The Best Bars in Sanlitun, Beijing

Sanlitun, Beijing, is about two things: embassies and bars
Sanlitun, Beijing, is about two things: embassies and bars | © testing / Shutterstock
Tom Smith

From Argentina to Zimbabwe, Sanlitun in Beijing is the cosmopolitan hub where you’ll find an array of embassies, and where embassies gather, lively bars follow suit. Embrace the international spirit as we take you on a bar-hopping journey through the best watering holes in Sanlitun. Whether you’re in the mood for a Colombian cocktail, a British beer, or a Chinese chocolate Martini, these bars have something for every palate. Get ready to enjoy a multicultural experience that pairs global flavors with vibrant nightlife. So, raise your glass and savor the best of Sanlitun’s bar scene, where every sip is a toast to the world.

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Janes and Hooch

Speakeasy-style cocktail joints are springing up all over Beijing, but this one is an institution. The decor – the wall of liquor bottles behind the bar, the polished concrete and exposed brick, a moody candlelit atmosphere and comfy leather booths – tells you everything you need to know about Janes and Hooch. All in all, it’s the perfect setting in which to sip on an old fashioned.

Beijing’s craft-beer scene is exploding, and this ultra-modern brewpub is an exciting new addition. Opening its doors on South Sanlitun Road in late 2016, Slow Boat has three industrial-chic storeys packed full of beer drinkers working their way through the ever-rotating roster of craft beers sourced from domestic and international brewers. The pub-grub menu is also a massive crowd-pleaser.

Elements Club

The glitzy nightclubs surrounding the Workers’ Stadium – or Gongti to the locals – can be hit and miss, but Elements always delivers a great night out. Pouring cheaper drinks than many of Sanlitun’s more upscale clubs, Elements attracts a lively crowd who flock to the dance floor to experience some of the biggest DJs and EDM stars from around China and across the globe.

Mesh

Mesh is a hotel bar with a difference (it’s actually fun)

Mesh might be a hotel bar, but it’s anything but boring. Part of the futuristic Opposite House hotel, it is a chic lounge where Sanlitun socialites come to see and be seen, especially on sunny summer days when the leafy outdoor patio is crowded with glamorous clientele. Mesh’s extensive wine list is also one of the best you’ll find anywhere in the Chinese capital.

La Social

The team at Latin American restaurant Mosto transformed one of its old storerooms into a bar in 2016, adding a splash of Colombian spice to this popular part of Nali Patio. You’ll always find a fiesta at La Social’s colourful 40-seat space, which combines South American murals on the walls, cocktails flowing behind the bar and Colombian fare coming out of the kitchen.

Velvet by Verde

Another Nali Patio favourite, Velvet by Verde serves fruity cocktails that go down a treat with the menu of warm and cold tapas. Velvet pioneers ‘gastrobotany’ in China, cooking with plants that you wouldn’t normally expect to find on a menu, but sticks to more familiar ingredients when it comes to the drinks list – the watermelon cocktail is the house specialty.

Top Bar

This lounge bar specialises in beer and whiskey – and lots of it. Situated inside the opulent InterContinental hotel, Top Bar prides itself on a long list of brews and malts from every corner of the globe. The venue supplies a suitably stylish setting to enjoy your tipple, with a spacious outdoor terrace overlooking the streets of Sanlitun below.

Infusion Room

This tiny cocktail joint stands out from the many other swanky speakeasies in Sanlitun thanks to the service from the talented team behind the bar. After you’ve made your way through the secret entrance in fellow cocktail bar D Lounge, ask the bartenders what they can whip up for you; Infusion Room doesn’t have an official drinks menu, but the renowned mixologists can create intoxicating concoctions depending on your tastes.

Unico

Sitting on the fifth floor of the Topwin Centre, Unico is a modern gastrolounge that gazes out over Sanlitun through its huge floor-to-ceiling windows. The space is spacious and stylish, the food and drink menu is one of the most luxurious in the neighbourhood and there’s a little added extra on top… literally. The Roof is one of Beijing’s hottest rooftop bars, serving cocktails and oysters with a view to match.

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