After a long, hard day of checking out Beijing’s most exciting contemporary art galleries, quench your thirst at one of the best bars in the 798 Art District.
Occupying a converted military complex on the north-east fringe of China’s capital, the 798 Art District is home to dozens of cutting-edge modern art galleries… and seeing them all is thirsty work. Put your feet up with a quiet drink or three at one of these great bars sprinkled around this neighbourhood.
The first Chinese outpost of legendary London petrolhead hub, Ace Café, the venue occupies an old train station in the middle of this abandoned military precinct – a suitably industrial-chic backdrop for Ace’s cold beers, colourful cocktails and mouthwatering Western-style food menu.
Taking its design inspiration from the opulent Ming Dynasty, NUO Hotel is one of the most luxurious places to stay in the Chinese capital – and it boasts an intimate lounge bar to match. O’Bar bills itself as the place “where Beijing’s beautiful people unwind”, serving modern cocktails and expensive bottles of champagne to the glamorous crowd that congregates on the outdoor sun terrace and in the cosy lounge.
The Gracie Art Hotel 798 doesn’t just contain 24 gorgeous boutique rooms – it also features one of the most upscale cocktail bars in the 798 Art District, serving a creative menu of modern mixology in a high-end lounge setting. A meal at the hotel’s Yi House Mediterranean-style bistro should also be on your list – the brunch is regarded as one of the best in the city.
If you’re looking for a night-out so good that you won’t remember it, this is the place to go. Sitting near the Bahe River south-west of the 798 Art Zone, Forgot Bar’s name is a good indication of what to expect — a dimly lit ambience, chilled-out music and a wide selection of beer, wine and spirits make it the perfect place to forget your worries.
One of 10 Laker’s venues dotted around the Chinese capital, this restaurant-bar is perfect for visitors looking for a quiet alfresco beer while watching the world go by. The friendly service and fast food menu suits the American-style sports bar vibe, but the prices are more affordable than most other tourist-friendly venues in the area.
There are no shortage of Italian eateries in the 798 Art District, but this one stands out from the crowd. Eatalia Unique boasts a wide selection of authentic Italian wines imported from Europe, which match perfectly with the pizza, pasta and delectable desserts on the traditional Mediterranean food menu.
Beijing is home to a growing craft beer culture, and this stylish microbrewery stands at the forefront of the scene. Boutique beer lovers will love Ram Brewpub’s long line of taps pouring local and international brews, best enjoyed with a burger off the pub grub menu in the leafy outdoor seating area.
Located just south of the 798 Art District, this laid-back lounge bar sits at the bottom of the ultra-modern EAST Hotel. From the live music to the outdoor terrace overlooking the park, the Xian bar is an inviting place to relax over a glass of whisky or a bottle of craft beer from the extensive imported drinks list.
You can find an Irish bar in nearly every city on earth, and Beijing is no exception. The Irish Volunteer is just that pub in this corner of the Chinese capital, pouring the perfect pint of Guinness to wash down a burger or a pizza off the food menu. Situated on Jiangtai Lu just a short stroll from the 798 Art District, the Irish Volunteer is a friendly neighbourhood bar that’s popular with international visitors.
This restaurant-bar in the heart of the 798 area plates up authentic Japanese food – we’re talking ramen, tempura and sushi that tastes as good as it does in Tokyo – as well as a drinks list to match. Choose a classic Japanese beer or whisky, a bottle of sake (rice wine), or try some shōchū, a strong spirit distilled out of rice, barley, sweet potatoes, buckwheat or brown sugar.