As novelty bars go, Beijing has had its share: vampire bars, lingerie bars, the Dali-esque oddness of Single-Edged Eyelid Bar – all fondly remembered by those with a desire to recall mediocre drinking dens. Well, this is yet another to add to the list. Located in a dingy basement on Lucky Street, Alpha Wing takes as its gimmick the noble sport of golf, and thus earns its place as the most pragmatic novelty bar yet.
Winston Churchill once declared golf ‘The best way to ruin a good walk’, so we were relieved to discover that it is by no means the best way to ruin a dank subterranean cellar. The outside of Alpha Wing is little more than a sign over an entranceway. The decor in the bar looks cheap and is unlikely to receive any plaudits for originality; however, rating such a place on its visual appeal is akin to judging glitzy nightclub Spark on its lack of a cricket pitch.
To ram home its chosen theme, Alpha Wing contains four virtual golf simulators, rented out by the hour (160 RMB per hour for up to five players). Drinking options are limited to Asahi beer – 30RMB for the big cans, 20RMB for the small cans – and Starbucks coffee (30RMB). As bars go, it isn’t overflowing with options, but people will likely come here for one reason only, and it isn’t to whet their whistle.
Certainly an oddity, Alpha Wing also features two KTV rooms and is a likeably novel spot for a birthday party (because we’re all sick of go-karting and paintballing). Whether you’re warming up for an evening out or just practising your swing, check it out fast before it joins the list of ‘fondly remembered’ novelty bars. Ross Goulding