Nightlife in Beijing
Beijing bars and clubs areas
Sanlitun (三里屯; Sānlĭtún) is the most popular drinking and dancing area for foreigners in Beijing, and offers some bars on the North Street (the South Street was a much better and cheaper option, but has lately been demolished due to constructions). The eastern side of the street leading from Gōngtĭ bĕilù to Dōngzhíménwài dàjiē is lined up with more fancy bars, while the narrow hutongs on the west of the bar street offer a different style. The “Poachers Inn” is probably one of the most popular bars among foreigners in this area.
The Wŭdàokŏu (五道口) area is the paradise of university students. Most universities are located there; hence most overseas students are too. “Propaganda” is a popular underground disco almost right next to the Wŭdàokŏu (五道口) light rail station (line 13). Walk south on the road that goes along the rail line, and you’ll see it on the right side. “Lush” is on the same road even closer to the station, right on the corner and often has live music and is a more suitable option for those who feel too old for discos. For cheap drinks and a friendly atmosphere, try the “Bla Bla Bar” (known as “Bra Bra Bar” among some funny BLCU students) on the campus of Beijing Language and Culture University, or BLCU (Bĕijīng Yŭyán Dàxué; 北京语言大学).
The Hòuhăi (后海) area also offers some more upmarket places, like the Buddha Bar, Buddha Bar 2, Buddha Bar 3 and so on (The Hutong School is not affiliated with the owner of the Buddha Bars in any way, though he must be a nice person ;-). The area has a nice feel at night with the red lanterns and floating candles on the lake.
At the west side of Chaoyang Park (朝阳公园; Cháoyáng Gōngyuán) is a newer bar area with western restaurants and bars, also priced in a western manner. A modest meal goes for around 50 RMB, while if you really want to stuff yourself, prepare to pay over 100 RMB.
Near Hutong School Club Obiwan, a two-store building at the shore of Xihai Lake, offers a good combination of affordable drinks, great food and a nice atmosphere. They organise many events and it could be a perfect spot to hang out after a hard day. They are located a few hundred metres south of Jishuitan subway station.
Entertainment in Beijing
Karaoke: If you want to have fun in the local way, karaoke (卡拉OK; kălā OK), also often called KTV, is the perfect choice. It’s not about singing well, it’s about singing. There is a big KTV bar on the west side of the Workers’ Stadium (工体; Gōngtĭ) called Kāixīn Yìbăi (开心100). They have various sizes of private rooms available depending on the number of people who want to show their singing skills to each other, the smallest ones suitable for 1-3 persons up to the biggest one that can accommodate more than 10 people. You might have to wait until a room empties up.
Billiards: If you are into pool or snooker, there is a big underground billiards hall at the north gate of the Workers’ Stadium (工体北门; Gōngtĭ bĕimén). You have to go in the gate of the stadium, and the place is on the right side, next to “Mix” bar. They are reasonably priced and have plenty of pool tables, though only a couple of snooker tables.
Bowling: There are several places where you can go bowling in Beijing, since bowling is very popular in China and in Asia in general. The biggest place is called ‘Gongti 100’ (工体一百) at 8 Gongti Xilu, which has no less than 100 lanes, as the name suggests !