Where to go for a drink in Beijing

Posted by on Sep 30, 2014 in Asia, China, Travel | 0 comments

Where to go for a drink in Beijing

Sanlitun is one of the most popular drinking areas for expats in Beijing with a plethora of bars and the notorious “bar street”.

In the Sanlitun area:

Janes & Hooch
With a stylish 1920s vibe Janes & Hooch “urban saloon” is a great place to start your night with a pre dinner cocktail or two.  It is pricey for Beijing at around 80 RMB for a drink, however they are a delicious blend of flavours and the atmosphere is relaxed and enjoyable.  They describe themselves as “A touch of class, minus the wank.”  Conveniently located across from The Rug, Homeplate and Taco Bar which are all good dinner options for before or after cocktail hour at Janes & Hooch.

With a similar prohibition era vibe to Janes & Hooch, Miles has an extensive scotch and cocktail menu with something for everyone.  Drinks are around 60 RMB, and the atmosphere is quite sophisticated with leather booths and some bar tables.  This is a great place to come on a romantic date or with a small group of four, but I wouldn’t suggest it for large groups.

Nearby the Tree
If you can’t get into Miles because you have a large (and rowdy) group, head next-door to Nearby the Tree.  This is a relaxed pub type venue great for late nights when you want somewhere with reasonably priced drinks and room for everyone.  The opposite of Janes & Hooch and Miles, this place is very laid back and the decor is not much to look at (check out the weird egg container type things on the roof!)  Nonetheless it’s conveniently located and great to chill out with a group of friends.


Could this be heaven..?

Heaven Supermarket
Down the road from Miles and Nearby the Tree is Heaven Supermarket, where you can buy your drinks out of the supermarket fridge at supermarket prices, then sit outside on the classy plastic chairs and enjoy!  Needless to say this place is a winner in the warmer months when you actually want to sit outside.  I love it because it’s cheap and fun, and because the nanny state of Australia would never allow a place like this to exist!

The Local
The Local is the place to go when you want to watch the soccer / cricket / rugby etc over a beer and some wings.  With two levels and several tv screens on both it gets pretty packed with expats when there’s a major sporting event being shown.  Drinks are reasonably priced, my favourite is the “Naughty Pear” made with cinnamon gin which will set you back 40 RMB, or 30 RMB during happy hour.

The Local

Having a beer and watching the rugby at The Local


In the CBD area:

At the top of the Shangri La this bar has awesome views of the city (that is if there’s not a lot of smog hanging around..)  They also often have live music on Friday and Saturday nights, but be warned the bar isn’t that big and gets filled up quickly, so I suggest you book.

Located downstairs in the Kerry Hotel, Centro is a more relaxed alternative to Atmosphere.  The place is quite big and the service is pretty good, not to mention they usually have great live jazz music.  It’s also easy to get a cab afterwards from out the front of the hotel, which is always a nice change from the nightmare of Sanlitun.


In Shuangjing:

Plan B
Located in the art district of north pingod this is a great place to kick back with a  cold beer at an outdoor table in the summer time.  They offer up classic pub grub like burgers, ribs and wings as well as a few salads and even a veggie basket for those of us that prefer something less meat orientated.  Ian and Trevor who run the place are super friendly, and they import some good wines too.


Another spot with many watering holes is Wudaoying hutong (just near Yonghegong subway station), a favourite of mine there is Argo, a Greek restaurant with a rooftop area where you can sit under the stars among old hutong rooftops with a glass of wine – perfect!

Tree lined Nanluoguxiang hutong and Houhai also have many bars on offer, the ones in Houhai line the canal and although they are somewhat 1970s with velour seats, it’s nonetheless nice to relax by the water with a drink in hand.



Chilling out on pink velour seats in Houhai


If you’re looking for where to eat, have a read of my top non-Chinese options here.

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