Beijing Nightlife Guide

Live Music Clubs in Beijing

Yugong Yishan
Yugong Yishan, Beijing One of Beijing’s premier live music venues, Yugong Yishan tops most of its competitors for size, decor and sound.
Plush red curtains line the walls of the long, rectangular venue. With the bar near the entrance and the stage at the far end, it can be difficult to reach the bar to buy drinks during a show. Another setback is that the sunken mosh-pit is a little too small. Generally, though, Yugong Yishan is a great venue for live music – it regularly features top Chinese bands and occasionally hosts international acts. When there’s no event on the bar is pretty quiet, but they always play good music so it still isn’t a bad place for a few drinks. Beer starts at ¥20 while spirits and cocktails are priced from ¥25.
Ph. (010) 6404 2711 Web: www.yugongyishan.com Open: 17:00-late
Address: 2-3 Zhangzizhong Lu Subway: Zhangzizhong Lu
Show the taxi driver: 请带我去愚公移山,谢谢。地址:张自忠路3-2号。
MAO Livehouse
MAO Live is a great, grungy bar and live music venue for people to experience the Beijing rock scene.
Regular concerts are held here with an emphasis on the heavier varieties of rock and feature some of the capital’s and the country’s best known talent in these genres. The stark warehouse-style live area features a high-quality sound system and a great stage that allows the punters to get up close to the action. When there’s no action on the stage patrons are confined to the separate bar area which is fitted out with mismatched furniture and a foosball table. Drinks are very cheap with beer from ¥10, spirits from a mere ¥15 and cocktails from ¥25.
Address: 111 Gulou Dong Dajie Ph. (010) 6402 5080 Web: www.maolive.com Open: 16:00-late
Show the taxi driver: 请带我去光芒,谢谢。地址:鼓楼东大街111号。
Star Live
Star Live, Beijing A decent-sized club, Star Live can hold a few thousand patrons and boats a brilliant sound system and fine lighting effects.
This is the venue where most international bands visiting Beijing will play. Downstairs boasts a large dance floor with a small scattering of tables around the edges, while there is a VIP balcony upstairs. The stage is raised enough to provide good views everywhere in the venue but keeps the musicians close to the punters. Local acts, usually performing pop or rock, play here regularly while there are usually one or two international groups featured each month. The only downside is the incredibly small bar servicing the main area. You could miss half a performance waiting to get a drink when the place is crowded. Drinks are reasonably priced – about ¥20-30 RMB.
Ph. (010) 6425 5677 Web: www.thestarlive.com
Address: 79 Heping Xi Jie Subway: Yonghegong (Lama Temple)
Show the taxi driver: 请带我去星光现场,谢谢。地址:和平里西街79号3层(地坛南门)。
What Bar
What Bar, Beijing A miniscule live music venue and bar, What Bar is a tremendously friendly and down-to-earth place.
What Bar might be little more than a hole in the wall, but the intimate atmosphere, friendly staff and patrons, the quality music selection and the cheap drinks will ensure you have a good time. Drinks are essentially token prices with draught beer at a mere ¥10-15 and spirits and cocktails equally cheap. The staff might even offer you some free Chinese liquor, which is nice in some ways but nasty in others. When there’s a popular band playing here (always on Fridays and Saturdays) the crowd generally spills out onto the sidewalk. It’s never really big name acts that play at What Bar, but it’s a great place to hear some lesser-known Chinese bands.
Address: 72 Beichang Jie Subway: Tiananmen West Ph. 133 4112 2757 Open: 14:00-late
Directions: What Bar is a little north of the west gate of the Forbidden City.
Show the taxi driver: 请带我去什么酒吧,谢谢。地址:北长街72号。
13 Club
13 Club, Beijing 13 Club is a quality, down-to-earth venue for live music with a focus on metal, hard rock and punk.
Located in the university district, it’s a bit of a trek here for tourists. Style-wise the club has a grungy, bare-bones look. The only real decorations are posters, graffiti and some flags, while the rest of the place is dark and dirty. 13 Club hosts live showsevery Friday and Saturday and often puts on free concerts on weeknights. For big concerts tables are removed to make space for sweaty crowds, but at other times the venue boasts ample seating. When there’s no one on stage there’s a pool table and foosball table for amusement. Bottled beers are ¥20-25, spirits and cocktails are ¥20-¥35.
Address: 161 Chengfu Lu Subway: Wudaokou Ph. (010) 8261 9213 Open: 20:00-2:00
Directions: 13 Club is on Chengdu Lu, about halfway between Zhongguancun Dong Jie and Zhongguancun Bei Dajie.
Show the taxi driver: 请带我去13俱乐部,谢谢。地址:成府路161号 (蓝旗营车站下车,马路南边即是)。
Nashville
Nashville Bar, Beijing A fun and atmospheric saloon-style bar and restaurant, the two-storey Nashville is a good place to enjoy a few drinks.
The drinks menu features a fine selection of whisky and a decent range of beers with draught Tsing Tao costing ¥25 and Tiger Beer on tap for ¥30. Whisky is around the ¥35-40 mark. The menu is fairly simple but features some reasonably priced American-style snacks to stave away hunger pains. There’s live music at Nashville every night from 9:30pm – mainly old-school rock-and-roll but also some country bands. The rest of the time you’re likely to hear a Johnny Cash album stuck on repeat. Nashville also benefits from friendly and efficient staff. The 5pm-8pm 2-for-1 happy hour is the best time to visit.
Ph. (010) 5867 0298 Web: www.nashville.com.cn Open: 11:00-3:00
Address: 29 Zaoying Lu (Lucky Street) Subway: Liangmahe
Show the taxi driver: 请带我去乡谣,谢谢。地址:枣营路29号好运街。