The North Rising: Exploring Beiluoguxiang’s Burgeoning Food and Drink Scene

The North Rising: Exploring Beiluoguxiang’s Burgeoning Food and Drink Scene
By Robynne Tindall , eChinacities.com

Although it's just a quick dash across Gulou Dongdajie, Beiluoguxiang is a world away from its gentrified southern cousin. In recent years a slew of new bars and restaurants have started to open up on Beiluoguxiang, but the development remains much more organic than Nanluoguxiang. Walking up Beiluoguxiang, you still get a sense of the hutong as it once might have been; busy workshops spill out onto the street and children amble past with elderly grandparents in tow. Check it out now before the churros and chaun'r shops invade.

The North Rising: Exploring Beiluoguxiang’s Burgeoning Food and Drink Scene
Photo: twitter.com

1) Mai Bar and Malty Dog: The drinking duo
Jeff Ji's duo of Beiluoguxiang drinking dens couldn't be more different, yet both seem to carry the affable owner's magic touch.

Mai Bar is a cosy hutong bar serving high quality cocktails made with home-infused spirits (approx. 50 RMB), along with an enviable selection of malt whiskies. The cocktails easily rival those of higher end bars such as Apothecary and the selection changes throughout the year to incorporate seasonal ingredients, so you can always expect to be able to try something new.

Malty Dog on the other hand is a clean, open space, with the scrubbed wooden furniture and bare stone bar giving it a real "gastropub" feel. The bar serves up a selection of homebrewed ales (30-40 RMB) in ambitious flavors such as honey basil and jasmine tea. While the homebrews aren't going to present a major challenge to established microbreweries like Great Leap any time soon, they do have a lot of potential. If draught beer isn't your thing, Malty Dog also has a wide selection of imported bottled beers.

Mai BarView In Map
Add: 40 Beiluoguxiang, Dongcheng District, Beijing
地址:北京市东城区北锣鼓巷40号
Tel: 138 1125 2641
Opening hours: 17:00-midnight

Malty DogView In Map
Add: 51 Beiluoguxiang, Dongcheng District, Beijing
地址:北京市东城区北锣鼓巷51号
Opening hours: Tue-Fri, 18:00-midnight; Sat-Sun, 13:00-midnight

2) Beiluo Bread Bar: New kid on the block
One of the newest players on the Beiluoguxiang scene, Beiluo Bread Bar has already established a reputation for good food and some of the best-made coffee in town (supplied by Rickshaw Roasters). The sandwiches take a "pick your own" approach, allowing you to choose from a variety of breads, cheeses, meats and vegetables. Depending on your preferences for fillings, a typical sandwich will set you back around 30-45 RMB.

However, the real star here is the homemade pasta, which is rolled on the spot in the open kitchen once you place your order. We tried the pesto pasta (35 RMB) and the mushroom pasta (45 RMB). The fresh pesto was a welcome addition in Beijing and the almost meaty mushroom pasta benefitted from the addition of sundried tomatoes. We wouldn't go specifically for the alcoholic drinks (not with Mai Bar and Malty Dog so close by), but they do have a good beer selection and some tasty wines at 35 RMB a glass.

As a final aside, we found the speedy Wi-Fi made it very tempting to while away an afternoon here.

Beiluo Bread BarView In Map
Add: 70A Beiluoguxiang, Dongcheng District, Beijing
地址:北京市东城区北锣鼓巷70A号
Tel: 010 8408 3069
Opening hours: Daily 10:00-12:00

3) Yun'er Small Town: Quality Yunnanese cuisine
Opened by a former chef from Dali Courtyard, Yun'er Small Town serves up dishes of a similar quality without the restrictions of a set menu. The restaurant is decorated with quaint Yunnanese folk touches and the roof terrace gives nice views over the surrounding hutong roofs. As for the food, the dishes are as good as any we've tried at Beijing's myriad of other Yunnanese restaurants. As the name suggests, Yunnanese pu'er tea plays a role in many of the dishes, such as the fried rice with pu'er tea (云洱炒饭, 18 RMB) and (云洱小炒肉, 28 RMB). Yunnan staples such as grilled goats cheese (黄金乳饼, 28 RMB) are also done very well.

Yun'er Small TownView In Map
Add: 84 Beiluoguxiang, Dongcheng District, Beijing
地址:北京市东城区北锣鼓巷84号, 云洱小镇
Tel: 010 8404 2407
Opening hours: Daily 11:00-23:00

4) Jinse Liangshan: Yi minority specialties
Jinse Liangshan is one of the only restaurants in Beijing serving Yi minority cuisine. The Yi minority, concentrated in southern and western China, is the seventh largest of China's 55 official ethnic minorities. Yi minority cuisine is somewhat similar to Yunnanese cuisine (indeed, many people of the Yi minority live in rural Yunnan), as can be seen in the delicious beef with mint leaves (薄荷牛肉, 28 RMB). The restaurant itself is set in a colorful restored siheyuan with a beautiful courtyard that provides outside seating in the warmer months. When we visited, the staff were pleasant and happy to help suggest dishes for our uninitiated palates.

Jinse Liangshan View In Map
Add: 91 Beiluoguxiang, Dongcheng District, Beijing
地址:北京市东城区北锣鼓巷91号, 金色梁山
Tel: 010 5909 1339

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Keywords: Beiluoguxiang food and drink restaurants on Beiluoguxiang beiluoguxiang Beijing bars on beiluoguxiang

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