Ink, Beijing [China]

Home, office, and playground. That has been Ink for me. As described it: Beijing’s Latest Underground Dance Spot.

Many have tried to coin a catchy name for the Sanlitun yard housing The Bookworm, Kro’s Nest and The Local. All have failed. If giving directions to this corner of Sanlitun remains a frustrating experience, Ink is at least another in a wave of openings that are marking this once-moribund area out as one of Beijing’s classiest nightlife enclaves.

Ink looks like an underground club wearing its Sunday best: concrete floors, clean layout, leather sofas. There’s a flash of gold, but even that’s done in good taste – no dripping diamante chandelier tackiness from the ceilings here.

The aim is for Ink to complement neighbors like Janes and Hooch and d lounge: drink your expertly-crafted drinks in those bars, then come here to dance. The drink list reflects that. Ink’s cocktails (RMB 65) are functional rather than fancy, there’s champagne and liquor by the bottle, and a small beer selection to keep you lubricated.

Ink Club & Lounge Trailer.

A lot of love has been put into the sound and visuals. Projectors beam images onto the screen behind the DJ booth, which boss Ivan reckons to feature some of the best kit in the city. Ink pitches its musical tent on housey ground, somewhere between the underground sounds of Lantern and Dada and the more mainstream beats of clubs like Spark. Smart choice, I say. If the main room gets too hectic, head upstairs to the chillout lounge and sink into the sofas for a breather. If you really want a place to yourself and your crew, the second floor has all you need for a party of your own – for a minimum spend, of course.

You might know the team behind Ink from the last incarnation of The Beach at Block 8. Their latest outing may lack a rooftop, sandpit and public showers, but you can expect the same, irresistible brew of hedonism with a touch of class. In a location already attracting discerning drinkers, Ink is an exciting prospect. Just don’t call me for directions.

Iain Shaw, The Beijinger