Time Out Bar & Club Awards: Best of the After Dark Scene [v]
   2013-12-12 09:42:10    CRIENGLISH.com      Web Editor: Luo Chun

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by William Wang

Across the globe, Time Out is reputed for its laser-sharp focus on the best that a city has to offer. Its food awards are well-established in Beijing, but Thursday night, they hosted their first ever bar and club awards.

Held at Sanlitun's The Orange spacious exhibition hall, it was pretty obvious that the crowd was made up of people who really take partying seriously. CRI's Jonathan Alpart and Time Out's James Wilkinson hosted the event, indulging in humor and swigs from one of the many bottles of wine floating around.

A total of 16 awards were created to encapsulate Beijing's vast nightlife scene, each category receiving just one winner, one merit award, and one people's choice award (as per vote count).

Badr Benjelloun (whose bar, Cu Ju, scored two awards) described the city after-dark scene as schizophrenic, eclectic and rich. "Beijing's nightlife is made up of so many little pieces everywhere. And it's all of these pieces that make up the big puzzle. To quote Guns and Roses, 'If you've got the money, honey, we've got your disease.' And that's Beijing. Whatever you want, it's here."

Time Out LGBT editor Jack Smith described the process: "It's really difficult because every venue in the city caters to a different kind of person, and has a place in a different area of the market." And there were other reasons that the decision-making was hard. "It's a small community and you get to know people. You're friends with pretty much everybody, so you don't want to disappoint people that you know, but at the same time, you want to be fair."

The big winner of the night was the Slow Boat Brewery Taproom, who snatched up a whopping six prizes, including the coveted Best Bar award. Manager Ashley Jurinka was thrilled at the outcome. "I don't think we expected this at all. It's a real vote of confidence from the city of Beijing. We're just a little hutong bar, ultimately."

Of all the prize categories, two were devoted to people as opposed to establishments: Best Bartender and Best DJ. Jeff Huang, aka DJ Shackup, scored the merit award for his mixing skills. He was genuinely pleased to have received the award, despite his low profile. "Not many people know me," he said. But his consistently well-chosen future bass, UK garage and trap tracks had nonetheless caught the notice of the folks in the game.

By the time the Best Bar had been crowned, the crowd was already unsteady on its feet, thanks to the overflowing wine glasses. But for the ever-parched hardcores, the next destination was to neighboring club, Parnas, for the awards' after-party.

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