Next to the Shaanxi Bei Lu entrance of Shankang Li is Zodiac. Cocktails based on star signs, and an interactive DIY station for those who want to try their hand at making drinks.
Itinerant bar man Geo Valdivieso, who seems to be on a mystical journey of some sort, is the mixologist behind Zodiac. The last bar he opened, The Broken Dagger, was rife with enough esoteric symbolism you’d be forgiven for thinking you’d stumbled into an Illuminati mixer. His brand new cocktail bar is trading cryptic stained glass windows for star signs.
Designed by hrcreates, Zodiac is a compact, plush cocktail lounge, comfortably seating maybe thirty-forty people, built in sort of a U-shape that descends towards the back.
Every inch of the walls is packed with what looks like Baroque artwork until you notice the lacy modern lingerie and Louis Vuitton bags. The tongue-in-cheek humor should tip you off that this is the work of The Orangeblowfish, who also did the art for The Broken Dagger.
The Drinks: Zodiac-Inspired & The DIY Station
The menu is starting off with a tight 12 signature cocktails. Of course, it’s astrologically themed! Apart from cocktail interpretations of the (Western) zodiac, they’ve had an actual astrologer write out little horoscopes for each.
The menu is meant to be a conversation starter, ideal for dates and getting to know someone. Fair enough!
There’s a 13th cocktail, the Placebo (¥180), which isn’t actually a cocktail. It’s you, behind the bar inventing your own drink.
Despite the mystical astrological theme, Zodiac is taking a shot at demystifying bartending. Geo will take you behind the bar and walk you through the creation of your own Placebo: pick a base spirit, pick from bitter, sweet, sour, etc., and he’ll show you how to use the jigger, how to stir or shake and how to pour it into your glass.
They have a DIY station set aside specifically for this little experience, in front of a screen that’ll display your star sign.
They’ve got a range of syrups and whatnot to play around with. Having one of the bartenders there to guide the process means that whatever you make shouldn’t taste awful, but no guarantees. At least you’ll get a cool video out it for your Moments.
Final touch: they’ll have an actual astrologer—the same one that wrote the menu excerpts—to come and do live horoscopes for guests. This’ll launch after its grand opening.
In Summary: Interactive Cocktail Bar
The bar is worth a visit just for that 13th cocktail; not many bars will let you behind the counter and play around with their stock (you usually have to wait until about 4am when the bartender is eight rounds in and feeling extra chummy to let you do that). It’s a bold move! A lot of bars rely on the mystery of “mixology”—dark alcohochemy!—but I can imagine this being a really popular feature.
It’s still in soft opening, so the staff can be a little shaky when Geo isn’t there. But in time, they’ll be up to scratch.
Address: 808 Shaanxi Bei Lu, near Kangding Lu 陕西北路808号, 近康定路
Hours: Sun-Thu 7:30pm-1am, Fri-Sat 7:30pm-2am, closed Mondays