At 3,600 square metres, or just shy of an acre
, Beijing’s latest social lounge-cum-celebrity receptacle Equis doesn’t want for room – nor rooms, for that matter. In keeping apace with the exorbitance that defines all of Four Seasons Beijing
’s hospitality outlets, the acre
is split into five heady realms; the Lounge, the Cellar, the Library, the Courtyard and the Imperial Room – each its own study in opulence, each stretching the definition of gaudy to a comically self-aware degree.
In the Lounge, traditional fangliang support beams dangle thickly thatched over a brilliantly lit island bar – roughly the size of Tuvalu – where the Chengdu G&T hits the spot with, as one might imagine, some Sichuan peppercorn action. Resplendent in Revolution Red, the Imperial Room is the seafood and champagne den you never knew you were missing, and smacks of erstwhile high-opium culture with serious chairs and assorted latticework from the racier dynasties. They also do a mean malatang (108RMB). From there it’s off to the Library – a misnomer – where an embarrassment of handsome whiskeys and matching service rounds out a whirlwind tour of Chaoyang’s preeminent 'social lounge'.
￼There’s no wrong way to experience the hedonist’s triumph that is Equis, but naturally, picking up a 2.98 million RMB biennial membership at the bar will be a no-brainer for the savvy investor, offering access to Equis’ KTV-forward Imperial Room and enough liquor to flood the adjacent Liangma river and exterminate all life therein, amongst other benefits. For those on a budget, Equis also offers meeker Imperial Room memberships starting from just 298,000RMB and regular memberships from 8,888RMB; something for everyone.
There is too much to see and do at Equis in one short lifetime. The 180-person Courtyard is as expansive as the menu and alone justifies a visit. But though it may be pitched squarely at Beijing’s higher flyers, the winks and gags strewn throughout Equis’ woven metals, antique woods, glass cubes, pendant lighting, ornate fireplaces, genuine Chinese porcelains, antique Chinese bricks, glass cubes full of glass, iron lattices and contemporary art installations give it tongue- in-cheek warmth and cross-class appeal you won’t find amongst other 'Elite Social Gathering Spaces'. That or we’ve completely missed the point. Very big.
By Frank Sweet