May 11, 2018
This colourful cocktail bar makes much of the fact that it’s Chinese-owned and Chinese-staffed. It’s written large in the décor, which borders on kitsch in a knowing, fun way, with its Chinese lanterns and abundance of retro toys. Yuan is a bright, lively, playful space though not too brash it’s still a relatively cosy place to grab a drink. Old cartoons are projected on the walls and the bartenders wear the kind of red scarves that school children used to wear. The walls boast artworks by Chinese artists and the drinks are Chinese in influence too, making good use of local ingredients and served in vintage glassware. The Absolut Chongming Peach, blends peach vodka with Chongming wine and lemon juice, while the Shaanxi Warrior pairs hawthorn-infused tequila with apricot brandy, lemon and cranberry juice. The bar is one of the first in the city to use a Cocktail Carbonator, a special pressurised shaker designed for making fizzy cocktails. . The bartenders really know their stuff and there’s a theatrical flair to their cocktail making which chimes with the design of the place. If you’re at all interested in new Chinese bar talent, this is a place to check out.