By David Gray
China never, ever fails to amaze. What better way to preserve a former Communist Party military leader’s cave headquarters, then to make it into a bar? Not just any bar, but a ‘Military Bar’, decorated with furniture made from old ordnance. What better way to use old artillery shells and land mines than to turn them into bar stools? Brilliant. It does make you ponder the question – now why didn’t I think of that?
Deep in the mountains west of Beijing, and extremely difficult to find, lies a cave where the former Communist military Marshal Lin Biao made his headquarters during certain military ‘disagreements’ with Russia in 1968. However, from this cave it is alleged he was also plotting the assassination of Chairman Mao Zedong. He died in 1971 when his plane mysteriously crashed in Mongolia, and shortly thereafter, he was officially condemned as a traitor by the Communist Party.
This intriguing history is the reason for the entrance of the cave being shaped in the form of an airplane (definitely a strange site at the foot of a mountain). A very realistic cockpit greets visitors just inside the door.
Guests are then presented with all sorts of Communist propaganda lining the roof and walls of the cave as they walk down towards the larger chasm, where the really interesting scene awaits them. At first, the bar looks fairly normal but when you look up and notice that the light fittings are actually made from old bombs, you start to look more intently at what exactly is around you.
The bar stools are made using old artillery shells for the stands, and land mines for the seats. For seating around tables, you can sit yourself down on an old ammunition box. The tables have a glass top displaying model battle scenes.