W Suzhou's WOOBAR Puts the WOW in Woo

By Sophie Steiner, May 24, 2021

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The Place 

WOOBAR is the signature bar of the W Suzhou. During the day, this inconspicuous lobby bar serves up creative coffee beverages, bubble tea and light snacks, along with afternoon tea sets post-lunch.

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Image by Sophie Steiner/That's

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Night time, however, is when the magic happens. The neon lights switch on, the movable DJ stand rises and electronic beats permeate the entire first floor, turning the decorative living room into a one-of-a-kind nightclub. Serving whimsical cocktails, the attentive bar staff engage with customers, while live DJ performances bring the vibe up to a 10. 

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Image by Sophie Steiner/That's

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The interior layout of WOOBAR is inspired by Suzhou’s signature classical Chinese gardens – with natural elements incorporated into the more contemporary design – a vision created by the Rockwell Group in collaboration with the CKP Hospitality consultants. 

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Image by Sophie Steiner/That's

From a platinum gold ‘moon gate’ behind the bar, to floating metallic ‘rocks’ overhead, to flowing ‘waves’ of blue water found in the eclectic furniture, the Chinese garden elements all make a showing, but with a modern twist. 

The Drinks 

Showcasing some of the top mixologists’ talents in the city, WOOBAR offers a menu of eight signature cocktails, as well as classic mixes and both seasonal and themed drinks. 

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Arriving cloaked in a mysterious veil of dry ice smoke pouring from a bejeweled genie lamp, the St. Rawberry (RMB118) is a fruit smoothie-like mix of beefeater gin, balsamic lavender syrup and home-made cranberry juice topped with a velvety coconut foam and crisp, freeze-dried strawberry nibs. 

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The refreshingly light Jinji Lake (RMB108) is an ideal sip for spring, with beefeater gin, Bianco vermouth, lime and apple juice plus fresh, aromatic basil, crunchy cucumber and a hit of spice from a green jalapeño. 

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Like something out a ‘70s disco, the Rainbow (RMB108) sees a colorful blend of Olmeca tequila, Aperol, passion fruit syrup, lime and pineapple juice and egg white powder topped with a retro rainbow-emitting mouth made out of sweet, edible fondant. 

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Image by Sophie Steiner/That's

Using Japanese craft Kinobi gin, the Maple Fall in Kyoto (RMB148) blends together sake, yuzu purée, lime and bubbly homemade yuzu soda for a tart yet fragrant drink, topped with a citrus peel. 

To accommodate the low ABV and non-alcohol drinking contingency, WOOBAR also offers four signature 'naked' cocktails featuring Seedlip – a clarified, non-alcoholic spirit available in three different flavorful blends – plus a mix of fresh juices, teas, syrups and extracts for tasty bevvies sans alcohol. 

For those with the late-night munchies, finger foods – like Sweet Soy Glazed Edamame (RMB68), Sichuan-Style Crispy Boneless Chicken (RMB108), Parmesan Fries with Truffle Mayo (RMB88) and more – are available for the snacking. 

The Vibe

The chic space is stylish and hip, yet approachable. Because this dynamic bar is situated in a common space – the hotel living room – it’s less pretentious, inviting an interesting cross-section of both local and foreign guests to sip, chat, play any of the engaging board games on offer and enjoy the inviting, inclusive atmosphere.

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Image by Sophie Steiner/That's

The bar staff provide an unmatched level of service, constantly anticipating the needs of guests and recommending unique libations based on individual preferences.

Recurring weekly events appeal to different crowds, with Latin Night dancing on Tuesdays, Heels Night on Thursday (anyone sporting 8cm or higher heels gets free drinks after 8.30pm... and they mean literally anyone) and live DJ shows on both Friday and Saturday nights, with rotating music styles. 

Essentially, if it’s a day ending in ‘y,’ there’s something fun happening at WOOBAR. 

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See a listing for WOOBAR.

[Cover Image courtesy of WOOBAR]

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