From models of sassy porcine street walkers flaunting their stuff to massive pewter sharks made from a million polished hooks, the art in futuristic mall Parkview Green seems to be connected only by its unrestrained absurdity – oh, and they all belong to George. Mega-rich real estate developer-cum-art collector-cum-environmental activist George Wong has filled Parkview Green with attention-grabbing modern art, so when it came time to visit the new bar located in the lobby of the complex’s Hotel Éclat Beijing, what we expected was something worthy of bearing the name of the main man himself.
The reality, sadly, is something less exciting. The décor drifts between purple velvets, costume bead jewellery and scattered top hats with brightly coloured plumage. But the bright colours of the ostensible nod to Alice in Wonderland are muted by the low light, and clash rather violently with the chrome bar that runs the length of the space. High tables and bar stools seem out of place next to the plush Victorian couches that line the curtained-off booths; and a wander into the private whisky bar at the rear, with its mirrors and dark leather, is like stumbling into the VIP lounge of a Miami nightclub – not exactly a bad thing, but it comes off overly contrived when taken as a whole.
The drinks are a merciful return to reality. Original cocktails like the Bell Pepper Punch (80RMB) combine unorthodox ingredients to produce a combination better than the sum of its parts. It makes wonderful sense with its sweet yet herbaceous blend of peppers and booze. The bar’s Chocolate Martini (80RMB) is even more decadent than the classic thanks to a vigorously beaten egg white and a sprinkling of high-quality coco powder. Finally, the expertly mixed old fashioned (90RMB) is the perfect remedy to a slightly awkward atmosphere.
The bar has yet to launch a food menu but we hear that the newly opened Spanish restaurant of the same name just above the bar will be providing a bar snacks menu. Ultimately, we are glad to see that Parkview Green’s enthusiasm for the unconventional has continued at George’s, but there is still plenty to improve on. As a first draft, however, it’s worth checking out.
By Nick Gollner