Most bars would benefit from an archery range in the same way they would benefit from a live tiger roaming around. In either scenario, the potential for bodily harm is far higher thanks to the presence of alcohol – whether that’s a bite out of your intestines or an arrow in the arse. But you have to hand it to Jian Club, the novelty factor is undeniable. In fact, the Sanlitun SOHO bows-and-booze curiosity is about the most imaginative date spot you could conceive of.
Social lubrication comes in the form of a drinks menu that largely misses the target. The over-iced mojito (40RMB) refuses to be drunk through a straw; they appear to have blended an entire glacier, forced it into a glass and garnished it with mint and lime. The frigid failure is nevertheless a triumph compared to the shockingly bad martini (30RMB), which came out looking like a frozen margarita and tasted of nothing but gin and olive juice. At least there’s beer on offer (but again, nothing too fancy). Still, it’s not like you’re here for the high-end cocktails anyway.
Once you’ve wet your whistle, stumble over to the range and twang yourself silly until your heart’s content with your lethal weapon. The format is a lot like bowling – 120RMB gets you one of the dozen or so lanes for an hour – but with loaned firearm and finger guards in place of pungent rental shoes. Share one bow and a quiver of arrows among as many friends as you like and make the most of the brisk training course (which basically amounts to ‘just point and shoot’) from a staff member. The stationary target proved elusive during our visit, but, bullseye or no, we hardly felt shafted. Getting all medieval in a SOHO shopping mall is just too much fun.
By Jared Cline