The Pass By's owners, Xiao Bian'r and Hai Yan
, embody Nanluoguxiang's unique spirit.
Xiao Bian'r (he's been called that for so long, he sometimes forgets it's a nickname-"Long Hair") is an artist who has done design work for outfitters like Black Diamond and Patagonia.
also a keen adventurer; the striking photos hanging in his
bar are from bike trips he's
taken annually to every part of Tibet.
, whom he
married in 1998, a year before they opened the Pass
By, says they were drawn to Nanluoguxiang
because it was the rare Beijing neighborhood where young Chinese and foreigners could freely meet.
As their business grew, they moved to a bigger location nearby.
Some T-shirts printed for friends spawned a gift shop.
Neither of them ever thought of becoming an institution.
"We opened the bar mainly as a place for our friends to hang out.
Everything else came naturally," Hai
"The environment has really changed," sighs the Pass By's Hai Yan.
"Before, it was more like friends; we knew everyone, and talked all the time.
Now, the customers are mostly tourists.
has become a tourist attraction.
All the tables are full, and there's a line out the door.
Most business owners would be ecstatic, but not Hai Yan