If you're an occasional swiller of the hearty grape variety, you've undoubtedly found yourself disappointed by the typical wine selections in Guangzhou: whether it tastes like slightly fortified grape juice, or the tannin imbalance is so bad your mouth puckers from dehydration. To add to the lack of a quality vintage, many decent wine-offerings in Guangzhou take place either in crowded expat bars filled to the brim with excitable beer-drinkers, or more Chinese-oriented places where the music is too loud to hear yourself think. However, Guangzhou does offer some excellent wine bars – quality of selection and an amiable atmosphere included – so long as you know where to look. Below are five of the best wine-bars in Guangzhou, marked by quality and variety of selection as well as having an atmosphere that corresponds with the mental image most people get when they hear the term “wine bar”, including both internationally-recognised chains as well as Guangzhou-only gems.
1) Mouton Cadet Wine BarView In Map
True wine-enthusiast travellers may already be familiar with Mouton Cadet – it has locations in over 150 countries – and let's just say practice makes perfect. Mouton Cadet Wine Bar, located within the No. 9 Garden Restaurant in Yuexiu District, is the epitome of an excellent wine bar. It features a full menu of Mouton Cadet wines, mainly Bordeaux and various blends, as well as a large menu of other wines from over 10 countries and spanning a large variety of grapes, all served in an elegant atmosphere of dark wood paneling, plush couches, and light music piped in at just the appropriate volume to allow for both excellent conversation and soundtracked silence as you explore the nose of your wine. Ooh, that’s a snazzy bouquet! If selection, atmosphere and quality wasn't enough, one thing that sets Mouton Cadet apart from many other wine bars in Guangzhou is that nearly half of their Mouton Cadet menu is available by the glass, so you don't have to commit to a full bottle if you don't want to.
Add: No. 9 Jiansheliu Ma Lu, Yuexiu District, Guangzhou
Tel: 020 8376 6197
Opening hours: 10:00 – 02:00
Price: 200 RMB – 4,000 RMB
Corking Fee: 100 RMB/bottle
Food available: Full Mediterranean menu at the adjacent Garden Restaurant.
Getting there: Take metro Line 5 to Taojin, exit B. Turn left and walk past the Garden Hotel, and take another left onto Jiansheliu Ma Lu. Walk about ten minutes – it will be up a short staircase on your right, just next to a bus stop.
2) Cafe E Bucatini View In Map
Step into Bucatini and you feel like you've left Guangzhou and found yourself in Greece. Located near the Dong Shan Kou Metro station, Bucatini features a large variety of wines, padded wicker chairs and a patio three times the size of the actual bar to enjoy them in. Although they do not offer wine by the glass, their menu is distinctive not only because of its variety (Champagne, sparking wines, ports, and everything in between) but also because it has a bilingual menu explaining the qualities of each wine and food pairing suggestions. The atmosphere is notably Mediterranean, including murals of Minoan paintings on the landings of the staircases. Climb up to enter a comfortable but not overbearing bar area with a patio that feels like you should be looking over the Aegean sea. If you are looking for a locally-run, quality wine bar, Bucatini is definitely the place to go.
Add: No. 1 Shuqian Lu, Yuexiu District, Guangzhou
Tel: 020 8760 3637
Opening hours: 10:00 – 02:00
Price: 180 RMB – 4,800 RMB
Corking Fee: 50 RMB/bottle
Food available: Light snacks including a variety of bruschetta plates
Getting there: Take metro Line 1 to Dong Shan Kou exit 5. Turn right and cross the street at the first opportunity.
3) The MansionView In Map
The Mansion is hands-down the most aptly named wine bar in Guangzhou – the wine bar takes up the bottom floors of a 1920s gated mansion in Yuexiu, decorated in a manner that brings to mind exceptional wealth and luxury. Their wine selection is impressive, but the opulence surrounding you comes at a price – the cheapest bottle is still over 300 RMB. However, the staff is excellent and attentive, and they offer live music on the patio almost every day of the week. If they do not have the wine you order, they will bring out at least two alternate options that are nearly the equivalent of what you wanted in both taste and price. Not all of the wine available is listed on the menu, but the staff is exceptionally knowledgeable about what they have to offer and will be happy to work with you to find the perfect wine to suit your desires.
Add: No. 11 Xinqing Lu, Yuexiu District, Guangzhou
Tel: 020 8761 9950
Opening hours: 15:00 – 2:00
Price: 368 RMB – over 79,000 RMB
Corking Fee: None, but there is a service fee
Food available: Light Snacks
Getting there: Take metro Line 1 to Dong Shan Kou exit A. Turn right, follow Shuqian Lu until it ends, and turn left. Continue along that road – it will be the last small street to your right before a major intersection, approximately a twenty minute walk.
4) K&D Wine BarView In Map
Expats familiar with The Tavern in Zhujiang New Town may know of K&D as it's located right next door. Although much smaller than the wine bars noted above, it still has several hundred different types of wine from five different countries. There is no formal wine list, as guests are encouraged to browse the shelves themselves and select the bottle they would like. Fortunately, the seating area, accessorized with leather couches, glass top tables, and soft jazz playing from the speakers, is located separately from the wine racks so once you have found your perfect bottle you aren't disturbed by others still searching for theirs. The grape varieties of the wines are a little more typical (no White Merlot here), but it is a little more affordable than some of the other wine bars.
Add: No. 6 Hua Jiu Lu, Tianhe District, Guangzhou
Tel: 020 3804 9416
Opening hours: 10:00 – 02:00
Price: 95 RMB – 1,200 RMB
Corking Fee: None, but it is 50 RMB to drink your bottle on location
Food available: Light snacks after 14:00
Getting there: Take metro Line 3 to Zhujiang New Town, exit B1. Turn left from the exit, walk to the next intersection, and take a left. Continue down that road until you reach Hua Jiu Lu (approx. 5 minute walk). Turn right onto Hua Jiu Lu. It will be on your left.
5) Shadow Cafe and Wine BarView In Map
If you want a wine bar with Chinese characteristics, Shadow is just the place for you. Tucked in an alleyway up the street from the Friendship Store, Shadow is a small, slightly cramped building that boasts a limited but surprising selection. You are free to recline in the dark smoky interior as you imbibe, and its proximity to the Garden Hotel makes it a good location for someone who wants a bit of the Chinese wine bar experience without actually getting a taste of China's wines.
Add: No. 128 Taojin Lu, Yuexiu District, Guangzhou
Tel: 020 8349 3080
Opening hours: 10:00 – 02:00
Price: 200 RMB – 800 RMB
Corking Fee: None
Food available: Typical Cafe fare
Getting there: Metro Line 5 to Taojin, exit B. Turn right and head up Taojin Road away from the Garden Hotel. Keep your eyes peeled to the right – it is down a few steps set back from the road, across an alcove from another bar, approximately a five minute walk from the metro station.
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Keywords: wine bars in Guangzhou white merlot posh drinking in Guangzhou Chinese wine culture champagne in China
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Aug 01, 2013 16:06 Report Abuse
very interesting artcle about wine bars. I would like to know if any of these wine bars every employ westerners to do the wine pouring and sales. Would like to expand my wine internatioanlly more. Want to wine network and wine contacts. like to wine blog
Dec 04, 2011 23:27 Report Abuse