The legend of Bar Fable
WORDS: FREDDIE XIANG
Wang Han is the owner of Bar Fable, an SMWS partner bar in Changsha, capital of China’s Hunan Province. Here are his reflections and ruminations on the art of bartending, owning a bar and the pleasure of being able to offer his patrons Society whisky
My guests often ask me for a glass of cask strength whisky to satisfy their desire for novelty or surprise.
I usually choose an SMWS bottling and coyly ask them whether it ‘tastes good’ or whether they are ‘satisfied with it’. The answer is always affirmative.
People often ask about the bottlings. Sometimes, I’ll answer frankly, offer some information about its name and origin and tell something about its story. Other times, we just look at each other and it’s enough to exchange smiles.
ABOVE: Wang Han
“Your opportunity to be able to drink the same whisky again may be limited. I’m happy to give you time to lose yourself in your daydreams”
It depends on your mood. For instance, when I see your expression of satisfaction and childlike happiness, I hesitate to break the magic of that moment. Because it comes from a single cask, your opportunity to be able to drink the same whisky again may be limited. I’m happy to give you time to lose yourself in your daydreams.
Since I joined the trade in 2010, every time I stand at the bar in my uniform, all my past experiences are held vividly in my mind. I could tell you quite a few stories and would have mixed and complex feelings to share without having to even take a sip of the whisky.
While drinking whisky, I would think about the joy of my family and friends while experiencing the freshness and balanced taste. In my mind, whisky is like a piece of artwork. After some time, an indescribable feeling is deeply imprinted at the bottom of my heart.
This was my initial impulse and passion in wanting to own a bar. I strove to turn my desire into reality. I am fond of various ancient architectural forms and old fairy tales. What a great thing it would be to have a place that integrates all these things! Whenever I think about it, I feel that the bar represents a piece of artwork, full of aesthetic appeal.
“I have more than 1,700 bottles from different brands and across many years. Among them, there are 131 SMWS bottlings”
Bar Fable was born in August 2015. The excitement I felt at that moment is still fresh in my mind. So is whisky, and it has dawned upon me that art should have been like this.
I have more than 1,700 bottles from different brands and across many years. Among them, there are 131 SMWS bottlings. Each one brings me so much joy and excitement, which it’s my job to share.
I would like to offer my special gratitude to SMWS for awarding me the honour of being an SMWS partner bar for two consecutive years, which has been the best reward for the job that I have been doing.
The question I hear most often these days is why on earth I want to open such a bar. My answer is that I did it to share, to be romantic, and to present my original version of ‘joy and excitement’.
Above all else, I’ve found my true passion – let me share it with you.
With thanks to SMWS China ambassador Freddie Xiang