This venue is now closed.
Let’s face it, the future is all about hybrid culture – and that goes for bars too. What were café-bookshops if not a gateway? Then café-bars smothered our afternoons and evenings in a boozy haze. Now two men have created Beijing’s holy hybrid trinity: the first café-bar-bike shop.
Serk is the brainchild of Shannon Bufton and Liman Zhao, co-founders of cycling news website Smarter Than Car (http://www.stcbj.com/). Outside, a lovely decked veranda greets visitors before a sliding door ushers them into the long, calm, narrow bar space, where bicycles dangle from the ceiling like Swords of Damocles. The interior might lack the pull of the terrace, but the ‘Ikea chic’ and low-lighting are charming.
The serious bike schtick is what gives Serk its niche, however, with events, race screenings, bike mechanic courses and a Sunday mountain-biking club revealing the owners’ passions.
Wi-Fi and a few snacks do not a café make, but, as a bar, Serk works. A solid, if small, selection of brews, including Belgian ‘everybeer’ Chimay Red (45RMB) and bargain German lager Warsteiner (20RMB), accompany a decent house wine (40RMB) and cheap cocktails (from 25RMB). The selection is limited, but you’re unlikely to stay all night; this is more of a cool drop-in spot, and still the best addition so far to this summer’s Beixinqiao bar boom (see: Mas, Giggle and Cuju).
If, as songstress Katie Melua asserts, Beijing is a city of ‘nine million bicycles’, then Serk is a canny move indeed. It has its limits, but where else in the city can you sink a beer in a full-length lycra bodysuit and not feel ashamed, much less spunk 40,000RMB on a racing bike? Now there’s a guilty hangover!