The Chestnut Pub, while no longer the greatest pub in the Wuxi China Expatdom, an honor long lost to Gambay’s, is still its oldest. Claiming to have been opened in 3500 B.C. at the beginning of Three Sovereigns and Emperors era of Chinese history, the Chestnut Pub has been at the same location at what now is the corner of Zhongshan and Qongning Roads.
"It wasn’t easy for the three thousand or so years of our existence!" said owner Wally Droop, who was in a reminiscing mood. "No Expats knew of the place and it was hard to advertise because there was no t.v. or radio or Internet! And if we did have customers nobody would believe us! It was the stuff of legend and hearsay everyone would say!"
"The big break for us came when we were able to get this guy, Confucius, apparently he was quite influential, to give us a plug! We didn’t have any Expat customers but the locals who came, whether they be poets or philosopher-wannabees, kept the pub going."
"We did run into trouble at that point with the authorities who wanted to shut us down. Thankfully, we were able to prove to them that we had the mandate of heaven and other licenses."
"The first Expat to come to the Pub was this Italian guy named Polo. He didn’t pay his tab and he was telling the most incredible of stories. One evening, I told him to scram and never come back! He was annoying the locals and leering at their woman! I haven’t had a good Italian come into the pub since!"
"The grandest time for the Pub had to have been during the Tang Dynasty. Every Wednesday was poetry slam night and it was wonderful. Good poetry and good nightly receipts. It was really sad to see that dynasty fall!"
"The worst time for the Pub had to be during the 20th century. First, there were War Lords and then there were Red Guards, and then the Sexpats and English Teachers came traipsing in!"
To celebrate the 5511th anniversary, Droop says patrons who are able to drink 5511 mls of beer, will get a 55.11 percent discount on their bar tab.