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Bar Area Sanlitun

Sanlitun Bar AreaAperitivo
Europeans cannot seem to stay out of this minimalist venue, which is good for a prenight out bite and or warm up drink. With bare floorboard, comfortable red chairs and sleek wooden tables, the decor is simple but refined. It sells the usual Italian dishes, including various versions of bruschetta. Charmingly, the music provides a backdrop rather than a challenge to conversation. Open from 10:00, this is a great place for coffee and Wi-Fi during the day, or a few drinks before heading on to dance.

Address: 43 Beisanlitun Nan(bar strip behind Sanlitun Lu), Sanlitun.
Tel.: 010-64177793

 

Beer Mania
Beer connoisseurs will not feel misled by the name. In this small, specialist establishment there are more than 70 imported bottled Belgian beers and 100 other types including draught and international brands. The music is relaxing, the furniture types is traditional and decoration comes by way of classic film posters. In adtion to the standard snacks, the bar has a secondary speciality of waffles, with a variety of toppings. There is a computer where customers can surf the internet for free and Wi-Fi is available. The usual wines, spirits and soft drinks can also be purchased.

Address: Taiyue Hotel 1/F, South Sanlitun Road, Sanlitun.
Tel.: 010-65850786

 

Butterfly
This bar is unbelievably similar to the Kai Club next door, right down to the pole on the dancefloor regularly buffed by drunken wannabe-strippers. Regardless, if they copied the formula they got the atmosphere right too. It is not huge, or impressively decorated, but the drinks are cheap, with bottles of Qingdao costing 10RMB. A spiral staircase joins the floor to a balcony. There are plenty of cocktails and no cover charge, the music is pretty standard, with RnB and hip-hop.

Address: Beisanlitun Nan, Sanlitun.
Tel.: 010-64176357

 

The Capital Club
Capital Club offers fine wines in a quiet, elegant enviroment. The menu features names such as Pomerol Reserve, Chateau Latour and a Chateau Lafite Rothschild (at 7,800RMB). The decoration is traditional, with comfortable, wine-coloured chairs. Upstairs there are a few private rooms with television, and more comfortable seating. With its unobtrusive jazz soundtrack, this is a good place to talk business over a spectacular bottle of wine.

Address: South Sanlitun Lu, Chaoyang District.
Tel.: 010-85952751

 

Cheers
Has the homely, pub feel of its television namesake, despite being wedged between the bars of the Sanlitun strip. There is daily live music, with western rock and alternative on weekdays and Xinjiang fusion rhythms at the weekend. It is all very compact, with a tiny stage and dancefloor with just enough room for a pool table. A pleasantly attitude-free place for a drink.

Address: 2/F, Tongli Studio Beisanlitun Nan.
Tel.: 13520446062

 

Cross Lounge Bar
Splendour and refinement come at a price at the Cross Lounge Bar. The third floor VIP section is for members only(annual membership starts at 11,200) and features a well-stocked humidor, pool table and balcony seating overlooking the live band. The menu features several pages of wines exceeding 1,000RMB and running up to 8,750RMB for a Chateau Haut Brion. Cuisine is French style, featuring dishes like fois gras and beef tenderloin with goose liver. This is a luxurious retreat for high-rollers but, with main courses priced in the 100RMB region, the more moderately-waged are not excluded.

Address: 78 South Sanlitun Lu, Sanlitun.
Tel.: 010-65865277

 

Golden Club
This is another newcomer bidding for a slice of the Sanlitun action, but Golden Club is not just a clone of better bars. There is a sculpture that looks like a huge crystal exploding, and a mural depicting women and tigers to distract you from the cramped conditions. Qingdao beer is 20RMB a bottle, which is maybe a little ambitious for what the bar offers, but the cocktails are good and the place is so near all the other Sanlitun watering holes that a quick stop will not hurt.

Address: 2/F Tongli Studio Beisanlitun Nan, Sanlitun.
Tel.: 010-64132698

 

Kai Club
The original and best, Kai is crammed with students(and some grown-ups reliving their youth). Cheap drinks draw huge crowds, but the DJs work the music well, playing anything from breakbeat to old school classics. All the fun you will have will distract you from the lack of decor. White spirits and a splash-including Red Bull-go for 10RMB, as do bottles of Qingdao.

Address: Beisanlitun Nan, Sanlitun.
Tel.: 010-64166254

 

Kokomo
Kokomo has the biggest roof terrace in town, and some of the best cocktails too. In the summer it is a great place to enjoy the night air with a frozen daiquiri, and a canopy goes over the terrace in winter. You can see the Caribbean theme in the cocktail and food menus, or hear it through the speakers. It is mostly calypso and reggae, and while other genres get played, there is no hip-hop policy. Brazilian bands play every Thursday, while weekend evenings are drum bass and classic dance hits. Wi-Fi is available and 88RMB will buy you a cocktail, appetiser and main course.

Address: 4/F Tongli Studio Beisanlitun Nan, Sanlitun.
Tel.: 010-64131019

 

Mingle
This new bar is billed as classy, but the waitresses are dressed as PVC-uniformed nurses, French maids and policewomen. The music policy is no RnB or hiphop, but instead delivers house, techo and other electronic tunes. There are several theme nights, including acid jazz on Mondays and Tuesdays, singles night on Wednesdays, and live Latin music on Thursdays. The 80s feel extends beyond the waitresses' attire to the decor, but the cocktails are generally good and the prices reasonable.

Address: Building 7, Sanlitun North Lu, Sanlitun.
Tel.: 010-64170090

 

Nanjie
This bar looks clean and more respectable, with black tables and couches, but the party atmosphere survives. The music schedule, provided by house DJs, is rock on Wednesday, reggae, Latin and hip-hop on Thurday, with alternative rock, indie and new wave on Friday. Bars serve drinks upstairs and downstairs, including a famous array of lewdly-named shooters that are 10RMB each or 12 for 100RMB. Snacks are available. The bar is just behind The Bookworm.

Address: South Sanlitun Lu, Sanlitun.
Tel.: 010-64130963

 

Poachers
Poachers is generally considered a good place to take a break from being single. It has the feel of an indie club, but that does not stop the music veering off on pop tangents. No matter the tunes, it pulls in crowds of young Chinese and expat drinkers. The drinks are cheap, with prices plastered on the bottles to save you the bother of holding a menu. A couple of murals inject some verve into the club's bare brick and concrete design, while the raised stage makes for great people watching- or dancing if you feel the urge. There is a cover charge at weekends.

Address: 43 Beisanlitun Nan, Sanlitun.
Tel.: 010-64172632

 

Q Bar

This place evokes a glamour-drenched bar from 30s Shanghai. It is stylish and modern, but with a flavour of Oriental mystery. Six floors up, the ample roof terrace provides a view, while droplet-shaped lights and designer sofas are interspersed with palm trees inside. The huge cocktail menu features 20 different martinis and an extensive range of other classics. Music is relaxed, usually jazz, except on weekend evenings when the tempo speeds up. Popular with the expat crowd, this is a great place for mingling or enjoying an open air drink in the summer. There are also regular sets by foreign DJs.

Address: 6/F Eastern Inn Hotel South Sanlitun Road, Sanlitun.
Tel.: 010-65959239

 

The Rickshaw
This is a pleasant spot for a drink and some awesome Mexican foods. It is open 24 hours, and has a decent range of western beers. There is a nice balcony by a huge glass window, which would be improved by a better view. Besides the extensive Mexican menu, including burritos, quesadillas and chimichanges, you can also enjoy big breakfasts and deep-fried Snickers bars. There is a pool table upstairs and Wi-Fi is available.

Address: South Sanlitun Lu, Sanlitun.
Tel.: 010-65004330

 

Salsa Caribe

Hugely popular with Beijing's Italian and Spanish crowds, this bar offers free salsa lessons from l9:30 to 21:00 every day. And if you cannot get the hang of it, you can watch the professionals later. The Venezuelan house band performs daily until midnight, when dance and rock tracks get slipped between the salsa classics. A big venue with a big balcony, the interior is dark but the atmosphere bright. Snacks are available and the mojitos are good.

Address: South Sanlitun Road, Sanlitun.
Tel.: 010-65077821

 

Shooters
This bar has no qualms about its aims, serving up an arsenal of different shots at 10RMB a pop-with predictable results. But the crowd is jolly rather than lairy, and happy to jig about to standard dance hits. You may hear YMCA, and it may be met with excited arm movements. The decor is plain, the drinks are cheap and the bar is usually packed. Other bars in Sanlitun are nearby, should it all get a bit much.

Address: Beisanlitun Nanlu, Sanlitun.
Tel.: 010-64163726

 

The Tree
Equally worthy as a bar or restaurant, The Tree sells delicious pizzas, 40 Belgian beers, and other tipples rarely found in Beijing, like Newcastle Brown Ale. The house beer, Tree Ale is worth a taste. The pizzas are served fresh from a stone oven, but diners seeking something else can choose from a range of dishes including croque monsieurs, soups and salmon steaks. There is a warm atmosphere and occasional live music. To find it, walk up Sanlitun Houjie, take the first left, then walk around the Youyi youth hostel.

Address: 43 Beisanlitun Nanlu, Sanlitun.
Tel.: 010-64151954