New Bars: Salud Wudaokou
Salud has taken over management of a sleepy little Wudaokou café called Red Oak. So far, it’s still pretty sleepy, but there’s definitely potential for this to be a fun student bar.
The biggest obstacle is that it’s not in the heart of Wudaokou, but set behind the U Center on a strange strip of neon lights and unpopular venues. It’s about a 10-minute walk from the subway station, but that feels like a very far distance in Wudaokou, and in winter.
The large space has lots of wood, along with a fake fireplace, art of questionable taste and an oversized teddy bear collection. During the daytime, you’ll find lots of locals eating hamburgers and other Western-style food. But on the night we visited, there were more fuwuyuan than patrons, and a soundtrack of mellow French folk music didn’t help with the party atmosphere.
To the staff’s credit, they changed the music to much more bar-appropriate fare as soon as we asked. The same staff also recovered our wallet (left in the bathroom of all places), texted us immediately to say they had it, and kept it safe until the next day.
There’s nothing very special about the drinks menu apart from Salud’s signature infused rums, of which there are 10. They’re RMB20 a pop, and served in quite large shooter glasses. We chose to pay RMB1400 to try all 10—the “meter of happiness.” Our favorites included the orange and clove, ginger, and pineapple flavors, though we were not very keen on the jujube and thought the “Salud special spices” tasted a lot like Indian food. Tasting 10 rums with friends is very fun—we asked the staff for a pair of dice and invented a game called Rum Dice. We would go back just for that.
Rum Dice aside, Salud offers daily promotions: buy-one-get-one margaritas on Monday, free mojitos for ladies on Tuesday, RMB5 pastis shots on Wednesday, RMB99 for a meter of shooters on Thursday, a DJ on Friday, buy-one-get-one draught beer on Saturday, and a darts tournament on Sunday.
Our rating: 3/5 stars
What: Salud (Red Oak)
Where: 2/F, Qijixin Building, Zhanchunyuan Xilu, 展春园西路奇蓟鑫大厦南侧2层