If a vote were held on the hippest Beijing areas of the past five years, Fangjia Hutong would poll near the top. The west end of this passage has been particularly good for grabbing a drink and a bite to eat. Unfortunately, it also one of many areas affected by a government campaign to clean up street-level shops. But while some venues have seen their facades partially bricked, they are still serving the masses. Here are a few to check out.
El Nido helped get the scene started seven years ago when it set up banks of fridges packed with craft beers from the world over. Add infused rums, a decent spirits collection and picnic tables out front, and it quickly became a place to while away an evening while enjoying drinks and watching hutong life pass by. This venue has since renewed its beer focus to keep up with the fast-paced Beijing brew scene and now has sixteen taps with both local and imported drafts.
El Nido, 59 Fangjia Hutong, Dongcheng District, +86 10 158 1038 2089
El Nido has also partnered other hutong ventures. Fang Bar next door replaces the beer focus with a cocktail one, including concoctions made with locally sourced items. In contrast to El Nido, Fang is more private, the kind of place to meet a friend or two and have a chat. Visit on Monday nights when drinks are buy two, get one free.
Those seeking a cozy candle-lit hole-in-the-wall liberally decorated with photos of rock legends should check out Cellar Door. Hang out while picking and choosing beers from the fridge or sipping wine. Consider it a younger sibling of El Nido up the street.
Hot Cat Club
Another hutong veteran is Hot Cat Club. From jazz and blues to rock and reggae, there is almost always something musical happening here. The lineup also includes comedy acts and a monthly “jumble” with homemade foods, secondhand goods and even, on occasion, a Tarot card reader.
Hot Cat Club, 46 Fangjia Hutong, Dongcheng District +86 10 6400 7868
Moxi Moxi, 55 Fangjia Hutong, Dongcheng District, +86 158 0168 0406
Ramo offers patrons a modern design and some of the city’s tastiest pizza. This place has also recently started offering a range of homemade pastas and is home to cool culinary events, whether it’s a soul food party or a Southern-themed Thanksgiving dinner.
Ramo, 64 Fangjia Hutong, , Dongcheng District +86 10 8403 5004
Beiping Machine Factory
This high-ceiling two-story brew pub packs them in, with long tables on the main floor or more intimate seating areas upstairs. There are more than 30 taps, including a few house brews and plenty of craft beers sourced both from around the city and around the world. It’s located at the far side of the courtyard just off Fangjia Hutong.
Beiping Machine Brewing, 46 Fangjia Hutong, Dongcheng District, +86 6401 1572
Mimi e Coco
Mimi e Coco is a speakeasy just around the corner from partner establishment Ramo. The focus is coolers and cocktails made with homemade ingredients and served in customized mini bottles. The Suan Mei Tang, named for a summer-time sour plum drink in China, is fruity and fresh. There are also bar snacks like filled pitas and cheese plates. And the soundproofing means parties here can get a little rowdier.
Mimi e Coco, 64 Fanjia Hutong, Dongcheng District (from 6 PM, closed Mondays) +86 10 8403 5004