Mark Hiew (more chengdu)|
There’s something very self-conscious about some of the bar names in Chengdu. A number of them use their nomenclature to describe their size: there is “Little House,” “Little Bar,” (two of them, in fact) and “Middle Bar.” There’s no “Big Bar” that I’m aware of yet, but I have heard rumors that a “Rather Large Bar” is in the works.
Anyway, Middle Bar, located off of Fangcao Jie and opposite Little House café on the pedestrian Ruiming Street in Yulin, is another example of the Shangri-La chic style populating the city. Taking their cue from Chinese counter-culture capital Lijiang, in Yunnan, the co-owners, a graphic designer and an artist, opened the bar in 2007. The bar’s Chinese name is pronounced “Mi Du,” which, beyond the obvious transliteration, is also an area in Yunnan.
“What does this neo-hippie, artsy Shangri La aesthetic constitute?” you may ask. Pictures and batik prints from southern hill tribe minorities, as well as landscape travel snaps, lanterns from Tibet and lots of floral motifs. In addition, Middle Bar contains a wall of humorous hand-drawn cartoons and a collection of entertaining Chinese periodicals. In the evening, the laptops are stowed away, and the cafe becomes a smoky watering hole, popular with local artists.
A fully bi-lingual menu was being created at the time of our visit, featuring a wide selection of cocktails (RMB25-35), foreign wines (RMB160-230), coffee (RMB25), and a variety of teas (RMB10-50). As far as food goes, Middle Bar sticks to snacks, including popcorn, French fries and cashews, while the owners plan on making their own jerky (RMB10-30). Ice cream is 12 Yuan. In this balmy weather, you’ll want to take a table outside and engage in what the locals call bai long men zhen (chewing the fat), whilst soaking up the sunshine amidst the teeming crowd of locals, whiling away another leisurely Sichuanese afternoon. Do note the RMB15 minimum charge per head for a table.