The Best Bars in Beijing, China

Have a drink in buzzing Beijing
Have a drink in buzzing Beijing | © Michael Gordon / Shutterstock
Tom Smith

Boozy Beijing is home to one of Asia’s most exciting bar scenes. Whether you plan to visit hotel bars, distilleries or dance clubs, Culture Trip has picked the top 10 spots to have a tipple in the Chinese capital.

Classy cocktail joints, non-stop nightclubs, friendly pubs, world-class live music venues, microbreweries, craft distilleries: whatever you’re craving, the Chinese capital has a bar to quench your thirst.

1. Uncover the secret bar at Infusion Room

Cocktail Bar, Cocktails

The fashionable embassy district of Sanlitun in Beijing is sprinkled with stylish speakeasies, but Infusion Room stands out from the crowd. Behind a hidden door on the second floor of cocktail joint D Lounge, guests will find an industrial-chic venue where a friendly team whips up one of Beijing’s most inventive drinks lists – look forward to cocktails that incorporate ingredients such as oolong tea and kombu (edible kelp).

2. Listen to new talent in Beijing at Dusk Dawn Club

Music Venue

The quaint hutongs of the Gulou District represent the beating heart of Beijing’s live-music scene, and no venue is more famous than Dusk Dawn Club. Found inside a historic siheyuan structure but with an ultra-modern fit-out, DDC’s mission is to support local creatives – grab a drink and peruse the exhibition space, or sip on a cocktail on the veranda bar and appreciate the live music on the stage.

4. Enjoy international whiskeys at Xian Bar

Bar, European

Beijing’s production line of luxury hotels has given rise to a raft of great new cocktail bars, including this chic whiskey joint. Situated just south of the trendy and tourist-friendly 798 Art District, Xian Bar prides itself on its fridges full of craft beer and regular live-music gigs, as well as its enormous collection of premium imported whiskeys, which are best enjoyed on the al fresco terrace overlooking a park below.

5. Discover China's celebrated baijiu liquor at Capital Spirits

Cocktail Bar, Cocktails

A barman makes cocktails based on the Chinese spirit baijiu at the Capital Spirits Baijiu Bar in Beijing, China June 22, 2017. Picture taken June 22, 2017. REUTERS/Thomas Peter
© THOMAS PETER / REUTERS / Alamy Stock Photo

When asked what the most popular spirit in the world is, most people might answer whiskey or vodka, or perhaps even rum. But the correct answer is baijiu, a liquor distilled from grain that has an enormous fan base in China. The taste might not be for everyone, but the best place to try baijiu in the Chinese capital is Capital Spirits, a craft distillery that makes its baijiu on-site and serves it as part of a range of traditional and inventive cocktails in a cosy Dongcheng hutong bar.

6. Dance the night away at Propaganda

Nightclub, Bar, Gastropub, Pub, Cocktails

If you’re looking for a sophisticated night out, you should give the bars in the Wudaokou neighbourhood a wide berth. But if you’re searching for cheap drinks, loud music and a pumping dance floor, look no further than Beijing’s student hub. Propaganda is one of Wudaokou’s most legendary 24-hour nightspots – the oven-like temperatures on the downstairs dance floor are particularly notorious among university students.

7. Experience a slice of Belgium in Beijing at Beer Mania

Bar, Beer

There are no surprises about the drinks offering at this Chaoyang bar: it’s beer, beer and more beer. Like a little corner of Brussels transplanted into Beijing, Beer Mania curates a collection of dozens of Belgian brews, such as tart cherry-flavoured Kriek beers, bottles by legendary brewer Delirium and monk-made Trappist beers. And the Belgian specialities don’t end there – you can sink your teeth into the waffles, fries and sausages on the food menu, too.

8. Party all night at Elements Club

Nightclub, Cocktails

The Workers’ Stadium in northeast Beijing – known as Gongti to the locals – attracts two groups of people every weekend: football fans and party animals. While the sports nuts are there to see Beijing Guoan play against rival teams, the revellers pile into the dozens of glamorous nightclubs that surround the stadium, and Elements is at the top of the list. This Gongti favourite guarantees a crowded dance floor moving to the big-name line-up of DJs and EDM stars.

9. Delve into MEI's extensive drinks list

Bar, Restaurant, Hotel Restaurant, Cocktails, Wine, Beer

Staring at the glittering CCTV building from the five-star luxury of the Rosewood Hotel, punters soon realise that MEI is a hotel bar that’s anything but boring. The huge whiskey, wine and cocktail selection and the team of talented mixologists attract a young professional crowd to the intimate lounges and the spacious outdoor terrace, which gazes over Beijing’s loftiest skyscrapers.

10. Hang out with the cool kids at Mao Livehouse

Music Venue

MAO Livehouse
© Anton Hazewinkel / Alamy Stock Photo

This underground live-music venue lost some of its grungy charm when it moved from Gulou to Wukesong in Beijing’s west in 2017, but the star-studded line-ups haven’t changed. Mao Livehouse still attracts a quality roster of artists from China and abroad – gig tickets are cheap, the sound system is world-class and the venue itself oozes cool.

This is an updated version of a story created by Katherine Lee.

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