2012 Jul 30 Whiskey A La Mode: The New Ala House Bar in Central Park
Central Park just got a skosh more exciting with the opening of a small whiskey bar in the complex. With more than a hundred whiskeys available and plans for a craft cocktail menu, the place should easily become a popular watering hole for residents and neighbors.
Ala House (the bartender told us it's pronounced "ay-la") has seats along the bar, a back wall, and a small private room that seats three to four people, so it would only take a handful of patrons to pack out the place. Staff said they expect the place to be in soft open for a couple weeks before making everything official.
There's currently no sign outside, so look for a small but distinctly Art Deco-style entrance on the street-facing side of Building 21. Inside, the dark, 1920s decor is a fun blast from the past. I was a bit creeped out by the collection of porcelain urns at the front, but that might just be me.
Though the cocktail menu is still being drawn up, the gentlemen behind the bar are already happy to make up some of their specialties. While explaining that the bar's philosophy is sticking to classic recipes, bartender A Shan, who says he's worked his way through several of Beijing's more well-known mixology bars, expertly made an Old Fashioned (RMB 70) and a Negroni (RMB 70) for us. The orange flavor in the Old Fashioned was stronger than I've had at other similar establishments, but I enjoyed the zesty taste. Meanwhile, my date gleefully slurped down the Negroni.
The whiskey list is extensive enough for all but the most discerning drinker. Glasses start at RMB 60 (Jack Daniels) and climb up into the hundreds. A Shan mentioned that the venue has plans to stock whiskeys not found at other bars around town, though whiskeyphiles may still prefer to head to nearby Ichikura. Beijing Boyce lists some of the more uncommon whiskeys to be found at Ala House.
The bar is planning to have a short list of snacks for those who take their whiskey with munch. Staff said they'll eventually serve cheese and Spanish ham, but the focus will of course remain on the drinks.
Daily 6pm-2am. 21-102. Unit 102, Bldg 21, Central Park, 6 Chaoyangmenwai Dajie, Chaoyang District (6533 6661)
Photos: Marilyn Mai, Josh Ong