We at Shanghaiist like our vodka. We aren’t, however, so fond of the cold. So when our invite for Binjiang One’s Pre-Holiday Party arrived, we were torn. On the one hand, just the thought of being in a room with 100-plus varieties of vodka (the Binjiang Snow Bar claim to fame) made us giddy. On the other, the thought of hanging out in the freezing cold and having to shmooze with self-important hospitality types made us cringe.
And what is up with Shanghai and ice bars?
Instead of getting our ThermaFleece knickers in a knot, however, we decided to bite the snowball (har har, get it?) and give it a go.
And, boy, are we glad we did. The ice bar itself was cool enough (bad pun fully intended) but it was the vodka that sold us. By Igor, the vodka! Since the room is kept at -10 degrees Celsisus (fret not, parkas are provided pre-entry), the elixir spilling from the bottles is at the perfect temperature, disgustingly smooth and deliciously sharp. We sampled a fair bit (hiccup!) but only so that we could give you, dear readers, the best picks of the lot. (What a selfless, altruistic bunch, eh?) Among our favourites: the coconut and espresso flavours from Van Gogh . L’Orange from Grey Goose was a great straight-up sipping shot and, at -10, it was heavenly. Chopin was another standout. And, as lovers of red wine, we couldn’t pass up the Due, a delicious vodka distilled with merlot grapes. Cin cin, indeed. (Shots run about 70 to 90 RMB each.)
BinJiang One itself is a bit of schizo space — the converted mansion houses four bars and five dining areas (some private). Each room has its own theme, from quaint French country to British granny’s attic to aforementioned polar bear haunt. Guh. We suggest they pick one look and stick with it. One highlight, however, is the cozy basement wine bar/cellar, which made us go gaga over its 100-plus bottles of Dionysus’ nectar.
While we didn’t eat at the restaurant, we’ve heard good things. The hors d’oeuvres we did try weren’t outstanding, but you can’t judge a place based on circulating, lukewarm, bite-sized nosh. The desserts, however, were nothing to write home about. They got points for being pretty but, at the end of the day, you can’t sate a sweets junkie with ‘pretty’. It’s a nice thought though — if it were true, Shanghaiist would probably have maintained our girlish figure. Sigh.
Binjiang’s Snow Bar hopes to have 200 types of vodka in its collection soon. A very commendable goal. So commendable, in fact, that we would be happy to help them celebrate (wink wink) once said target is reached. Can we expect our invite in the mail?
Binjiang One, Youlong Garden, Shibu Jie, Fucheng Lu near Huayuanshiqiao Lu, 滨江富城路拾步街由隆花园近花园石桥路. Tel: 58777500.