There are quite a few unique bars, clubs and lounges in Beijing, along with a few districts that have sprung up as nightlife zones in various areas. Here’s a basic overview of where to go for a night out in Beijing.
Student Hangouts in Wudaokou
Located in the northwest corner of Beijing and often called simply “The Wu”, this is the student zone of Beijing. The international student population makes the area a hotbed of drinking, dancing and all-around partying. Popular hangouts in the Wu include Lush, Propaganda, Pyro Pizza, BlaBla Bar, and D-22.
The International Nightlife of Sanlitun
The Sanlitun area is close to both the embassy district and many of the higher-end hotels in town, so it attracts many western patrons to its bars, clubs and other attractions. Skip the bars on the main Sanlitun strip, where touts encourage passers-by to come in for overpriced cocktails and second-rate Chinese singers covering classic tunes. Instead, head to the “Nan Sanlitun” area- a cluster of venues just south of the main strip where bars like Rickshaw offer pub fare and pool tables and clubs like Tun and Salsa Caribe let visitors dance the night away.
Another cluster of clubs and bars lies in the other direction on Sanlitun, behind the 3.3 Mall at the north end of the strip. The Saddle and Lugas offer Mexican-style drinking and music, while Kai’s crowds come for the cheap shots and buzzing dance floor.
Bars and Clubs in the Houhai Area
This lake in central Beijing is so beautiful at night that visitors often don’t want to duck into one of the many clubs or restaurants along its shores and miss out on the view.
Lotus Lane is the most well-known area of the lakeshore, but exploring around the area is a great way to find other interesting places to hang out. In general, the Houhai area is more relaxed and casual than some of the other nightlife districts in Beijing. Popular nightspots in the area include No Name Bar, Lotus and La Baie des Anges.
Nightlife and Dancing Around The Workers Stadium (Gongti)
Many of the Workers Stadium clubs and bars were closed during the 2008 Olympics, due to security concerns over their proximity some of to the sporting venues. Post- Olympics, however, places like Kro’s Nest Pizza, Coco Banana and Mix are once again fill the Gongti area to capacity.
Unique Nightlife Venues in Beijing
The well-established nightlife districts aren’t the only place to find great clubs and bars in Beijing. In fact, some of the most unique places are the hidden gems scattered throughout the city. A few of the best are:
- Bed Bar – Located deep within a hutong, down a long winding alley and through an ancient doorway, Bed bar’s big feature is its kang-style beds that patrons use as seating. Curl up among the cushions and have a cocktail while light electronic music streams from an adjoining room.
- Obiwan- North of Houhai alongside the adjoining Xihai lake, Obiwan is a popular place for local expats to dance, drink, and enjoy the many events arranged by the management. Previous events have included film festival showings, capoeira demonstrations and a retro-themed dance party.
- What Bar – Situated next to the Forbidden City, this small club hosts the best local bands every weekend. Insiders say What Bar is the best place to discover up-and-coming Chinese rock talent.