Named after its infamous owner, Eagle, who set up the very first nightclub in Wuhan, the Eagle Bar is bringing a new lease of life to the riverside. This weekend marked their opening party with Wuhan social, and with plenty of free cocktails, a live band and DJ, the place was unsurprisingly packed and made for a massively successful night.
Wearing a large silver eagle ring on his finger and a Harley Davidson T-shirt, Eagle is quietly confident and relaxed, having experienced Wuhan’s bar and club scene develop over the past decade and knowing how to keep up with its ever changing demands. Being friends with many of Wuhan’s DJs and bar owners, Eagle is well connected and loves music and motorcycles, beginning his career by selling speakers in Shenzhen, then moved onto selling higher quality speakers to bars and KTVs in Wuhan and eventually became a bar man himself.
After setting up the hugely popular club, 197 back in 1997 and launching Wuhan’s nightlife, Eagle is changing his approach yet again, creating Eagle Bar as a throwback to the old days of 197 for his older community of customers who have now settled down. This time he’s created a bar rather than a nightclub, having grown tired of the clubbing scene and wanting a change towards a more relaxed setting, explaining that the bar is ‘less about business and more about style and culture’, providing a venue for his friends to still drink in the evenings.
It was while in America visiting his sister than Eagle first decided on this new venture, and being a massive Harley Davidson fan (he owns a whopping six himself), Eagle chose to make the bar American style and full of motorcycle memorabilia, with a large Harley Davidson right outside the front door. The place has been designed by Eagle’s friend, Yuan Jun, another bar owner in Wuhan. He is behind much of the bar’s décor and hand painted the original vintage style posters which line the walls.
Dian Dian is the glamorous bar manager, who started working with Eagle 7 years ago. She’s well connected and as we talk, customers continuously approach her to kiss and catch up, one of which she hadn’t seen for five years but who still remembers her fondly. Back in 2006, Dian Dian was a student at Wuhan University and a customer herself as Eagle’s 197 club. She has seen the way Wuhan nightlife has taken off over the years and after graduating, she naturally fell into working with Eagle.
The drinks are made and served with expert execution but without a hefty price, with all cocktails under 40RMB. Hanging from the ceiling of the bar are different kinds of glasses for every kind of beer, so that every drink has the perfect presentation. They have seven beers on tap and an extensive range of classic cocktails, all of which are also well mixed and well presented, with fresh fruit and miniature umbrellas adoring the glass. They sell unusual finds such as Liefmans fruitesse, which is particularly delicious, a sweet and fruity beer unlike most drinks found in Wuhan.
With fewer bars and clubs on the riverside street, Eagle hopes to bring a new life to the riverfront, providing a different place to drink than a typical nightclub. They have just launched their food menu, including Chinese barbeque for a more local taste and Western classics such as spaghetti bolognese and fish and chips. With a stage at the back of the bar, they also plan to have live music and entertainment on the weekends, and the large TV screens play news and sports every evening. After witnessing its success in only its first event, this bar is definitely one to try as no doubt it will soon become a staple venue in Wuhan.