Area:B&C Bar is a smallish dive tucked away in Jing’an, close to the Changping Lu Metro station. It’s down a suspiciously shady back alley, as all good bars should be.
You’ll know you’ve made it when you see the red neon B&C sign beckoning to the thirsty like the lighthouses of yore.
What is it:Opened in 2008, B&C is your quintessential Chinese neighborhood bar. It’s a great place to sit down and chat with a good friend or roll through with a group. Owners: Candy Huang and Becky Wu. Most nights you will find them down in the trenches chatting, drinking and making sure everyone is having a good time. The first B&C was successful enough to warrant a B&C 2,which Becky lords over most nights. The two bars are about a 10 minute stagger from each other.
Why it’s good:Most bars of this ilk are as equally quirky. What makes B&C stand out is the quality of service. Candy and team are genuinely happy to see every customer who comes through the door, and they have a strict hug-on-sight policy, whether you have been to the bar before or not. Candy has been in the bar business since 2005 and she learned English from scratch in bars around Shanghai. During the early years, when the bar floated along due to the nightly patronage of several dedicated customers, Candy and Becky decided their strengths lay in simply being open, honest and friendly, and that this would be enough to set B&C apart. And it most certainly has. This is a little oasis of unpretentiousness in our hoity-toity town.
There’s a good mix of Chinese and foreigners. No pressure, no glitz, no hipsters prancing around wearing fancy shoes or deodorant. It’s a place to have a drink, be appreciated and feel a part of a large, drunken family. Kind of like a yearlong Thanksgiving.
Atmosphere:B&C is a Christmas-lights-in-the-middle-of-August kind of bar, with pictures of wild nights past stapled to the wall and Jenga towers standing silent sentinel in the corner, aching to be played. Random currencies are taped next to the single TV, which plays interesting sports when it can, and badminton when it can’t. There’s a rather perilous darts room off to the left of the entrance. So pretty much everything a good Chinese dive bar should have. There is no DJ. Anybody can select a song from the computer, so you will be treated to hits ranging from Mandopop to Billy Joel to the Backstreet Boys. In the week it’s pretty quiet. On the weekend it gets rowdy.
Prices:Pretty standard for the most part: 25rmb for Tiger draft; 30-40rmb for bottles of Heineken and cocktails. More importantly, they have a happy hour every day (including Friday and Saturday) from 4-9pm, and that’s buy-one-get-one-free on most drinks. Priciest drink is an Irish Car Bomb, which will put you back 70rmb, and there’s an Irish Car Bomb Score Board, so you can represent your country in a mad dash to irresponsible intoxication. Currently, China is in the lead. So, you know, get to it, Celtic hordes. Your countries need you.
Ordering Recommendations:For the classy beer drinker, they have Vedett, Duvel and Maredsous in bottles for 40rmb. For a shot, try the Alien Brain, which looks like an alien’s brain. At least, it did to me after five of them. Cocktail, darling? Try the Erica, for a vaguely Jager-y drink named after a customer from days past, or the sweet Mangotini, for a refreshing slide into inebriation.
B & C Bar is at 940 Changde lu, near by Changping lu. Full listing here
Photos with this article by Andrew Rochfort.