Beijing Nightlife Guide

Dive Bars and Drinking Holes in Beijing

Cheers Taproom
Cheers Taproom, Beijing Cheers Taproom is a decent drinking hole in the Tongli Studio that is rough-looking in an endearing sort of way – a pleasant dive if you will.
Cheers labels itself both a bar and an art gallery on the basis of the array of paintings of dubious quality that are scattered around the walls. Bottled beer costs between ¥20-35 with the local draught a bargain at just ¥10. But 2-for-1 deals that last until much later than most other bars make Cheers cheaper than the menu suggests. Cocktails and spirits are around ¥35. In other features, the rock-and-roll soundtrack adds to the atmosphere, as does the Xinjiang Band on Friday nights. A tiny pool table makes for very quick games.
Address: Sanlitun Hou Jie, Tongli Studios, 2nd Floor Subway: Tuanjiehu Ph. 135 2044 6062
Show the taxi driver: 请带我去三里屯后街同里2层,谢谢。
Kai Club
Kai Club, Beijing Kai Club is a cheap Sanlitun drinking hole that rises above the other nearby purveyors of cut-rate alcohol.
It manages to outshine its rivals by virtue of a tiny dance floor, DJs and a second floor that isn’t such an objectionable place to sit. Beers start at ¥10 for Tsing Tao, which is the same as the price for shooters (although some are just ¥5 before 10pm). Cocktails and spirits are equally cheap at around ¥25. Drawing mainly a young, foreigner-dominated crowd, Kai Club isn’t a nice place by any stretch of the imagination, but it can be a fun place and even become quite rowdy on a busy night.
Address: Sanlitun Bei Jie Subway: Tuanjiehu Ph. (010) 6416 6254 Open: 18:00-3:00
Show the taxi driver: 请带我去开吧,谢谢。地址:三里屯北街3.3商场西侧。
Youth Club
Youth Club, Beijing Formerly known as Poachers Inn, Youth Club is large den-like bar that mainly attracts a young student crowd.
At Youth Club you can sit and drink at hefty, shabby wooden tables – the way drinking is supposed to be done. Tsing Tao is the cheapest offering at ¥10 while cocktails and spirits are quite cheap at ¥25-30. Carlsberg draught is the most appetizing drink on offer. Youth Club has something of a reputation as a pick-up joint and can become very crowded on weekends when a mishmash of pop music blares away.
Ph. 6417 2632 Open: 20:00-2:00
Address: 43 Sanlitun Beijie Subway: Tuanjiehu
Show the taxi driver: 请带我去青年吧,谢谢。地址:三里屯北街43号。
Pure Girl
Pure Girl Bar, Beijing After spending a year in enforced closure, the infamous dive bar Pure Girl reopened in April 2009.
As always, it’s a simple place offering very cheap drinks and not a lot else. Inside, Pure Girl is shabby and the oppressive decor can make the place downright depressing. Not to mention that the music is far too loud and the bar is very cramped. But, when the weather permits, the outside tables are a nice place to perch with a drink and watch the passing people. Beers are ¥10-20 and cocktails and spirits average around ¥25. Friendly staff help make Pure Girl more enjoyable. The beggars that hassle you while you drink do not.
Address: Sanlitun Hou Jie (opposite Tongli Studio) Subway: Tuanjiehu
Show the taxi driver: 请带我去清纯女孩,谢谢。地址:三里屯北街(同里对面)。
Huxley’s
Huxleys Bar, Beijing Huxley’s is a well-known and popular dive where it’s possible to get very drunk on very little money.
Huxley’s draws in a mixture of tourists and ramshackle expats – you’ll likely meet a character or two here. It’s a concrete-walled, bare-bones venue with hard, uncomfortable furniture. But the whole point of the place is drinking – nothing more. Bottled beer costs ¥10-20, cocktails run from ¥20-30 and spirits average around ¥25. Shooters are a mere ¥10. Quite a small bar, it can become very crowded on a busy night with queues to buy drinks a pain. The graffiti on the walls, penned by past visitors, proves a mild distraction, but lacks any great wit or insight. It seems Huxley’s isn’t frequented by the literary greats.
Address: 16 Yandai Xiejie Ph. (010) 6402 7825 Open: 17:00-3:00
Show the taxi driver: 请带我去德彼酒吧,谢谢。地址:烟袋斜街16号(后海)。
Houhai Zoo
Houhai Zoo, Beijing Houhai Zoo is a basic drinking hole that is slightly classier than some of the other bars in this category around Houhai Lake.
Not that they’ve gone to any effort with the interior, but the Houhai Zoo is relatively clean and comfortable. However, little of the lake is visible and there’s not much to please the eyes inside. Cheap drinks are the biggest drawcard. Bottled beer is ¥10-20, cocktails are ¥20-30, spirits average ¥25 and shooters are ¥10. A quality music mix featuring mainly non-mainstream hip-hop and experimental tracks makes for a more enjoyable and livelier atmosphere than elsewhere. Not a bad bar for pre-drinking and it’s possible even to spend a full night here.
Address: Bldg. 2 Qianhai Nanyan Ph. (010) 6403 6690 Open: 16:00-2:00
Directions: Houhai Zoo is on the south-east shore of Qianhai Lake.
Show the taxi driver: 请带我去后海动物园,谢谢。地址:前海南沿2号楼1层(后海)。