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Chinese Cheers to Luxury

March 2013

By Noch Noch Li, Beijing

Sons and daughters of the rich like to spend their downtime in luxury car clubs, where membership is invitation only. The minimum qualification at Beijing’s Super Car Club is a Porsche SE 911. Outside, you’ll finds an array of neon green Maseratis, matte yellow Lamborghinis and baby pink Ferraris parked in zigzag formations from parking lot to pavement. Inside, we can only imagine the arguments over whose car is best and debauchery—with bottles of Cristal, Moet, and Veuve Clicquot, Petrus and Rothschild— is likely to ensue. 

For those who fancy whiskey, the Johnnie Walker House Beijing opened in December at Qianmen 23, east of Tian’anmen Square. The company calls the Beijing establishment the “world’s largest embassy for luxury Scotch whisky.” VIPs dine in private rooms, and those with RMB800,000 to spend have the option to create their own whiskey blend with a Master Blender. Non-members are only allowed in the basement “Distillery Bar,” where they can sip whiskey varieties and snack on canapés.

Those sticking a little closer to tradition may head to Indigo Mall, south of Beijing’s 798 Art District to sip Chinese tea blends at T Republic. Or possibly they will practice traditional tea ceremonies with exquisite Shang Xia tea sets purchased at China World Mall. Mahjong, a popular and very traditional accompaniment with afternoon tea, is seeing a surge in popularity with Louis Vuitton and Gucci now making tiles. 

Home-brewed Tsingtao beer faces serious competition with the young crowd, for independent breweries such as Jing A (“A” is the prefix of car license plates that only government officials and important people in Beijing have), Slow Boat and Great Leap are attracting followers. Heineken is upping its game in Beijing with massive marketing campaigns, such as the 007 Skyfall premiere.

Liquor, Beer & Wine
Design & Luxury
Food & Drink
Culture trendspotting: Beijing luxury car club
Luxury tea sets in Beijing
Chinese Luxury Mah Johng

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