New Shunyi bar and restaurant Charcoal, recently played host to an all Irish stand-up comedy show. Comedian Ian Morgan was the host for the evening, and was joined by fellow comedians Colum McDonnell, and Colin Murphy. It was a great evening, with plenty of laughs, lots of swearing, and some brilliant put-downs to those who dared to heckle. The choice of venue, which Murphy likened to a meth lab with its craft beer tanks, was a great one. Visually, Charcoal is very impressive. It’s big, light with floor to ceiling windows, cool hanging bulbs, and in keeping with the restaurant’s theme, you’ll find burnt wood details throughout. Right in the middle is the huge shiny brewing room, beside a well-designed long bar. Large and comfortable seating booths, and a double sided fire place gives a homely feeling to the bar area, as well as the terrace.
Beijing is home to several craft beer venues and microbrews. Slow Boat Brewery, Jing-A, NBeer, and Great Leap Brewery, to name just some. Charcoal houses the brewery of Arrow Factory Brewing, offering some intriguing choices of craft beer and ale. The “Longbow Men English Session Ale” (RMB 30) is described as one of the easier to drink beers, with low bitterness. The “Seeing Double IPA” (RMB 35) is sweet with medium-full body and an element of bitterness. “Blonde on Blonde” is cloudy pale amber, with hints of caramel, giving sweet ale with medium body. “Dark Ages” is a creamier beer, with medium body. If you’re not a fan of beer, the cocktail menu is quite extensive (RMB 55-80). A few bottles of red and white wine are available, although the only white wine available by the glass is a chardonnay (RMB 36).
The food is BBQ, smoke, and pit cuisine. Jamaican jerk chicken (RMB 88) was well seasoned and the meat very tender. The Charcoal burger (RMB 88) had a good texture and was cooked as requested, with some tasty fries served alongside. The pulled pork sandwich was a real hit, a generous serving of tender meat, plenty of juices, and a zingy marinade. Service was a little slow, and some drink orders were mixed up. As they’re still in that soft opening period, we’ll give them the benefit. Charcoal is a nice venue, and when the patio opens up it’s likely to prove very popular amongst the Shunyi set. Look out for another night of comedy coming up in May, and there are rumors that comedy nights will become a regular feature on Charcoal’s events menu.
West end of Qingyuan Sanjie, Houshayu, Shunyi District (6040 8911) 顺义区后沙峪罄园三街西口
beijingkids Shunyi Correspondent Sally Wilson moved to Beijing in 2010 from the UK with her husband and son. Her daughter was born here in 2011 and both her kids keep her happily busy. In her spare time, Sally loves to stroll through Beijing’s hutongs and parks. She is a (most of the time) keen runner and loves reading: books, magazines, news, and celeb websites – anything really. Sally is also a bit of a foodie and loves trying out new restaurants.
Photos: courtesy of Charcoal, Sally Wilson