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Midtown Bar Entices Houstonians to Dine in Chinatown With Free Beer

Amid false rumors of novel coronavirus, restaurants in the neighborhood are struggling

Mapo tofu, grilled eggplant, cucumbers, and more dishes from Mala Sichuan Bistro.
A spread of dishes at Mala Sichuan Bistro
Mala Sichuan Bistro/Facebook
Amy McCarthy is a reporter at, focusing on pop culture, policy and labor, and only the weirdest online trends.

As unfounded fears surrounding novel coronavirus continue to impact restaurants in Houston’s Chinatown, Montrose beer haven Axelrad is stepping up for their fellow restaurant owners with a seriously enticing offer.

In a Facebook post on Thursday, Axelrad Beer Garden encouraged diners to head to Chinatown, dine out, and bring their receipt to the Montrose bar. “This is a call to action. Please go support them by having a meal or even ordering delivery,” the post reads. “To show our support, we will give you a canned beer for your receipt showing you ate a meal at any Chinatown restaurant.”

Scope out the full post below:

Free beer alert! Friends, due to unfounded rumors of Corona virus in Chinatown the businesses there are experiencing...

Posted by Axelrad on Thursday, February 20, 2020

Earlier this month, false rumors that a bakery employee at a Chinatown supermarket had tested positive for novel coronavirus proliferated on messaging app WhatsApp. Those rumors have resulted in empty dining rooms and layoffs at restaurants in the neighborhood, despite being completely unfounded.

Nu Cafe, a shave ice spot that’s operated a Chinatown location for “nearly a decade,” also weighed in on the challenges Chinatown restaurants face right now. “We have never witnessed anything like this before,” Nu Cafe’s comment on the post reads. “It really breaks our heart and we hope everyone will make it through despite the rumors.”

Axelrad’s owners aren’t the only Houstonians making pleas for diners to head to Chinatown. In a Facebook post earlier this week, chef Chris Shepherd issued a similar plea after witnessing a mostly-empty dining room at Golden Dumpling House. “There’s a lot of misinformation out there causing fear,” Shepherd wrote. “What’s true is that restaurants in Asiatown need our support right now. We ate some delicious dumplings today at a place that normally has a line out the door.”

Considering that there’s now free beer at stake, there’s literally no reason to not head to Chinatown this weekend for killer dumplings, simmering hot pots, and so much more. Scope out Eater Houston’s guide to the neighborhood’s essential restaurants before making the trek.