It was just past midnight when I stumbled upon NEMO, a budding bar nestled in Dongcheng’s upper walking street. A quaint place surrounded by obscure retail shops and a few kinky Japanese-style KTVs that my budget could ill afford.
From the outside of the bar, my friend and I could see much bonhomie—a handful of smiling foreigners mixed in amongst a few locals. We decided to slip in for a quick pint, though it didn’t quite work out like that. We opened the door to find the owner Helen, who greeted us politely and made us feel right at home.
The place was cozy but not small, beautifully lit providing the atmosphere with warmth and a charming glow. We grabbed a seat at the reclaimed wood bar which was designed to resemble a ship of some kind – it didn’t quite work. The cheesy Hong Kong film playing on the television provided us with a few moments of laughter and some conversation starters.
The few people who were there were quick to introduce themselves and spark up conversation, making us feel even more welcome.
For the next couple hours my friend and I sipped our drinks, listened to some great music and got lost in conversation with strangers at the bar.
Meanwhile, a poker game was being played with great intensity upstairs by some scruffy looking foreigners – we were told it happens every week. Occasionally, one of them would poke their head downstairs, or scream “Helen”, demanding a refill before swiftly disappearing.
The night carried on and conversations moved deep into the morning—it’s an open-until-the-last-man’s-standing kind of place—Many laughs were had and yet more drinks were poured. Pretty soon there were only a few of us left, the hour ungodly. This place has craft beer and charming bartenders, and feels like it is never going to close. God knows, why I hadn’t been here before. Until next time…
Find the bar here.