Going to the Wall: Fangjia to Get Bricked Later this Week, Jiaodaokou Toutiao Being Bricked Up, Xingfucun Knocked Down
While Fangjia Hutong's bar and restaurant owners expected today to be the day that the red bricks took up unnecessary space blocking their windows and doors, it was in fact Jiaodaokou Toutiao that the yellow-hatted men (and women) came for first.
From Toutiao the workers are expected to work their way north, arriving on Fangjia Hutong around Thursday at the earliest, if not sometime early next week.
With uncertainty the prevailing emotion surrounding the hutongs, we went to ask the people behind our favorite haunts what they expected to be left with once the demolition crew had swept through. Paca Lee, owner of Ramo and Mimi e Coco, told us that Ramo will probably lose the windows out the front, but will try to keep the front door.
Both businesses are properly licensed and can therefore live on, albeit in a new setting, with a new hole in the wall at the back of Ramo now connecting directly to Mimi e Coco.
If the front door is unable to stay open, Mimi e Coco's side door may have to become the entrance to both establishments.
Zak Elmasri of Fang Bar and Tuk Tuk told us that these establishments will still be open for now (serving up their usual buy two, get one free cocktail deal to ease troubled minds this evening) and that they're doing their best to stay running regardless of what happens.
Elmasri also tells us that Fang Bar is likely to open up a secret side door on the side of the cocktail bar, while Tuk Tuk's other door on Gongyi Xiang is likely to keep them open even if the Fangjia Hutong door is bricked up.
It seems uncertainty is all the business owners (and us Fangjia-fiends) have to hold on to, so we suggest that you might want to head out there this week to enjoy your favorite restaurant or bar while they're still untouched.
Further east, Xingfucun is under construction today too, with walls demolished and bricks filling the dirt-lined roads. With this new wave of construction, Beijing says its goodbyes to Rollbox, BBC, Anchor Bar, and Lingerjiu Noodles.
The ongoing construction and swift action is certainly giving us a lesson in appreciating what we have and we do hope there's some greater plan to all of this than simple forced reconfiguring in the name of "beautification" of some of the city's most lively and exciting F&B hubs. Even if there is, many of those venues affected the most are unlikely to find their feet any time soon.
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