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New Drinks: Adam's Bar
A disappointingly generic addition to the circuit. Adam's hoists the rainbow flag in Sanlitun. Big on love, short on originality...
By Jul 2, 2015 Nightlife
Dear Adam's,

You were friendly and welcoming, and very much communicating the warm, all-inclusive “we love you” theme to guests. Also, I can't overstate how exhilarating it is to see two giant rainbow flags waving progressively during last night's rainy weather, especially on a street known more for methanol laced “cocktails” and sad, exploited women from Hunan humorlessly grinding against steel poles. Your vibe is Ximending Taipei; free and queer Chinese, which is so beautiful to see in Beijing.

But as a bar, you suck. I'm sorry.

Perched on that hideous stretch of old school tourist scams know as Sanlitun bar street, new gay bar on the scene, Adam's, is noticeable for just how out of the closet it is. Last season's Rupaul's Drag Race plays on the TV inside, hearts and rainbows adorn the menu, and servers are handsome and attentive. But the decor is generic in an “every single Houhai bar ever” kind of way, what with the distressed wood, IKEA lamps, overpriced hookas, booth seating and speakeasy lighting. The actual bar setup looks pro, until you look carefully and notice what bottles are on the shelf. Great Wall and Jacob's Creek wine, Bols liqueurs and other space fillers. It's all for show.

Adam's menu looks like a seventh generation copy of every other damn menu on this street, riddled with misspellings and nothing unique whatsoever. Gay bars typically make a brisk business of selling cocktails, so let's sample some from Adam's brief menu.

Started with a “Pina Caloda” (50rmb) that contained basically straight Malibu and coconut milk. Not awesome, especially at that price, but it's serviceable if you have a major sweet tooth.

The Sex on the Beach (50rmb) was like a drunk high school girl on spring break in West Palm Beach: full of cheap peach liqueur and cheaper bottled orange juice. But while we are trouncing the cocktail menu, the absolute worst offender was the “Beijing Romance” (50rmb), a cloying clusterfuck of what I assume to be crème de menthe and every other liqueur imaginable, all not playing well together.

It's shocking to me that anyone would enjoy drinking this.

But wait... A Scotch Bomb! I like the way that sounds. Scotch Bomb!

It also sucked, though. :'(

So, yes, we've arrived at the Scotch Bomb and it was 85rmb. You read that right. Eighty five kuai. There are a dozen bars in Sanlitun where you can get an incredible drink made with top shelf liquor and creativity at that price. Or you can have a shot of Ballentine's (I'm guessing) dropped into tepid beer at Adam's. Your call.

So let's close the sordid cocktail chapter and stick to beer, shall we? I had an Erdinger (50rmb) and although the price isn't great, the portion was generous. Maybe just slam down some Qingdaos (20rmb) Budweisers (30rmb) or Coronas (30rmb) while you awkwardly fiddle with your phone as your Grindr date sits opposite. (“He doesn't look like his profile pic...”)

So my proposed game plan for Adam's is to come during their happy hour, which is buy one get one free before eight, and just drink beer. They also have a nice rooftop, which we couldn't survey due to all the rain. There are worse ways to spend a summer afternoon, and a gay dive bar in Beijing is 100% worth supporting.

But in the meantime, I've patiently endured five Katy Perry songs in a row while the proprietor has been dancing around with his shirt off. Time to bounce. Cheers Queers!


Adam's Bar across from Page One in that scuzzy row of bars on Sanlitun Lu.


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