Gulou Dong Dajie’s newest watering hole, Scarlet A, comes from owner Scarlet Zhu, whose interest in bars stems from a love of good whiskey, and F&B wiz kid Caroline Tan, who is perhaps best-known in Beijing for her work with BBC. Walk past it and you’ll see what appears to be a takeaway window where you can get single-origin coffee, tea, and crêpes, but dig a little deeper and you’ll find that the shelves that make up the back wall slide to the side to reveal the cozy speakeasy space within.
The whole place is beautifully designed and put together, and you can see attention to detail in everything from the décor to the drinks and menu design. This bar wants to make sure you imbibe only the flavors you want to be imbibing, but before you start requesting customized tipples (which you are welcome to do), you should first check out their menu.
It’s laid out like a mind map, making it easy to pin down which drinks have the perfect combination of flavors for you, with a choice of strong, sweet, tart, fruity, bitter, floral, smoky, and spicy. In keeping with its vintage theme, the bar serves a variety of drinks that are based on characters from Prohibition-era literature. We recommend the Don Diego (RMB90), a sweet, smoky, and tart beverage expertly made with hard-to-find mezcal. Ù Ani Williams
Our rating: 4 out of 5 stars
What: Scarlet A
Where: 60 Gulou Dongdajie, 鼓楼东大街60号
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