Cool, moody, atmospheric and awesome, Chinaskis is a bar on the edge of a motorway, that feels like a bar at the edge of a dark cult classic, it's Glasgow's worst kept secret, so we figured we'd head down and spread the word even more.
Of course the most famous thing about Chinaskis, is the fact that it doesn't exist. Well unless you know it does, of course. Nestled betweenn the Black Sparrow, and sister secret bar/pawn shop, the Berkeley Suite, blue-fronted Chinaskis is a signless enterprise with the blinds pulled shut for most of the day. But venue inside and you'll find a cool, covert lounge bar with quirky wall hangings, a long bar, a few small tables with closely clustered seats. This place somehow manages to be modern, retro and ageless all at the same time, and enigma of a bar that's simple and stylish, with dark woods and stone walls. The hidden gem within this hidden gem of course, is Chinaskis' beer garden, this plush split-level terrace is a world away from the drab roadside out front.
The Clientele & Atmosphere
Chinaskis is the kind of bar where you always feel like something's about to happen. Perhaps it's the literary-theme, or the fact that the bar feels both familiar and new all at the same time, but there's something rather mysterious in the water here. Unless you're braving the weather on the terrace, the best seat in the house at Chinaskis has to be at the bar. Not only can you pretend you're in some old gangster flick while you order a bourbon, but you can chat to the cool, amiable staff, check out the extensive liquor collection and take in the bar around. The crowd at Chinaskis are an effortless blend of twenty and thirty-somethings, stylish, without being too try-hard. The bar draws in some regular characters, groups of friends chatting over wine and cocktails, as well as couples in for tasty food and a low-key date night.
The Food & Drink
Chinaskis is a first and foremost, a bourbon bar, and prides itself on its arsenal of the stuff adorning the back of the bar. But it also serves a mean pint, and with it's cracking beer garden, there's nowhere better to enjoy a cold beer on a hot day. Talented staff can knock up any cocktail (try the Bloody Mary!) while the gin and tonic here, is one of the best I've tasted - made with Few American gin, which the wily tender told me, is actually a white whiskey. Eats at Chinaskis are pretty dang tasty, with some blinding burgers, hearty mains and tasty small plates. We went for a few of the latter, and while I can't say anything I ate was less than freakin' delicious, the polenta fries, king prawn tempura and smoked cheese and beer toast were among the highest highlights.
Chinaskis is a cool bar, not only because it's named after an unhinged boozehound literary character, not only because it's bourbon selection is one of the finest this side of the Atlantic, and not only because it arguably has the best beer garden in Glasgow. It's a cool bar because of all of the above and more. Oh so much more.