Mystery in San Francisco's Chinatown: Cold Drinks Bar


the scoop

Martell Cognac and China Live invited us to join them in celebration of Lunar New Year at Cold Drinks Bar. Perfectly tucked away above Broadway Street in San Francisco, Cold Drinks Bar is just one of many bars in the new culinary destination, China Live.

A dark staircase with black bats covering the walls led us up to a gold door entrance.  We sat on the far end of the bar and watched white-tuxedo-clad bartenders whip up a specialty Cognac drink for our party. But before I could reach out and grab my drink, George Chen appears from the kitchen to order himself a specialty cocktail as well.

George Chen and Cindy Wong-Chen are the masterminds behind the mega-restaurant China Live. We were lucky enough to sip on Cognac while enjoying a brief conversation with the two of them.

George spoke of his vision of China Live with enthusiasm, and explained that while China Live has been open for almost a year he's not quite done with all it has to offer yet. As if the Chinese market restaurant, Oolong Cafe, three different bars and a marketplace selling imported kitchen goods was not enough, China Live is slated to open a rooftop bar sometime this year.

Cindy Wong-Chen spoke of the impeccable design of their space. She pointed out the custom made lighting throughout the bar, the exposed concrete and brass based ceiling, the reflective television wall and the inspiration that design-firm AvroKo drew from Shanghai.

The Chen's and AvroKo have created a dynamic and interactive space that turns San Francisco's old-school Chinatown into a new and vibrant cultural experience. Overlooking one of the world's largest Chinatown's outside of Asia, China Live has successfully blended western influence with the many facets of Chinese culture.

Leather sofas line the walls while signage informed by traditional Chinese wood blocking can be found throughout the bar. Open seating is a theme at China Live, and we loved the communal aspects of the open spaces on each floor. Materials like native blue Shanghai brick, tile, canvas and blackened steel elements mystify the space.

Martell Cognac is the absolute perfect drink to compliment the sexy Cold Drinks Bar. Martell Cordon Bleu is also the most recognized luxury Cognac in the world, and the highest selling luxury Cognac in China.

To be completely honest, none of us were Cognac drinkers before Lunar New Year, but after the incredible Cognac served up at Cold Drinks Bar we are now. We're not sure if it was really the Cognac or the mysterious vibes of the Bar, but we loved it all.

Cold Drinks Bar is nearly a secret to the rest of San Francisco, and we'd like to keep it that way and keep it all to ourselves.



If you're feeling like a high roller one night stop into China Live as it is the only restaurant in California that is home to a bottle of Martell L'Or priced at $3,800 SRP.



↟↟↟↟↟ design

↟↟↟↟↟ drink

↟↟↟↟↟ hospitality

so, you say you want to go?...

☎ 415.788.8188

✈ 644 Broadway, San Francisco CA

(We'll be back to share a review of our dining experience with China Live in more detail. Stay tuned..)