A whole new world
2007-09-17 13:46:10 [ Big Normal Small ]     Comment
A whole new world

Cosmo lives up to both meanings of its namesake - alluring Beijing's "citizens of the world" and capturing the essence of the classic cocktail. The opening of this new nightspot in June marked a vocational about-face for soldier-turned-entrepreneur Wang Xiaolong, who came from Hubei to Beijing to patrol Sanlitun in 1993, "when there was only one bar there".

And this former military man's dream-come-true is worthy of salute as an antithesis to the tawdriness characteristic of much of Sanlitun. Following a regiment of reductivism, Wang created a minimalist milieu at Cosmo that is the first of its kind in the neighborhood.

The establishment's unadorned, plaster walls are purposefully painted to resemble concrete, while a few spots were intentionally brick-lined in order to achieve the "industrial" charm characteristic of Dashanzi.

Another bizarre but brilliant decorative device is the use of miniature furniture - tiny tables and small sofas, knee-high to the average adult - in a spacious room with conspicuously high ceilings. The effect is a confounding of patrons' sense of scale that is truly unique among decorating schemes.

Lighting here is provided almost exclusively by candles, and the only decorations take the form of reed-filled urns, two massive mirrors and a projection screen upon which staff show an eclectic mix of international music videos.

However, in the room next to the main seating area, which houses a dance floor, the music and dcor get louder - but not much. The walls here are patched with mirror tiles, and a disco ball dangles amid a cluster of robotic lights above an oblong section of hardwood floor set into the concrete.

Cosmo hosts parties twice a month, which it announces on its bilingual website www.bjcosmo.com.

Chatty wait-staff serve up more than 70 varieties of beer (20-25 yuan) and cocktails (30-45 yuan). Its specialty drink, the BJ Cosmo, adds a splash of raspberry juice to the mix, deepening the drink's hue to a more vibrant shade of red - "the color of Beijing", Wang says.

Nightlifers seeking thrills without frills would find Cosmo to be a refreshing watering hole among Sanlitun's often-garish grab bag of nightspots.

Location: Room 78 of Grand Rock Plaza (accessed through east entryway), Gongti Bei Lu, opposite Asia Hotel
Opening hours: 8pm-late
Tel: 010-5190-8918
(Beijing Weekend)
Take your time (2007-09-12 12:59:31)

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