Picture by Noemi Cassanelli
Images of marijuana leaves should be banished from any establishment that does not sell cannabis products. Cool-by-association only works when it bears some semblance to reality. Yet jagged leaf silhouettes are the overriding design feature at the distinctly marijuana-free Mado Bar, as they dominate its two main interior walls.
Behind the varnished wood bar hangs a flag adorned with the words “Jamaica spirit” and, you guessed it, another oversized leaf. Sadly, the only Jamaican spirit here is rum. But the house speciality appears to be absinthe, so this is of little consequence.
To add to the confusion, there are traditional Chinese masks on the wall, everyone here is Asian or Caucasian, and the soundtrack oscillates between emo and screamo (which is like emo, but with more screaming). As we write, “Stacy’s Mom” comes on and it feels like we are travelling through some kind of cross-cultural time warp. The adopted normality soon returns, however, and it is back to more emo. They don’t even have the courtesy to play reggae-infused emo.
There are some positives. The service is affable and everyone appears to be having a great time. Maybe this is what matters most and we are just a humorless bunch of cynics. But then we’re not 18-year-old backpackers with stunted musical tastes, and we don’t think drug imagery is cool if no-one is using any, at least not openly.
> Daily 7pm-2am (later on weekends); 60 Baochao Hutong, Dongcheng 东城区宝砂胡同60号 (186 1066 0116)