What is this? A bar for ants?
Maybe, but it's also Chaos, quite possibly Beijing's smallest bar for humans. Opened towards the end of the summer in Xinyuanli – like pretty much everything these days – this tiny tipple counter features seating for approximately zero people at its bar, and space for a mere one bartender within, who sits surrounded by shelf upon shelf of spirits. There's standing space for two though, and a bench on the adjacent pavement does increase capacity by around 400 percent. As for the Donald Trump bust on the bar top, it's an odd flex, but if 'chaos' be the theme, then Don probably is your man.
With all those spirits comes a wide menu of 20-odd cocktail creations priced around the relatively cheap 35RMB mark. Served glamorously to-go in plastic cups, all the classics feature, including serviceable pina coladas, Cuba libres, white Russians, whisky sours and mojitos, alongside a range of more winter-appropriate hot mixed drinks (all 40RMB), Irish coffee and mulled wine among them. And – Harry Potter curveball – you can also unleash your inner wizard with a plastic pint of butter beer (35RMB).
A small escape hatch for the barman, and a step back onto the pavement, reveals that Chaos is actually attached to a wines, spirits and cigarette shop, and the barman reveals that it is in fact owned and operated by the store. But they might be playing a blinder here: with Bottega
, Q Mex Taqueria
, Boxing Cat Brewery
and underground club Zhao Dai
all popping up in the area in the past year or so, thirsty passers-by have certainly increased in number, and Chaos is seemingly a good addition should you ever need to wait for a table, kill time or grab a cheap one to-go. A leaf out of the successful book of Sanlitun's Mojito Man and all its incarnations over the years, perhaps?