After a long hiatus, the 1949 Courtyard is back, but with a major glow up and name change. What once was a place that housed Okra, Traitor Zhou’s and the original Jing-A Taproom, has taken on a very modernist look that appeals to Beijing’s most cultured. Now called Jing Yard, our first thought walking into the community is that it’s swanky as hell. However, one thing strikes a chord: There is an absence of anyone, and that’s because most the venues don’t open until after 7pm – which means they don’t get poppin’ until after 9pm.
With a new restaurant, bakery, a few bars and courtyard seating, it’s kind of unfortunate the location didn’t launch earlier in the spring, when an ample amount of outdoor day drinking could’ve really been enjoyed. That being said, it’s cold and we need a drink, so we take shelter in the area’s new lounge bar Amid.
Opened in September, Amid feels like a bar on the Bund in Shanghai (don’t hate us), with hip art and intimate seating catering for everything from date nights to business drinks. There’s ’70s-esque decor and the feeling that champagne-is-definitely-sold-here aplenty, while the service staff is attentive to every need.
Curious about their original cocktails we begin with a rum-based drink called Walking In The Cloud (RMB90), which is heavy on the apple juice and not really anything else. Next is the vodka-based Edelweiss (RMB95), which is a unique combo of pear vodka, cointreau and black truffle oil. On the nose and tongue, you can definitely tell you’re getting your money’s worth in truffle oil, however, a bit more vodka would make this drink just right. One thing to note about these two cocktails – they’re small portion-wise. Amid also serves food, with the fried olives (RMB49) as an ideal snack to munch on the side.
Walk through Amid towards the back and you’ll find a hidden bar. One click of a button and the door slides open to reveal Monopoly – a place we’re sure F. Scott Fitzgerald would’ve been proud of. With cigarette smoke hanging coolly in the air, the dimly lit speakeasy is a dedicated whiskey bar, meant to contrast sharply with the bourgeois in the front; a place where people can be people and enjoy a stiff glass of the hard stuff.
Overall, it’s too early to say how things will go from here in Jing Yard. With its various venues, the complex strives to provide an all-day destination from the early afternoon to the late evening for Beijing’s cool kids. One thing is for sure: We’ll have to wait until payday for our next trip, when we’re feeling flush and ready to enjoy the finer things in life.
[Images via Andrew Braun for That’s]