THE brick bar: Shuangjing Neighborhood Bar: Beijing, China: 2009-2010: ACT 1
This was my first baby, my first child, outside of a simply having a Chinese business partner, my first MAJOR responsibility in the world of giving to the people. I spent some 10 months hanging out in Beijing, China doing nothing. Well, I did a lot of traveling around, pissing on the sidewalk, and I obtained my TEFL International: 120/hr TESOL certificate.
Behaving like every single foreign who freshly steps off the boat into ultimate freedom in the Chinese world. For in China, one can do anything human necessity allows with only one rule.
-“Do anything you want to do as long as it doesn’t hurt anyone”.-
(words were spoken by a true ancient Chinese Sherman in half a shirt on the tourist bar street flipping for money.)
During my times of teaching fake English, trashing & bashing the bar scene as well as the local female population with mates; I was always searching, watching, and talking to folks about opening a business in Beijing. I invited so many people into my plans and operations looking for help and money, for no one came. Everyone had in mind there own selfish reasonings to take my limited resources. Foreigners in China, that’s a long story around the campfire. There was one exception though, but he’ll get mentioned near the end of this story.
Chine, was easy! If one studied USA economic history and the emerging of a niche market. China was ripe for the picking. Just be a cool foreigner looking different with tattoos, with cool ideas, and everyone will think you are some kind of rockstar celebrity! I mean, that’s what the USA Hollywood movie & music industry pumps out to the world outside of the USA borderline to the misguided. Which boosted my confidence in my goals of China mainland domination!. ha!
I had it all. Schooling, a bit of experience, and a website with a screen name of BRICK with a following that leads into the hundreds. Which really had no control over the development of THE brick bar, but did make for some interesting evenings. I have never experienced any form of popularity and mostly shy away, but in a way, at the time it was kinda cool! I met so many people from around the world drinking in my establishment where I guaranteed NO FAKE BOOZE
(super popular in China, fake booze, and you as a drinker will never know)
I’m am a man on constant upgrade. It doesn’t take me long to master any emotional behavior of the surroundings. Taking into consideration of my neighborhood, learning of the basic, I was able to form a routine in no time and I needed more. I needed something different at that time, and at this point, I grew really sick of teaching Chinese people fake English. I then built myself a bar and named it after myself. Filled it will my personal belongs that could only be shoved into an overnight bag, and call Shangjing my home!
With my goals and ideas ahead of me, it wasn’t long till THE brick bar started to come to life in Shuangjing, Beijing, China. An American bar concept in a neighborhood full of foreigner that was thirsty and dreaded the long taxi ride into Sanlitun. In 2009, Shuangjing was a growing environment that simply needed a neighborhood bar and we were the first establishment on the block followed by Lilys American Dinner and countless others.
This won’t be the story of how THE brick bar went on to make Shuagjing a destination neighboorhood for future foreigners moving into Beijing, nor will this be the story of how THE brick bar opened up the much need alternative to Sanlitun Bar street, nor will I be naming the number of folks that can claim their “name to fame” off my coat tails.
I have to say that this project as with ALL project in the Beijing scene was of MY MONEY! MY SAVINGS! MY STOCKS that got sold out before 2008 crash! MY IDEA, built by MY HANDS! With cocktails that were of MY RECIPES. 100% mine in every way, cause there is no other way. And yes it was me that introduced PBR to the scene. I believe Boyce has a statement about that. God, we would travel KM on the motorcycle to taxi back cases before finally reaching a supplier.
No outside help, nor money made this happen. Pure talent as a business-minded hard working individual is what happened, and the drive to leave America, that projected me forward for another 6 years.
Na, This will just be a few photos, and a few moment expressed to fulfill this post. All that sex, drugs, & rock n roll shit will be laid out in one of my upcoming books. A three-part series.
written by Brick O’Neal
(I’ve got so many books to write, I can hardly wait for my sea journies on the Beebop starting in late 2018)
My first foreigner bartender made this for me. Still in my position.
The first few weeks of opening. Keeping it simple and easy for there was only so much money involved in the opening and I still had to eat!
I took 2 doors from the old hair saloon business that occupied the shop space and hand painted everything! Evey Myspace was favored over FB back in those days.
As you can see, a lot of thought can into the making of this sign. I mean.. It was weird. There were only like 2 ways for all the companions of China to make the sign, and making it into 1 unit was impossible. So it either was this or something more defined or broken.
The building of the 2nd level. The 1st go around. It would be some 11 months later that we would extend the 2nd level for more table room for during those days… We were a hopping business once people discovered us.
Our business card with the map to make it easy for everyone to find.
I painted the walls black and left white chalk about the place. People loved it and so did I .. there was so much writing on the walls.
Secret cabinets that held the boose! The menu was super easy and become more creative over time due to some crafty artist friends!
This is great and I was happy and sad that I did this. But for decoration, I would play the artist.. well THE brick bar was me so I did everything, but I would use my “concert” shirts and frame them. I loved it. It was a bar that was all me. My first child.
(notice the cases of PBR)
My place to stand when I wasn’t behind the bar. Here I could see and interact with everything and everyone one and believe me… I always had to be on my toes.
Funny, I found some old footage of the renovation of THE brick bar.
Check out my business partner tell those workers what to do
I don’t even remember filming. I must just have bought a new iPhone or something.
I would go sneak, cut chains, and carried all the bikes in the bar off the street and on the wall, and there is a long fucken story on collect all the TV’s in the place. Well, a lot of stories collecting everything to put this bar together.
The day we start selling draft!
My sexy worker! My front door girl. Do China long enough, everyone one in business knows how important a ” door girl ” is!
Santa Con Morning!
Taking a break to post up with the DUDE! We would run a fun The Big Lebowski on the weekly with cheap drinks. Great! people from all over came!
A popular writer with a popular book even took the time to represent!! Thank you!
So THE brick bar was so hot to so many of us. These brave souls made it a mission to remember it forever! Thanks, guys!
I want to thank everyone that was a part of THE brick bar! It had a long run of 9 years. An accomplishment for bars in Beijing. I know we will carry some great times, some great memories no matter who owned it!.
Oh yes! I sold it one year three months after I created it to an English/British dude by the name of.. oh who cares. Let’s just say he played a Sanlitun bar manager job hopping game with friends in dark corners of the F&B scene. Powdered slopes in the kitchen were more fun than running a business and sadly he lost it within 2 years handing the keys over to a Chinese guy who took it to the new heights and to the end..?? Oh, and being a Chinese guy, he made a copycat bar of THE brick bar, a THE brick Bar II right next door. Which was awesome for a time for there where two THE brick bars to visit!
And if it wasn’t for this girl! The hottest thing to walk through THE brick bar doors… There would be no ladies night! Every night this fine ass walked in, the boys, men, and ladies of the night would follow. I thanked her deeply, and then made her one of mine!