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Sometimes it’s worthwhile to stray from downtrodden paths, although we can imagine that in the case of a sprawling city like Beijing, wanderlust requires a certain audacity and navigation skills. In Huilongguan, a residential suburban neighbourhood in the north of the city, a funky little establishment popped up that may lure locals to its doorstep with its offerings, but we’re particularly smitten with its new silvery guise. Despite being named Lucky Bar, this isn’t really a drinking den, but restaurant specialized in skewered meat dishes. Indeed, a barbecue bar. The location, measuring a very modest 76 sqm. [818 sq.ft.], is totally inconspicuous, and was previously occupied by a ramen shop.

Local architecture practice Robot 3 was enlisted to create a transformation from shop to eatery, and has done so by initially drawing inspiration from the restaurant’s geographic location and its socio-economic significance in the greater urban context that is the Chinese capital, but in the end settling for the conclusion that design can be a transformative force that’s able to creates new perceptions. Given the limited budget, the architects thus created a cocoon-like setting out of panels of corrugated metal, covering the walls and ceiling of the elongated space. Recessed walls and a circular ceiling cut-out are backlit, and add a visual twist, whilst concrete flooring balances out the shimmer and shine.

Furnishings comprise of a service counter – replete with a whimsical component: a living tree – up front near the entrance, in addition to simple and sturdy metal tables and chairs that can accommodate up to 24 guests. A number of pendant lamps provide additional lighting. At the far end, cordoned off by a transparent plastic curtain, a private dining section is situated that seats an additional eight people. As said, Lucky Bar is carnivore heaven, featuring a menu dominated by skewered beef, pork and lamb chops, but fish and veggie options are also available.

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