Pete Sweeney (more chengdu)|
It’s not fair to say that Chengdu is short on bars, but there are two problems. One is that the current scene isn’t diverse enough. There are plenty of pubs and patios. There’s no shortage of discos. But let’s admit it, Chengdu needs more lounges to break up the monotony, and thank God, at long last, Panda Bar has arrived to help fill the niche.
First, Panda’s look and feel are distinctive. The space occupies a corner overlooking Kehua Bei Lu. Over cocktails you can watch the blue light show running up the Libao skyscraper, which gives the place a much more urban, sophisticated feel. The interior ambiance is both warm and industrial. Wood flooring and red lamps are offset by lots of silver spray paint on almost everything else. Couches and comfy chairs abound, and the second floor features a television with a DVD player, and a private party room overlooking the mid-size dance floor. The place is, in a word, hip. It’s the sort of place worth dressing up for a little.
The dance floor is a piece of work. Panda commissions both DJs and VJs (who produce a synchronized video show), and so far the music leans towards danceable house and more ambient lounge music. Since the dance area is separated from the lounge area by concrete walls, Panda offers an environment where you can both dance and hear people talk, a rarity in my experience.
While the Panda Bar is poised to compete with Café Paname, from a consumer perspective it’s great to have multiple bars within walking distance of each other, and hopefully the convenience will encourage the bars to cross-pollinate each other. And frankly, the two bars are different enough to attract different crowds in different moods.
Panda features a full bar; beers and cocktails run from 20RMB upwards. On weekends there is frequently a 10 kuai cover charge, which goes towards the DJ and VJ. Guest DJs can be more expensive.