Sanlitun Bar Street, Beijing
Sanlitun is one of the best know and most popular bar streets in Beijing. Sanlitun, which is also used to refer to the general area, is located in Eastern Beijing in the Chaoyang District and forms part of the Gongti nightlife area . Despite several threats of closure, it remains fashionable with the expat community, foreign travelers and younger locals.
If you are looking to get some filler in your gut before pouring in the Qingdao, here are some good places in the Sanlitun area. These are all one street over from the main (and tiresome) drag, in the Tongli Studio area and are within a one-minute walk of each other. Kebab Nation - great kebabs, one will be enough; Saddle - huge burritos; Berber 'N - the best BBQ in the area; Fish Nation - fish and chips, naturally; The Tree - some of the city's best pizza, this is a good place to kick off the evening, since it has more of a restaurant feel. The crowds in this area tend to get younger and younger as the evening wears on and it takes on a college feel after 10 or 11 PM.
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NOTE: The Hidden Tree moved to the Sanlitun Bei Lu area (near Fish Nation) at the beginning of Feb 2005.
The Hidden Tree on the southern part of Sanlitun is a relaxed, cosy place. In the summer the tiny outside terrace is shady, if a bit claustrophobic, and in winter the red-brick interior and subdued lighting makes it a popular place for a drink.
It is owned by a Belgian, so there is a good selection of European beers. Perhaps more surprisingly is the huge pizza oven stuck onto the front of the building, and it serves (arguably) the best pizza in town.
Unlike many Sanlitun establishments, this is a attention-free bar, where you can just have a beer without suddenly finding a young lady leaping into the seat opposite or next to you.
A good place to just meet with some friends, read the paper or have a pizza.
Dress Code: No dress code.
Sanlitun Nanjie has gone. With the exception of The Hidden Tree (which is moving up to Sanlitun Bei Lu in a week or so) and Nashvilles (going to move...not really bothered if it is demolished quite frankly), the rest are gone.
By gone, I mean, gone. Demolished. Piles of rubble.
Dress Code: Hard hat, big hammers and pneumatic drills. Big dump truck without brakes optional.
This is a street with pubs and bars, all next to one another, on 1 side of the street. It does not feel as lively as the nightlife district in other places but should be experience so you have a feel (or maybe because i went there too early on Sunday night) of Beijing nightlife. Apparently Sanlitun used to be "The place" but has lost popularity in the last few years as crowds move elsewhere.
There are some "sales" guys at the entrance to most establishments ushering you to go into their place. It is basically all the same, jsut different bands performing. Pick 1 that you like and enter. We entered 1 called 'Public Space'. If you are by yourself or with a bunch of males, you might find some ladies offering you their "service".
Drinks are quite costly compared to elsewhere. I think average about RMB50 a drink.
Dress Code: None mentioned.
Sanlitun Street in Peking is the best place to find (within a small radius) bars, lounges, good restaurants. It's hip and probably collects half of all foreigners in the city on weekends. Good place to meet locals, too.
Dress Code: No dress code.
Nightlife in Beijing doesn't yet compare to London or Bangkok, but it's far far better than you'd imagine. Increasing numbers of top international DJs have begun to play clubs here and the music scene is pretty up to date. A few bands have made the trip too (Suede and Morcheeba have played here in 2003 - not the biggest of names but a sign of the growth in the music scene). Most of the nightlife is centred around the Sanlitun Embassy district. Sanlitun Lu itself has numerous bars with live music and imported beers and is a good place to start. The clientele is mixed but in most places predominantly Chinese rather than foreigners. Vogue (expensive and fashionable) probably remains Beijing's most renowned club, but to be honest it's pointless naming names. New clubs open and close so quickly that it's best just to ask around when you get there - or pick up one of the numerous free 'what's on' style magazines from a hotel or bar.
I guess everyone has heard about this Bar Street (Jiuba Jie) which real name is Sanlitun. It's where we can find foreign people in Beijing. All along the street, we would find at least a dozen of bars.
When the weather is warm enough, we can sit outside. Drinks are very expensive for China I think, a Heineken cost me 25 RMB.
I don't quite like it as it doesn't have that much ambience anymore. It's more like people watching for me.
Two bars in the south part of the SanLiTun bar district, right next too each other. Limited seating, but the alcohol is cheap! If you frequent, the bartender tends to be a bit generous.
Dress Code: Anything, just make sure you are wearing something!
Sun Lin Tun is an area in Beijing, which has all the bars and pubs with live music.. there are many in this area and you might want to take a look around before deciding on one. There is a "SWING" bar, which I thought was the best... great live music.. and a small cozy place.
Dress Code: Anything/Nothing
its not like what the name may suggest back home...its one of the bigger and popular bars on bar street...locals and foreigners mingle freely...if you wanna be close to the stage then better get there no less than 8 or 9 pm however...if the band is singing a well known song then everyone follows along so you won't miss much...the song list varies from soft rock to ballads to rock to folk...the wait staff is always less than 5 feet away so you'll never have to worry about running out something to drink...ladies selling cigars to cigarettes and even flowers for the ladies walk up and down the isles...the flower ladies are especially aggressive but eventually they'll leave you alone...its just a great place to just go and talk with you friends while listening to some great music...it has a very friendly and lively atmosphere...kinda loud so you won't be able to hear anyone more than 10 feet away but the bands are so good that you want really care...
Dress Code: no dress code...
Chao Yang District (the consulate district) - San Li Tun Clubbing area, The Den (pub and disco), The Loft (jazz live band with spacious and yuppie feel environment), The Paulaner Brauhaus (Hotel Kempinski Renassaince at Yin Sa district) with Latin music and salsa dance, foreigners filled
Filled with people of age mostly above 20's in San Li Tuen area. The Den & The Loft, locates closely to San Li Tun (within 5-10 mins cab travelling)
San Li Tun clubbing street - locals more than foreigners; The Den - half and half locals and foreigners; The Loft - mostly businessmen and mature around 30's or above; Paulaner Brauhaus (mostly foreigners)
Dress Code: Except San Li Tun area allows you to dress a bit casual, the others are suggested to have a smart casual way
Any tour book can tell you where to find 'bar street,' San Li Tun and the other really popular bars; I preferred to go out at the bars/clubs by the universities in the Haidian district, drinks are cheaper (our favorite bar was all you can drink for $5), there are fewer tourists, and you meet all kinds of interesting places.
Dress Code: anything goes at these places
Durty Nellies - it's over near San Li Tun (bar street - packed with foreigners and overpriced drinks and general craziness) Anyway, this is one of the better ones, drinks are still pretty high but it's worth the trip for the live music and cure for Guinness withdrawal. It was here that I saw a Chinese band playing 'Sweet Home Alabama' (and not doing a great job) at an Irish bar - truly an international experience.