We were just informed that Julien Stelmach, the charismatic operations manager of one of our favorite bars in Shanghai – The Rhumerie Bounty – passed away of heart disease last week. It’s a very unfortunate loss: Julien was one of the friendliest, sweetest bar owners in the city.
Our memories of him go back to when the bar opened its first branch on Wuding Lu. It was the first of its kind for Shanghai and no bar since has quite gotten the combination of kooky theme and liquor specialization quite down. Julien was there the night of our visit, helping us pick out rum and laughing with us about the bar’s playlist – an eclectic mix of whatever was on his iPod on shuffle.
While some owners lose interest in their establishments after a while, we continued to find Julien behind the bar either at Wuding Lu or at the newer digs at Yongfu. And he continued to be just as affable as the first night we met him – each time we stopped by, no matter how busy the night was, he would spare a moment to say hello.
Julien was also incredibly generous with both his time and drinks when it came to charities. He offered up his bar at the drop of the hat numerous times for fundraisers and other charity events, and became an indispensable unofficial member of several organizations around town.
His presence will be sorely missed.
If you have condolences, you can send them along to [email protected] or on http://www.bountybar.cn/. His partners, Jeramy Villard and Gabriel Wang, will continue in his stead.