A Music Lover’s Guide to Kunming

Thursday night in Kunming
Thursday night in Kunming | © Philippe Semanaz/Flickr
Jessica Larson-Wang

Kunming, with it’s ethnic-infused blends of folk, rock, and even hip hop, has taken a unique place in the Chinese music scene. With multiple live music venues, no matter what night of the week it is, you are sure to find the perfect spot for your night on the town in Kunming.

ModernSky Lab 摩登天空

The ModernSky Lab, associated with the label ModernSky that is responsible for the Strawberry Music Festival, one of the oldest and largest music festivals in China, is a relative newcomer to the Kunming scene. This venue spares no expense when it comes to attracting acts both large and small. While most shows are not free (there are occasional exceptions), the talent that performs here are generally worth the ticket prices, which can run from 30RMB up to 200 or so RMB per head. ModernSky Lab may not be your local expat watering hole, but it is fast becoming a premier venue to experience talent from around Asia and beyond.

569 Dianchi Rd, Nanya Shopping Center B1 New Mall 3rd Floor (across the street from the elephant statue),南亚风情第壹城B1 NEW MALL三层

The Mask

Located within Kunming’s seedy nightlife district, Kundu, the Mask is one of the oldest nightlife venues in Kunming. Electronica nights with famous local DJs are common, and many local, as well as expat acts, also take to The Mask’s stage. There is never a dull moment in Kundu, where the party rages on until the wee hours of the morning.

14 Kundu Night Market, 昆都夜市 14号

The Mask

The Half-Angle 半角酒吧

The Half-Angle, like Fubar, is a smaller more intimate bar whose live music shows are limited in scope and noise level by its size and location within a residential area. Nevertheless its loyal patrons party hard. The style of music on show ranges from electronica to relaxed acoustic sets. Usually these shows are free, although occasionally there is a small cover charge.

2 London Street, Think UK apartments, 88 Jiaoling Lu, 茭菱路88号创意英国伦敦街2号

Half Angle

O’Reilley’s Irish Pub 爱尔兰酒吧

O’Reilley’s has a great menu of both entrees (including some of the best burgers in Kunming), bar food and beers. But there’s a catch – you’ll find no cocktails at this venue. It is strictly beer only. Prices are moderate and generally there is no cover charge to see shows.

Beimen Jie #119, Building 1 Adjacent building 1, 北门街119号一层附一号

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