Behind Walking Street: And Now You Know

0815_BAR-REVIEW_SGerman beer bars are hardly in short supply in China, and for those who may have passed by Yanhe Road at the western end of Nancheng Walking Street, there are even more. Wondering what mysteries lay within? Look no further.

It’s no secret that popular business strategy in China often places nearly identical shops and restaurants together. While this is useful for consumers of DIY home repair all within walking distance, for other businesses sometimes one is enough. At least add some variety, in Yanhe Road’s case.

Let me set it straight; there is of course nothing inherently wrong with a German beer bar. Done properly they can be a nice mix away from watching your boss amusingly, but pathetically, strain out GEM’s cover of HeiFuNei at yet another KTV night.

Sadly, Yanhe’s selection of fine establishments is somewhat marred by all being identical in aesthetics and spirit. Your choices range from Princess Bar at the far end, TaoHuaDao (Peach Blossom Island), Bi’An, WuJieXianCLUB (Boundless Club) and confusingly, as it appeared to be a separate, but strikingly similar bar, WuJieXian (the last character being different and meaning Limitless. Hmmm?).

All of these have one commonality; apart from slight variations in size and lighting choices, they are all very, very similar. Music is blasted at full whack, though there is no space to dance. The available space is used up with tables and chairs, though conversation is a bit difficult unless you head outside.

Drinks are astronomic in price with the cheapest being RMB 35 for a bottle of Corona. The usual suspects are on offer, Paulaner, Kaiserdom, etc., etc. We were immediately offered a bottle of Hennessey to purchase in Princess Bar for a hefty sum and looking around at the other clientele it certainly looked like most of them were laobans out with friends and girlfriends. Why anyone would pay these prices is beyond me, as the atmosphere is totally dead and yet very close by on Walking Street you have an amazing choice of open air restaurants packed with weekenders having a jolly old evening.