No doubt you've heard about the piles of bricks that have spread, like so many ruddy-hued triffids, throughout some of the most popular areas in Beijing, but you'd be forgiven for asking what the hell is going on.
We've done a bit of digging in an attempt to answer that very question. What is happening, where is it happening, and what does this mean for some of our favourite spots?
We'd like to preface this with a word of caution: although there's definitely more permanent forces at play than those that bricked up Bachao Hutong
temporarily last autumn, the situation here is still developing so we wouldn't panic quite yet. We would, however, recommend visiting your favourite spots that are currently under threat, on the off-chance you won't be able to see them again.
Business owners up and down Fangjia haven't been told anything beyond that which was on this sign, which appeared late last week to much consternation. There's not been dispatches of building material to the hutong as of yet, and details as to what this all entails are still really vague, with the sign just vaguely hinting that at some point in the near future sh*t is going down and bricks are going up.
A source who wished to remain anonymous, linked to one of the businesses on the hutong, said they've got 'no solid details for now'. Bars and restaurants that are likely to be affected by this edict include Hot Cat Club
, Moxi Moxi
and stealth Time Out
favourite Was Park
Xingfucun Zhong Lu
Again, the exact nature of developments on this 24-7 stalwart is fuzzy. However you look at it, the future of the northwest side of Xingfucun in its current incarnation looks grim, and we've been informed that the majority of bars and restaurants that are under fire have drawn up contingency plans.
'Nothing is certain at the moment, we can't say if they are blocking [with bricks] or tearing the whole thing up,' said a source affiliated with one of the businesses on the strip, who wished to remain anonymous.
Another source affiliated with one of the businesses in the area told us that whatever's going to happen is likely to happen on Wednesday 29 March. Some of the places that are affected include Roll Box
, gay sports bar Anchor, Ling Er Jiu
(which has branches across the city) and rather excellent cocktail joint Bottle, Boot & Cigar
BBC owner Doug Williams informed Time Out they have their eyes on the property market, although whether this is a second location or moving the original spot remains to be seen. Roll Box manager Jack Wang says the banh mi spot is looking for a new location no matter what happens, because of the uncertainty.
Two areas of Sanlitun have already been affected: both the alley west of Yashow and Sanlitun Lu have already been subject to closures and are likely to be further affected, although (yet again) the specifics remain unclear.
– which up until recently could be found to the west side of Yashow market
– had its facade town down this morning (Monday 20).
Late last night, we witnessed store owners dismantling their businesses before the destruction started this morning.
Mr Shi's Dumplings.
The strip of restaurants on Sanlitun Xi Jie has also been affected. Mr Shi's Dumplings
had its facade torn down over the weekend, but when snapping this shot we were assured that the restaurant will remain open, but with a different entrance. The fate of the other venues remains unclear.
Previous Bocata location.
On Sanlitun Lu, the old Bocata premises
have also been blocked up by the heavy hand of the Brick Reaper this morning. This section of street, opposite the Opposite House, seems to be under threat also, after the strip north of Taikoo Li was bricked up last week.