other in the little quasi-VIP room at the back. As far as we can tell, there were only about four seats in the entire building where there wasn’t a clearly visible TV-screen at all times.
Beer selection is fairly short for now, but it’s looking like they’ll be bringing in new ones on the regular and they’ve got a long line of taps behind the bar. At the moment, they’ve got Carlsberg (35rmb), Tiger (40rmb), Stella Artois (55rmb), Hoegaarden (65rmb) and Guiness (65rmb) as your standards, along with a pair of Boxing Cats and Brew Dogs. They’re also rotating in seasonal beers. Apart from that, you’ve got your liquors and a couple of things in bottles, including Sommersby Apple Cider (40rmb) and the Australian Pure Blonde (40rmb), and some cocktails, including The Caxton, a fruity, tropically thing that’ll run you 58rmb.
The third leg on this bar-stool is, of course, the pub grub. The grub is in fact, very pubby. Buffalo wings (50rmb), Nachos (50rmb), Chicken Masala (75rmb), burgers from 75-85rmb, and a couple of pizzas, it has what you want to go along with your pint as you’re watching grown men ram into each other at full speed.
First Impressions: The food’s decent, we tried some of the less obvious stuff, like the cauliflower in buffalo sauce, which was a good idea, but a bit too soggy for our taste, we’d like to see a little less sauce. The jalapeño poppers, wrapped in bacon and filled with cheese were, however, perfect drinking accompaniments and went very well with the Tuatara Sauvignova (impossible to pronounce after a few drinks) craft brew from New Zealand they have on their seasonal tap.
It’s basically a smaller, more intimate version of The Camel. It’s less slick and polished, minus the darts and the pool tables, but it’s a nice container for the championship night atmosphere that these places live or die on. Max said “we’re not really looking to be anything more than a place where you can grab a drink and watch the game.”
You know what, sounds good; just in time for Six Nations.
What it is: An urban hip, brushed-concrete bar, with neon signs and pop-art on the walls, the sort of cultural-melting-pot hangout that inevitably coagulates in metropolitan areas. The menu features solid lunch and dinner fare, drinking encouraged. Definite French feel to it; apart from the roast potatoes and ratatouille sides, they have several flammekuche / tarte flambé (like a French pizza) options, and a French Burger for 108rmb.
A new challenger appears on the suddenly-buzzing rotisserie chicken scene. That’s an arcade reference, you’ll see why we did that in a bit. Courtesy of the second-floor rotisserie, which is also the base of delivery service Pop Chicken (previously Chick’n Run, no relation to POP), the chicken comes with three sauces that cover spicy, sweet and savory. You can get it whole plus 4 sides for 188rmb or half plus 2 sides for 98rmb. Sides include stuff like mashed potatoes, a garden salad, the aforementioned ratatouille and more.
The sign behind the bar proclaims their allegiance to the Mojito Republic, and they’re proud of it. They're serving at the nifty price-point of 50rmb, featuring Classic, Passion Fruit and Strawberry variations, with more on the way. They also do Caipiroskas for the same price with the same flavors.
First Impressions: The chicken was really good. Juicy, flavorful and the selection of sauces kept it interesting. At 188rmb for a whole animal plus 4 decently-sized sides, that’s good value for money in our opinion. As for the mojitos, they weren’t mind-blowing, but they were clean, solid mojitos. The fruity flavors were more subtle than we expected, but it was actually kind of refreshing. The caipiroskas were a similar bag.
And again, those arcade cabinets. Winning combination. There are literally 600+ games in each of the two cabinets. Arkanoid. Space Invaders. Pacman. Street Fighter. King of Fighters. Marvel Vs. Capcom. Magic Sword. Tank Force. Metal Slug. Double Dragon. Voltage Fighter Gowcaizer. Dude, Gowcaizer. Hopefully the buttons won’t get all greasy with chicken juice as diners decide who settles the bill.
Our photographer whipped my ass 5-0 in Street Fighter 2 with Blanka. I’m definitely going back there.