Photos by Dixon Chow
Guangzhou appears to have caught cocktail fever as of late. Everywhere we go, it seems, we are told about an establishment’s “craft cocktails” and their award-winning tuxedoed bartenders – oh wait, there are no bartenders anymore, just “mixologists.” Yes, all this fire and ice-ball business is impressive, but maybe we’re not all okay with waiting 20 minutes for a drink and then paying a hefty price tag for that pleasure.
So it is a breath of fresh Caribbean air to discover Revolucion Cocktail’s relaxed vibe and sweatshirt-clad general manager, who can craft a cocktail with the craftiest – and in less than five minutes, no less. Under a ceiling adorned with colorful shutters and the iconic gaze of Che Guevera, you can sample a strong, refreshing zombie (RMB70), made with fresh juices, lots of rum and a halved passion fruit doused with booze and lit on fire. The in-house original Revolucion cocktail (RMB60) begins with crushing rosemary leaves, adding a savory note to the fruity mix. Our favorite, though, is the classic mai tai (RMB60), Nicolas Sanz’s cinnamon fusion as a base complimenting the orange zest and the “secret spicy mix.”
The bar is partly owned by the Oggi group and the emphasis on simple, quality ingredients carries over. What are labeled bar snacks could easily be meals. The ham and cheese pizza (RMB90) is thin-crusted and delicious. The cold cuts and cheese platter (RMB160) easily satisfies two with a rustic board piled with four different cheeses, salami, coppa, Parma ham, bresaola, walnuts and a basket of hot, homemade foccacia on the side.
Unlike many others in the midst of an identity crisis on Xingsheng Lu, kudos must be given to Revolucion for having a clear vision and concept. The Cuban theme is evident but not overdone. Elements of the easy elegance of a vintage Havana bar are present, but stylishly updated. Special mention goes to the numerous seating options, from beanbags to barstools and the comfortable, spacious patio. Sanz says they tried to do something different to the rest of the patios on the street – a sea of beer company-emblazoned umbrellas. No logos here, just clean, white tenting and simple furniture. Revolucion is modeled after the successful flagship bar in Shanghai, and Sanz says more will be coming, to which we say: viva!
// 9 Xingsheng Lu, Zhujiang Xincheng, Tianhe District 天河区珠江新城兴盛路9号 (3802 9960)