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Bar Area Shichahai

Shichahai Bar AreaAzucar Bar

You have to hunt for substance in the numerous bars around Houhai but Azucar had it. You will not find the meaning of life, buy you will avoid irritating touts ans atrocious musicians. With its fleet of old sofas, jazzy music, a fussball table and the occasional classic film poster, this is a good choice for retro fans. The food is not up to much, but the drinks are all fine and reasonably priced for the area.

Address: Yandaixie Jie, Houhai.
Tel.: 010-84027477


A trip to Huxleys is essential for newcomers to the bar scene of Beijing. This was where the phrase 'shut up, just drink' was born. Since then, the slogan has encouraged hords of students into near-fatal intoxication in this tumbledown shack. The tiny wall space is covered with knockoff Simpsons posters and graffiti. And all the shooters are there, including the Taiwan Duck Fart(whisky, Kahlua and Baileys). Besides that, it is the cheapest place to drink in Houhai.

Address: 16 Yandaixie jie(alley between Yin Ding Bridge and Dianmen), Houhai.
Tel.: 010-64027825


East Shore Jazz Cafe
It is a contender for best bar in Houhai, live jazz plays every night from Thursday to Sunday and there is no cover charge. The walls are decked with photos of performers and a semi-acoustic guitar is sunk into the wall behind glass. The atmosphere is chatty without disrupting the music and in summer there is a roof terrace and great views of the lake.

Address: 2 Shichahai Nanyan Dianmen Waidajie, Houhai.
Tel.: 010-84032131


Club Obiwan
Many lament that lakeside Houhai has been swarmed by cheap bars and the accompanying desperate touts. However, the next door lake, Xihai, is relatively unscathed, and Obiwan is a great place to enjoy it. A rooftop terrace affords a view of the lake and there are two floors below, Beijing's best Reggae night takes place very Sunday and features a sizzling Jamaican barbecue. There are film nights on Thursday and an open deck night on Wednesday. Drink prices are cheap to moderate. It is 250m south of the subway.

Address: 4 Xiyan, Xihai.
Tel.: 010-66173231


Casa Blanca
Huge music of European scenery line the walls of this bar and the menu features pizza, pasta, sandwiches and snacks. There is a growing wine list alongside the other alcoholic drinks, including international beers and cocktails that are priced from 30RMB to 45RMB. A Xinjiang musician performs a mix of modern Chinese pop hits and folk music every day. The staff are friendly and though the atmosphere isnot enchanting, it is colorful.

Address: 14 Nanyan, west of Yinding Bridge, Houhai.
Tel.: 010-66131929


La Baie des Anges

Another great Houhai bar. The furniture and decor are modern and stylish, featuring landscape painting, mostly of the French countryside. The music is finely tuned by the brothers who run the place, but generally features jazz and French music on Wednesdays. The menu is French too, including pate and croque monsieurs, all ably made. The wine list is all bottles range in price up to 4,000. There are regular theme nights and Wi-Fi is available.

Address: 5 Nanguanfang Hutong, Houhai.
Tel.: 010-66571605


No Name Bar
This was the first bar to open in Houhai and many feel it is a shame the others followed. Tacky venues may have appeared, but No Name still offers class and a mellow atmosphere. Decorated with beautiful Yunnanese curios, basket chairs and glass-topped tables, world music completes the atmosphere. Shisha pipes are available in apple or stawberry, and Yunnan dishes are served at the nearby restaurant. To find the bar, look for the one-storey building draped with leaves, just south west of the Yinding Bridge between Houhai and Qianhai lakes.

Address: 1 Dajinsi Hutong, Houhai.
Tel.: 010-64018541