If you love ingenious techniques and quirky miscellanies, come to Mg in Zhujiang New Town. Pronounced ‘Meg,’ this self-styled, white-collar after-hours bar is decked out and dressed to impress, with views and a quaint patio.
Its focus, however, is around the ultra-chic bar. A bronze theme runs throughout, obvious in the reflective metal bars that span the breadth of the ceiling and continue down towards the carpeted floor. It’s definitely female- and business-friendly, so expect swish bachelorette parties, after-work deal-signing meetings and fashionable summer soirees.
These days, drink menus appear to be attractively geeky, bringing science and creativity to the shakers to yield new textures, flavors and unexpected presentations.
At the same time, the drinker (no pressure) is meant to relish (and understand) these fancy compendium of molecular libations, whilst trying to appear cool (and sober). Egg white? Dry ice? Liquid nitrogen? Oak smoke? Floating jellies? When did drinking become so darn complicated?
At Mg, there’s something for everyone in its elemental drinks, but you must tread lightly, as these are not your tried-and tested pub flavors.
Want something attractive, experimental and sweet? The namesake Mg (RMB98) uses rum, fresh lime juice, blackcurrant syrup, peach syrup, bitters and a secret ingredient, and arrives blushing like a bride in a tall crystal glass. It’s sweet, refreshing and goes down smoothly (like all brides, eh?).
‘N’ (RMB98) combines chili-infused tequila, smoked whiskey, orange bitters and sugar, and comes with a show: theatrical blow-torching, pouring and smoke. The drink itself, however, tastes exactly like old libraries smell.
Perhaps you prefer a classic: the old fashioned (RMB78) is priced well and comes with a large ball of ice and orange peel that tastes just like autumn on your tongue.
Sloe gin varieties such as Monkey 47 (RMB138/glass, RMB1,680/ bottle) also feature, and anyone with a palate for these hard-to-locate bottles will be pleased.
We’re also mighty impressed by the wine menu: there’s vintage and new world, and select bottles from places like Lebanon, Ningxia and Yunnan. There is something wonderfully surprising about bottles from these latter areas, and frankly, we’re fascinated by a menu that offers more than just the usual suspects.
In the evening, a live band plays melodic tunes, and the music can be described as chillout lounge meets pop R&B, with a bit of soul and jazz thrown in.
Wait staff speak English, but you’re best finding the bar manager so you can rev up a conversation and get exactly what you need, when you need it.
Because it’s the kind of bar you may end up staying late in, pace yourself and eat too: Mg has chefs cooking up some snacks that are worth a try. Order the grilled Iberico pork slathered in a Korean-style BBQ sauce (RMB118) and the French oysters with chardonnay vinegar and lemon mustard dressing (RMB228).
For snap-happy moments, bring a bunch of sassy drinkers so you can all order different concoctions and ‘ooh’ and ‘aah’ as they arrive. We’re guessing it’s not often you have liquids poured from clear conical flasks or ones that smoke before your very eyes…
Who’s going: those who have read the Periodic Table of Cocktails by Emma Stokes
Good for: molecularity, chill-outs on the patio, splurging (aka Dan Bilzerian and his brood of brides)
Nearest metro: Liede (Exit B), 5 minutes
Open daily 6pm-2am. See listing for Mg.