Briefly obsessed with a Chinese bar

18.07.2012, 16:30
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Julia Lovell has a nice image at the beginning of her book on power and architecture in China; she describes western journalists’ endless nights waiting in the Foreign Correspondents’ Club bar for the China Central Television towers to meet.

«That November, the city was buzzing with rumours that any day now the towers – two black, diamond-patterned chopsticks tilting unsteadily towards each other through the smog – would be joined. Enhancing the mysticism of the event, the project’s engineers (the high-priests of this architectural cult) had decreed that the connection had to be made at dawn, to ensure the equal temperature of both sides. Obsessed bloggers and amateur photographers stalked the building in both the virtual and real worlds; journalists eked out their nights at the Foreign Correspondents’ Club bar, listening for tip-offs that the dawn to come would be the dawn.»

I wanted to find out more about this FCC bar. It sounds like a good time.

Their website has no address. Is this typical for China?  But an event listing on their site gives the Bookworm restaurant as their recurring happy hour joint.

Here’s the bookworm:

The Bookworm, Beijing

It’s an interesting building and there aren’t any windows on the ground floor because it’s a pump house. The owners tell me that they can feel the vibrations when the pumps start up.

But not really a bar. I catch a break when the Correspondents Club of Shanghai lists the street addresses of all their reciprocal clubs, including Beijing.

Which puts them in Chaoyang, the diplomatic and corporate headquarters district, in the Jianguomenwai Diplomatic Apartments.

Unsurprisingly there’s no street view for China, and the complex is so large that none of the photos (on Panaramio, for example) are useful.

So the trail runs cold. Until I keep reading on the Shanghai page that the FCC of Beijing has no clubhouse at all.

Julia, did you make this place up?