Feeling meterosexual? You better be. The rest of Beijing is. Middle class rakes all over the capital are soaking up a diet of flash - be it babes, cars or clothes pumped in via cable or satellite from Singapore and Hong Kong. Westerners may be getting all angst ridden over whether their new trainers were manufactured in a sweatshop or just by someone poor, but Beijing hasn't been rich long enough to feel guilty. And she is rich. Rich! She wants labels, she wants sports cars, she wants diamonds. And afterwards, she wants cocktails.
Three quarters of Beijing's upscale bar owners have seen this as an excuse to go miserably, oppressively glitzy. Drinkers beware these people are cut from the same cloth as those who drizzle chocolate sauce over a bacon sandwich. They don't care about you, the customer. They just want you to be impressed with how fancy they are.
Don't be. Go to Centro and appreciate the warm glow of watching a blue cheese martini lovingly crafted by someone who actually knows what a martini should taste like, and appreciates that there is a chance you do too. There's something almost spiritual about it. And to think, if you were to run into this good Samaritan in the street, you probably wouldn't recognize him were it not for his mane of pointy hair.
Tack on a happy hour that seems almost "Ferrero Rocher at the ambassador's reception" in its generosity (buy one get one free, 5pm-8pm everyday and 12am-1am (second round) on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday).
Special this month: On March 22-24 catch Video Persuasion, an "audiovisual epic". In collaboration with Moet et Chandon, Centro will create a one-of-a-kind experience in Beijing. UK duo, DivX, will offer a live audiovisual performance guaranteed to provoke.
On Friday March 23, also be dazzled by two fashion exhibitions of Massimo Rebecchi's haute couture and Konplatt's jewelry extravaganza.
My local SPR Coffee, in case you're interested.
Address: Centro bar at The Kerry Centre Hotel, Beijing, 1 Guanghua Lu.
Tel: 010-6561 8833 Ext 6636.