EAST MEETS WEST IN SUZIEWONG

Club of­fers an in­ter­na­tional at­mos­phere and themed par­ties that keep guests com­ing back year after year. Dong Fangyu re­ports.

China Daily (Canada) - - LIFE -

The World of Suzie Wong (1960), which was the first main­stream Hol­ly­wood film to have an all-Asian cast, tells the story of an as­pir­ing Amer­i­can artist who re­lo­cates to Hong Kong and falls in love with Suzie Wong, a pros­ti­tute with a “heart of gold”.

That soul-search­ing cross­cul­tural ro­mance, the true love beyond so­cial rules and the images of Hong Kong bril­liantly and sen­su­ously con­veyed half a cen­tury ago makes the movie a time­less clas­sic for many peo­ple. The name SuzieWong con­jures up images of a slim, ex­otic Asian woman with al­mond eyes, dressed in a cheongsam with a thigh-high slit that teases with a now-you-see-the-skin-and­nowal­lure.

In Beijing, The­World of Suzie Wong is bet­ter known as a night­club. Named after the clas­sic film character, the club is a popular hotspot for danc­ing the night away to the venue’s house mu­sic. The club’s chic decor and friendly feel gives it a cos­mopoli­tan at­mos­phere.

The World of Suzie Wong opened in 2002 and was the first venue in Beijing to blend Chi­nese clas­si­cal dec­o­ra­tions with Western club­bing style, says David Han, 39, gen­eral man­ager of the club. Some say a visit to The World of Suzie Wong is like step­ping back to Hong Kong of the past.

“The crowd here is very ex­cit­ing. The at­mos­phere is def­i­nitely bet­ter than most av­er­age neigh­bor­hood bars,” says a drinker from Ger­many in the lounge.

The club has a wide se­lec­tion of fine wines, which are fairly priced for club mem­bers. But the venue is bet­ter known for its sig­na­ture cock­tails, es­pe­cially Suzie’s Mo­jito and Long Is­land Iced Tea.

Apart from the ar­ray of wines and cock­tails, au­then­tic Chi­nese snacks are also on of­fer. Some of the high­lights in­clude Suzie’s Won­tons and Yangzhou Style Fried Rice.

The TOUCH hall on the first floor is The­World of Suzie Wong’s venue for big par­ties. Up­stairs is the ter­race and VIP rooms for high rollers. Dur­ing the sum­mer, the rooftop seat­ing of­fers a quiet es­cape from the par­ty­ing crowd.

“I of­ten come here for a drink, nearly ev­ery time I come to Beijing. You have a quiet and chilled place forachat, an­dalso a noisy place for a deaf­en­ing dance,” says aRus­sian vis­i­tor.

Han says that Suzie Wong’s tar­get clien­tele are white-col­lar work­ers aged over30an­d­ex­pa­tri­ates.

Hav­ing worked at the club for nine years, start­ing as a bar­tender and ris­ing to gen­eral man­ager, Han says the growth of the club can be at­trib­uted to its in­ter­na­tional pa­trons and cul­ture of pro­mot­ing “East meet­sWest”.

“We are try­ing to make Suzie Wong a place of be­long­ing, a sec­ond home in Beijing,” he says.

SuzieWong’s themed par­ties dis­tin­guish it from its Beijing coun­ter­parts.

Its sig­na­ture yearly Cheongsam party “Ye Shang­hai”, mean­ing “nightlife in Shang­hai”, trans­ports you to the days of old Shang­hai in the 1920s. The event started 10 years ago and has be­come a popular party ex­pe­ri­ence.

The club’s monthly themed par­ties such as “Sexy Lips— To kiss or to­bekissed” never fail to at­tract crowds of well-dressed men and women. Con­tact the writer at dong­fangyu @chi­nadaily.com.cn

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