Out in the desolate wasteland of Shunyi, there is little in the way of nightlife variety. A smattering of pubs cater to families, sports fans and laowais homesick for their local. Green Cap Bar adds its name to this growing list of watering holes, but marks itself out as being the first Irish pub in the district – and, by Irish, we mean it serves Guinness and has an Irish owner.
Difficult to find, Green Cap Bar is located above a Domino’s Pizza and at the time of writing doesn’t have anything in the way of signage. The stairs lead you up from the street and on to the impressive balcony surrounding the outside of the bar. The balcony overlooks the lake at WAB and will be a gorgeous spot for a drink once the summer hits. The clientele is mainly older laowais, drinking heavily yet peacefully while watching sports on widescreen TVs – by forking out for an expensive HD American sports package, Green Cap Bar stands out as one of the few places in Beijing where you get to see every droplet of sweat on Shaq’s head in glorious high definition.
Opened by husband and wife team Pat and Nana Walsh – who do all the hard graft themselves without hiring extra staff – Green Cap Bar will feel like home on your first visit. The friendly owners have already developed a fiercely loyal group of regulars. The inside of the bar isn’t exactly massive, but feels cosy and intimate, rather than cramped. High bar stools and tables sit in front of the bar area; a second section has sofas for coffee sippers. Drinks come in at an affordable 35RMB for standard mixers, and 50RMB for Long Islands. There’s also draught Carlsberg (25RMB) and Guinness (50RMB).
Events include a quiz every Thursday, and a Friday happy hour from 3-8pm offering two-for-one on everything but the really expensive stuff. With plans to expand by opening up a restaurant next door, this is positioning itself as a perfect haunt.
The one glaringly negative aspect is its distance from downtown. A cab from Jianguomen will cost around 50RMB, which is bound to put some people off. However, once the weather permits outdoor drinking, and you can sit outside on Green Cap Bar’s wonderful veranda, we can heartily recommend gathering some friends together and taking the trip.