There's a new live music venue in Beijing, opening tomorrow. It's called DDC and it looks fantastic:
DDC is the brainchild of a guy called 69. Before getting the idea to open his own club, 69 was neck-deep in smooth jazz and world music tunes as one of the managers of Jianghu Bar. He worked there from 2010 until the end of 2013, when he decided to strike out with a bigger, bolder, riskier venture of his own.
69's vision is to incorporate photography, design, fine art, and film with his initial love of music. To that end, he's created a stunning space in which to take in the culture. DDC's interior design is extraordinary for this kind of laid-back hutong context. All of the small details — the Munich Olympics posters, the intricate floor tiling, the sub-bar Lonely Planet bookcase, the custom-made steel drum lamps (~3,000rmb a pop), the elaborate metalwork adorning the bathroom ceiling, the two living, breathing trees within the glass-enclosed courtyard bar area — were entirely conceived and executed by 69 and a close coterie of artist friends. The larger plan for the interior design was put together by the same guy who converted Wendi Deng Murdoch's courtyard near the Forbidden City. Bet it wasn't cheap. He drew the blueprints and gave 69's team one month to complete it. The end result is a pretty damn classy zone in which to get hammered and listen to music.
Speaking of the getting hammered: DDC is off to a running start with that. Their bar manager comes fresh off five years in the trenches at Pass By Bar, and has already hooked up an impressive beer selection: local NBeer, Slow Boat, and Panda brews on tap, ranging from 35rmb to 60rmb at the high end for Panda's 8.5%abv Barley Wine. That shit's no joke. There's also a carefully curated fridge of imports: Quintine, BrewDog, Brewers&Union, etc. No domestics. Booze-wise: 69 is a big Scotch guy, so there's a deep selection in that vein. Ranges from a single pour of Glenfiddich for 35rmb to 1180rmb for a bottle of 10-year Ardbeg. There are a few house cocktails as well. Can't tell you exactly what's in them, but they're pretty-lookin'. We tried the signature From Dusk Til Dawn (69rmb; has tequila and Pernod, I think... it's blue and purple) and the Dusk Drunk (50rmb; also tequila, maybe some orange juice, it's red and green), and they were both quite strong! House wine = a glass of Chateau Le Calvaire for 40rmb. All of the wines are Bordeaux imports, I'm told.
But the real selling point of DDC is the personality of the place, which is to say, the personality of its proprietor. 69's a character. He named the bar DDC (Dusk Dawn Club) — an overt reference to that 1996 vampire flick co-written by Tarantino — because he thought "Pulp Fiction" would be too on-the-nose. He named his son Quentin (焜丁). In lieu of a soft opening, DDC had a two-week "Open Debugging" period, a nod to 69's computer programming background. He calls tomorrow's grand opening event a "version 1.0 release party." That'll include a wide range of live music, reflecting 69's personal taste on that front: world folk, indie rock, Eastern fusion jazz, electronic. Didn't get a sound check while I was there but the stage area is quite nice. Decent gear, and there's also a gigantic screen at the back of the stage for movie nights. Programming-wise, DDC already has live music booked for all of the weekends through the end of August, including a collaboration with music crowd-funding platform Musikid on August 3. (He's trying to raise 150,000rmb there now, FYI.) They'll also have music workshops, whiskey seminars, vaguely articulated contemporary culture salons... basically anything falling under the wide umbrella of 69's personal tastes and interests.
So, the brass tacks: DDC is located at #14 Shanlao Hutong, about a 10-minute walk from the southeast exit of Zhangzizhonglu subway stop on Line 5. Pinpoint it on a map here. They're open from 1pm-1am, closed Mondays. You're looking at ticketed events on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday nights (ranging from 40rmb - 100rmb at the door), but it's open for free, casual lounging on the weekdays. All kicks off tomorrow night, so get down there and see for yourself if you're in the mood for a bit of lux Tarantino worship, with tequila drinks, and music.
Find more info on Dusk Dawn Club (DDC), including map and contact information, in the listing. Their opening party tomorrow (Friday, July 25) features a film screening, poetry reading, live music, and a late-night DJ; full info on that one here.