Property Struggles Doom Tim’s Texas Bar-B-Q Shortly After The Den's Demise
Beijing foodies reeling from the abruptly announced closure of The Den – a longtime stalwart of Western fare – now have more bad news to contend with. Earlier this afternoon Tim Hilbert wrote a Facebook post announcing that his restaurant, Tim's Texas Bar-B-Q, will also be promptly shuttered for reasons akin to The Den's demise.
Cheers Wine, which occupies the same building as Tim's, 2 Xiushui, told the Beijinger that they are also being evicted as the entire building will be destroyed by Chinese New Year at the latest. We predict that Three Colours Lotus, an Indian restaurant on the second floor, will have also met the same fate.
In his Facebook post, Hilbert began by mentioning a successful charity poker tournament hosted at the restaurant last week, before adding: "Then on Thursday the hit: The Texas Bar-B-Q landlord informed me that I must vacate on or before December 30. NINETEEN days notice ..."
He went on to describe how government laws prohibit commercial businesses from operating on People's Liberation Army (PLA/中国人民解放军) real estate. Apparently regulations of this kind have long been ignored, but are now being enforced on the properties where The Den and Tim's are housed.
Jarring as this announcement may be for Hilbert’s regulars, The Den’s closure was even more swift. As noted by the Beijinger's Executive Editor Steven Schwankert, the owners made that announcement by hanging a sign on the door on December 12 that said the establishment would be permanently shuttered, at least in its location, after the very next day. The English translation of that message mistakenly attributed the decision to the PLA (People’s Liberation Army) rather than the PAP (People’s Armed Police/Wu Jing/武警), which owns large swaths of property in Sanlitun and the surrounding areas, including the building where The Den has operated. No word yet on whether the PAP is actually behind Tim’s closure as well, though TBJ is investigating.
The Den’s owners finished their announcement on an optimistic note, writing: “We will hopefully be back in a new location next year.” However, Hilbert’s post ended with a more solemn invitation for customers to"stop by Tim's Texas Bar-B-Q – one of the coolest bars in Asia – before December 28 for a drink and a photo. It will be gone soon." Hilbert could not be reached for comment before press time, and there is no word yet on whether he will soldier on in a locale, though the Beijinger is investigating.
Commercial management of areas in Sanlitun and other parts of Beijing that fall under the jurisdiction of the PAP have long been tolerated, and the closures of The Den and now Tim's is causing ripples through much of the area. Some speculate that areas in north Sanlitun, such as the main bar strip and the "hou jie" area between Taikoo Li and The Opposite House, may be affected as well.
Patrons will no doubt be saddened by the sudden loss of two of their oldest favorites. However, those foodies may be even more preoccupied with the decisively punitive enforcement of the PAP’s property regulations, and how that might affect other venues around town.
More details to follow as they come in.
Photos courtesy of Tim Hilbert