Interest in craft beer has grown over the past few years in Chengdu, as has its appreciation for wines and cocktails. The city’s thirst for great pubs, bars and cocktail joints has also grown in tandem with its love for live music, which is reflected in the growing number of performance venues throughout the city. Chengdu is one of the best places in China to catch underground rock, punk and hip-hop gigs.
The popular Jiuyanqiao Bar Street (九眼桥酒吧街) is one of the city’s main nightlife hubs, with lots of small, intimate bars clustered in one easily crawlable spot along the Jin River. However, there are plenty of other great drinking dens scattered throughout the city, as you’ll discover from this list of fantastic bars in Chengdu.
The Beer Nest specialises in craft and imported beers, including four house beers and the odd craft brew from further afield in China. It also has a big cocktail menu and a selection of wines and whiskies from around the world. It hosts a daily happy hour from 2pm to 8pm when house craft beers are “buy one, get one free”. The atmosphere can get lively on weekends, particularly on summer nights when crowds spill out onto the pavement. A diverse food menu includes ribs, pasta, burgers and Belgian-style mussels.
Jah Bar is a laid-back bar that hosts regular jam sessions, attracting those who enjoy alternative, indie and reggae music. During the summer, the bar’s riverside location makes it an ideal place for sunny days – chill outside on a bamboo bench with a beer or cheap mixed drink. Besides the usual selection of alcohol, you can also enjoy Jah Bar’s house-fried rice and egg pancakes.
Sitting on the 27th floor of the Ritz-Carlton, FLAIR is an expectedly swish lounge with amazing views. Its open-air space features a lot of sleek but comfortable couches to sink into, where you can appreciate the scenery of Chengdu from up high. The expansive drinks menu includes fine wines and whiskies, as well as cocktails. The food menu of tapas, sushi and snacks comes with a hefty price tag, so it’s best to just come for the drinks and skyline vistas.
This chilled-out café-bar serves everything from coffee and tea to imported beer and cocktails. Come here to relax on the comfy couches, admire Himalayan-inspired artwork and play some board games and foosball. Machu Picchu often hosts live acoustic and folk gigs and runs a very popular open-mic night, which sees Chinese and international amateurs take to the stage.
This tiny underground bar pulls in a dedicated neighbourhood crowd for drinking, dancing and vinyl records. Funky Town exudes a charmingly tattered ’70s, old-school disco vibe, and cultivates an inclusive ethos that bucks social norms. In addition to jam-packed disco and hip-hop dance parties, the venue also hosts drag nights, along with fringe and other eclectic events.
This craft-beer hub has dozens of taps serving Chinese and international craft brews, and its interior features industrial-chic furniture, encouraging you to relax and linger awhile. It also has a lovely, sun-trap terrace that sits on the first floor above the busy, upmarket Taikoo Li shopping district. There are usually lots of specials and deals for happy hour.