• Naomi Head

First look: UNION

Updated: Feb 9

Originally posted on July 5 2019 by Time Out Beijing

Photo: Union/The Opposite House

An elegant, social hotspot bringing the Silk Road to Beijing

First looks are initial sneak peeks at a new venue. Unlike reviews, which are strictly anonymous and paid for by Time Out, 'first looks' may be based on press trips or other non-anonymous visits. Look out for the full review coming soon.

Photo: Union/The Opposite House

What is it? UNION is the newest project from The Opposite House. The former hotel reception has been transformed in a bustling social hub that effortlessly transitions into a polished evening venue. The bar is heavily influenced by the Silk Road with its earthy, spice trade inspired palette, and playful displays of ingredients and materials found along the famous global trading route.

Photo: Naomi Head

A variety of seating areas create private spaces catering for every occasion; window seats for the people watchers and the central tables for digital nomads. The plush sofas and deep armchairs make the perfect hang out spot. And for those that want to be bar side can breeze in for quick business lunches or celebratory drinks for deals well done. There’s something for everyone to step out of the hustle and bustle of Sanlitun.

What’s on the menu? The Silk Road is your oyster when it comes to the signature cocktail range. From Thailand to Portugal, UNION has you covered.

Photo: Union/The Opposite House

Try the unique Genghis Khan martini (98RMB), a blend of Mongolian milk wine and French gin, balanced with the subtle combination of dry vermouth, elderflower, coconut and sea salt. The well-balanced ingredients make for a smooth and flavourful drink.

Photo: Naomi Head

For those who like something more out of the ordinary, UNION’s twist on the classic negroni, the origin of spice (98RMB) comes in a flask and is served into a tumbler over ice branded with the bar’s logo. The curry leaf and spice mix in this tipple packs a punch at first, but after the first few sips, the ice melts, mellowing the flavour.

If cocktails aren’t your thing, ask the knowledgeable bar staff to help you get lost in the extensive wine list. Each wine is served by the glass (90-900RMB), which is a Beijing novelty and allows for an evening of sampling.

There are a variety of food menus available at UNION that switch depending on the time of day with lunch, dinner, bar bites and an all-day a la carte menu offering tastes of the Mediterranean and Middle East. Try the arancini (60RMB) served with a delicious, herby tomato sauce that will leave you wanting more. For a Middle Eastern experience, order the fattoush (70RMB) and cold mezze platter (70RMB) with lemon-drizzled hummus, refreshing moutabal and colourful muhamarra served with doughy pitta bread and vegetable sticks. The San Daniele Ham (118RMB) provides a savoury kick to balance out the sweeter drink offerings.

Photo: Naomi Head

We say UNION is a beautifully designed space. Its curated back bar displays give a subtle nod to The Opposite House’s history of showcasing art, while the collections of buttons, cottons and ceramic samples create an immersive and tactile experience adding to the atmosphere of polished playfulness.

While the bar boasts a wide selection of wines, the cocktails are the real stars of the show. The signature range is well balanced, with complex flavour profiles that bring a taste of the Silk Road to Beijing, making this a great destination for young professionals and business people alike.

Union. First floor, 11 Sanlitun Nan Lu, Chaoyang district 朝阳区三里屯街道11号三里屯太古里北区瑜舍酒店 Open 11-1am daily

Naomi Head is a writer and media professional based in Edinburgh, Scotland. She has written for Time Out Beijing, Refresh Magazine, The Collective Mag and more. Find out more at naomihead.com.

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