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Of Rice and Men

April 06, 2015
Nuoyan Rice Wine Bar

The Chinese may not be as famed internationally for their rice wine as their Nippon neighbours are for their sake-sipping, but they certainly know a thing or two about crafting a redolent brew – after all, it was their ancestors that first started fermenting glutinous grains some 5,000 years ago. For those unacquainted with locally-favoured variation huangjiu, one of the best places in Beijing to kickstart your induction is Dongcheng’s Nuoyan Rice Wine Bar, a former teahouse turned flagship of one of China’s most respected boutique brewers of the characteristically yellow tipple.

Hidden down a narrow inner-city hutong, the rustic but polished imbiber still has a certain chaguan cosiness courtesy of its original wooden beam ceilings and twisted tree trunk columns, complemented with white-washed walls and quaint wicker armchairs. Those that are more about the scene than the sips can shimmy straight up to the hushed rooftop where the city’s sophisticates lounge and libate; or if you’re here strictly for the huangjiu, pull up a pew at the downstairs bar lined with traditional ceramic decanters and bottle holders. The complete Nuoyan selection can be sampled – ranging from quaffable rose-scented aperitifs to pale gold concoctions and rich, amber-coloured bayberry blends – all served up straight or mixed into signature cocktails. Gānbēi!

7 Banqiao Nan Lu / Dongcheng / +86 156 5251 1819 / noon-12.30am daily /