After closing in 2014, Nan Sanlitun Lu cocktail stalwart Q Bar reopened last year with a revamped terrace and menu, but still slinging the fuss-free, well-priced cocktails that they built a solid rep on back in the day. Though Q now feels a little out of the way of the main, Taikoo Li-, Courtyard Four- and SOHO-centred revery of Sanlitun, its rooftop is still a top al fresco beverage-sinking spot for a balmy summer night.
Such is the frequency with which Beijing’s premier bartender Echo bounces back, one can’t help but think that she picked an incredibly appropriate English name. She and bar-keeping partner George opened Midnight Cocktail bar in 2005, after leaving the employ of neighbouring First Café.
Midnight was not without its imperfections and is now just the second floor of an Italian restaurant. But rather than crying into their Cosmopolitans, they linked up with investor Ralph Ziejenhorn to form Q bar on the top floor of the Eastern Inn Hotel south of Sanlitun near the east gate of the Chaoyang hospital.
And the trio seem to be on to a good thing with the understated Q bar. Its interior exudes warm terracotta tones, complimented with brown and cream sofas and stripped wood furnishings; the lights are kept suitably low and the room feels as if it’s glowing. As nice as the inside is, the outside patio will be the bar’s most appealing feature. The simplicity of the wooden decking and tables and chairs is refreshing in a city where too many bars are trying too hard.
Prices range from 35-50RMB for cocktails and local beers are around 20RMB. Their legendary Appletini is quite simply the best in the city. The Lychee special is served ice cold, has a subtle pink hue and is light on the lychee and garnished with mint leaves – a perfectly refreshing antidote to a balmy summer evening.