While the pretty young things flock to dingy, ‘atmospheric’ bars where the lights are low and the generic beats are ear-thumpingly high, the rest of us, more often than not, yearn for a cosy spot where the liquor slips down easily and the conversation flows freely. Tucked away down a lantern-lined alleyway off bustling Gulou Dong Dajie, and overlooking a pretty hutong courtyard lined with stone benches and candlelight, Amilal is exactly that – an intimate and characterful little bar specialising in vintage whiskey.
Set as it is over three rooms comfortably cluttered with small wooden tables, mismatched chairs, folding carved doors, books, and monochrome photos, Amilal’s space feels less like a bar and more like an artsy friend’s living room. The Inner Mongolian owner, Alc, knows his whiskey and has accordingly selected a number of rare single malts, as well as a slew of local and German beers like Erdinger, several types of Russian Baltika, and a small array of Latin American wines. The relaxed atmos is made complete by the live music soundtrack courtesy of his Hanggai and Kazakh friends – often known to take up their traditional folk instruments for an impromptu jam. Add to that the rare possibility of catching a glimpse of the stars from the hutong courtyard on a clear night, and the bustle of Beijing will feel a million miles away. Aah!
48 Shoubi Hutong / Dongcheng / +86 10 8404 1416 / 1pm-late daily