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Beloved Sanlitun brewpub Great Leap Brewing #12 to close

A last goodbye to GLB's ever-packed SLT location

It's been a tough two years for the Beijing's restaurants and bars, in which we've become sadly accustomed to this sort of F&B obituary writing, bearing the all-too-frequent bad news. But amongst it all, some of the city's best and busiest have stood stubborn, and kept serving us the goods through thick and thin (brick and thin, if you will).

Few Beijing bars – none, it could be argued – have known the sustained success, accolades and perpetual, Monday-to-Sunday buzz that Xingfucun's Great Leap Brewing #12 has since it first opened its doors in 2012. Long a Time Out favourite for its ever-reliable brews, atmosphere and top-notch pub grub (including that cheeseburger), it's duly swept up various awards over the years, among them Bar of the Year back in 2016. So it is with genuine sadness that we found out today that the beloved brewpub will be closing its doors for good this coming Thursday.

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Goodnight, sweet prince.

Writing via Great Leap Brewing's official WeChat account, co-founder and brewmaster Carl Setzer announced:

Sometimes you get to write nice things, but sometimes you have to write things that you wish you didn’t. After five wonderful years, Thursday, May 10th will be the last day that Great Leap Brewing #12 will open its doors to serve you all beer and food. The past couple years has seen Beijing change its attitude towards the food and beverage industry, and that has now reached Great Leap Brewing as well. The landlord at Ziming Mansion, where we have been located for the last five years, is adamant that there will no longer be tenants using this property for any and all food and beverage services. We’ve gone through rounds of discussions and potential compromises, but ultimately it was agreed upon that Great Leap Brewing will have to stop running our kitchen and find an alternative use for the space that does not include F&B. Because of this, Liu Fang and I have realized that one of China’s best bars and one of Beijing’s most successful locations has to change its function. We’ve done nothing wrong, this isn’t a punishment, it’s just the trend in Beijing right now. It’s not the end of the world, it just sucks. We can all agree on that. Well most of us can agree, if this news makes you happy, we hope you fill your time before you try and steal Christmas again.

Despite the obvious blow, and #12-shaped hole that's about to appear in our lives, Setzer and co. are looking to a bright future already, with the expansion of their brewing facilities and launch of their Allied Series meaning that Great Leap beers will soon be available at more locations in Beijing and beyond.

Fortunately, both the original Great Leap #6 hutong taproom – one of Beijing's best outdoor bars – and Liangmaqiao's Great Leap #45 location are remaining as open as ever, with the latter welcoming that cheeseburger and the entire burger roster onto its menu 'within the next couple of weeks'. (Meaning you'll soon be able to simultaneously chow down on one of Beijing's best burgers, and one of its best pizzas at the same, exact moment of time.)

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It's an almost hackneyed Beijing F&B truism that as one doors closes, another seems to open, and true to form, Setzer softened the blow this morning by announcing that a new Great Leap Brewing location is set to open in Lido this coming autumn. No details in full yet, but we'll be keeping an excited eye out.

Until then, make the most of the last three days of a true Beijing nightlife, lunchtime and dinnertime institution. It's been great, Great Leap Brewing #12.

Read Great Leap's Carl Setzer's statement in full here.

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