Old Jack's is a small, unassuming bar in the middle of Qingdao, across from Book City, and steps from Crown Plaza, one of the best hotels in the city.
The place can be a bit slow, even sleepy, in the afternoon (after 3 or so), with just a few (usually) Westerners enjoying a draft or Gin & Tonic after work. In the evenings, after about 7, things get more interesting, with live spontaneously offered guitar music a regular feature. Old Jack's seems to be a favorite place for many Westerners, especially Aussies and Kiwis. During the summer, several tables are set up on the sidewalk and quickly fill up.
Though a tired looking place from the outside, Old Jack's is a decent place to pass the time. Jack, the eponymous owner, is usually on site. The drink quality and surroundings are good, and the staff are friendly and helpful.
With only one tap, and a small bar area, wait time for drinks can be a bit long if the place is busy. A gentle reminder may help things along, especially with newer staff.
It is a full service bar, featuring beer, wine and spirits, although the wine list seems a little short. The only tap beer is the local favorite, Tsingtao, although they have a handfull of bottled beers, including Tsingtao, Corona, and Heineken. Also, they offer a locally made version of a Belgian ale, called Belgian Strong Ale, although by flavor profile and alcohol content it falls somewhere between a Belgian Pale Ale and a Belgian IPA. Two other drinks which are specialties of the house are Gin & Tonic and fresh coffee. Some believe that their coffee is the best in town.
Old Jack's does not have much in the way of eats, other than popcorn, which is free but only served by request. The staff generally do not mind if you bring a sandwich from elsewhere.
The prices are pretty good for bars in Qingdao, especially in the downtown area. At 20 yuan for a large mug, or 15 for a bottle, the beer value is better than average. The specialty beer, the Strong Ale, goes for 35 yuan. For tourists, that's about $3.10 a mug, $2.35 a bottle, and $5.45 for the Strong Ale (at 6.45 yuan per dollar). Other drink values will vary according to the drink and the drinker; remember that in China "name" liquor always carries a premium (e.g., Hennessy VSOP).