Societal upheaval takes no prisoners. For our petrol-chugging, two-wheeled friends, this means the roadside shacks that offer little more than pool tables under a haze of smoke are also a thing of the past. No; nowadays, the discerning biker heads to Red Room. In an area of Jiangning with not a lot else of interest to the average expat other than a large French supermarket, and as the brainchild of partners in crime Simon Oliver (U.K.) and Danny Alfiero (Canada), Red Room opened up its doors just before Chinese New Year.
With Oliver’s Skyteam Scrambler sitting on the pavement outside, Red Room certainly walks the walk, both as a no-nonsense bar, but also as stylish biker hangout. Yet, the vibe that strikes most at Red Room is the friendly atmosphere in which all creed and colour is made to feel part of the family.
Onto the business end of things. German beer on tap and the usual suspects from Belguim are joined by some true rarities that make Red Room such a standout, including four different varieties of Tennents, a Scottish staple that I have never before seen in China, accompanied by others equally new to Nanjing; Isaac Baladin from Italy, in addition to two Spanish imports; Trolls plus Africca.
Finally, as a kind of rite of passage, keep a watchful eye on the cocktail preparation; you may well be in for a house shot that is positively embryonic, yet hits the spot nicely.
Decor-wise, the designer biker bar theme is continued in artwork by Ukrainian, Zhenjiang-based expat Tetiana Vankhalska. No stock photos, no vintage knock offs bought on Taobao here; on the walls of Red Room is where heavy metal and bikers sit most comfortably together, in what is the bar’s very own Hell Rider.
With entertaining tales of the bar’s establishment fanning the flames of brother and sisterhood; of kitchen fires and the ironic desire to ask the neighbours to turn it down, Red Room’s partners told The Nanjinger of surprisingly little issue with the authorities; perhaps local officialdom would be approving of a few more startups of this nature in the area.
Red Room is located at 125 Yihuai Jie, Jiangning (near Qinhuai Lu and opposite the Auchan car park exit) 江宁区挹淮路125号 Tel: 18512546335.