Located in Vanke City Plaza, Dongcheng, it’s a bit outside the well-traveled Bar Street area, but worth the detour. As you approach the mall and see the jungle covering the walls, you’ll know you’re in the right place.
As the name suggests, Hutaoli is a multifunctional spot with a bar, restaurant and stage for live music. Some might say that the music is far too 80’s-centric, but I will leave that judgment on you.
The outside area is pleasantly decorated with various types of plants and sports a great view to the park on the opposite side of the road. Look hard and you might even spot the peak of the Qifeng Mountain.
Inside, the decor gets wilder with a bit of an Alice in Wonderland feeling, except that this Wonderland is an exotic forest. A centered, large stage is surrounded by tables filled with food and drinks. The second floor offers a bit more privacy with small wooden houses that appear to be floating over the ground below.
Since the place was fully packed (even on a Monday night), we chose to sit outside and got comfortable with the menu. We weren’t hungry, so we focused on drinks. The menu offers light snacks to pair with your booze and you can even have a decent meal, as well.
Surprisingly, there were a wide variety of imported wines from Chile, Argentina and France. Sadly, Budweiser is one of the few beer options.
We skipped both and opted for a cocktail (48 RMB). The Moscow Mule, served in a traditional copper mug, had slightly more ginger flavor than I would have liked, but was still decent. The Mojito proved to be an excellent choice: not too sweet, not to sour. Both drinks appeared to be made with fresh ingredients and considering the sizeable crowd, the wait time was minimal.
To finish up the night, we ordered a couple of shots (30 RMB). The B-52 left us with the hot flash some might expect. The Practical Joke Kiss was a layered liquor shot topped with whipped cream and candy. It’s a bit of wordy name, but we went bottoms up and dropped all our concerns.
With still so much to explore, there’s a good reason to go again.
Address: 1/F, No.32, Vanke City Plaza, Guancheng