Sanlitun is famous for its bar street, where many bars are known for its dancers and multicolored lighting. But you are wrong if you think Sanlitun is just that. There are bars where you can make the most of happy hour with your pals, enjoy a glass of wine alone, or taste the locally brewed beers
. It is a pity that the famous Dirty Bar Street was demolished recently as part of urban renovation plans, but luckily, there are still some good bars to discover.
Bar, Spanish, $$$
Velvet is a tapas bar located in the Nali Patio, the place where the fanciest western restaurants and bars gather. You can enjoy the exquisitely made Spanish dishes here, or you could just have a drink. The greenish interior and the warm yellow lighting create a laid-back vibe that is ideal for time spent alone or with an intimate companion. Do remember to try their signature watermelon cocktail, as no words can describe how amazing it is!
Bar, American, Japanese, $$$
Moonshine has a dreamlike interior, with the dim lighting and plenty of seating, giving it a magical ambience and making it the perfect place to while away an evening. You could talk to the knowledgable bartender about the impressive cabinet of various kinds of whiskeys.
Bar, Tea Room, Chinese, $$$
The bar’s name might make you confused about its identity – perhaps it should be a tea house? Creatively mixing cocktails with tea and alcohol, Long Jing is actually a combination of tea house and bar. You can’t miss their speciality Long Jing Cocktail, which is mixed from Longjing green tea leaves. The bar has seasonal cocktails, so if you wish to taste the Vernal Equinox or the Winter Solstice, then Long Jing is the bar for you.
Bar, Contemporary, $$$
Located on the 10th floor of a high-rise building in the Yongli International compound, the bar is difficult to find by first-timers in Sanlitun, but is always full of regulars. Here, you can enjoy quality time catching up with your friends, while drinking beautifully named cocktails. You can look out the window and gaze at the night view of the Workers’ Stadium area.
Bar, Japanese, $$$
Sanlitun has many small bars hidden in buildings, and MANNA is another of them. It’s located on the 19th floor of a building in Yongli International, which makes it a secluded space where you can have a relaxed drink. What makes MANNA especially unique is it doesn’t have a fixed menu. You can tell the bartender how you are feeling that day, and the bartender will mix you a cocktail according to your mood.
Bar, American, $$$
Fancy some local beers? Jing-A Taproom is your top choice! The beers are all crafted from selected wheat and grains in China. Other than the beers, there are also cocktails and soft drinks, and a range of brunches and snacks for you to choose from; the best times to stop by here are in the morning or late evening. Located in the 1949 Hidden City, an artistic compound, you might be able to enjoy some time away from the crowds, too.
Bar, American, $$$
Sitting on the 6th floor of the 3.3 Building, the jazz bar Mokihi No.3 is a hidden treasure that you may fall in love with the instant you step into its American vintage-style space. The bartender, Sam, is a legendary figure, and is said to be the teacher of a few good bartenders in Beijing. Sit at the bar and have a chat with him; you might be able to learn a trick or two.
Bar, Dessert, $$$
The Awfully Chocolate café & bar in Sanlitun is the first Beijing branch of the Singapore store that specializes in everything chocolate, including chocolate-flavored pastry, and of course, chocolate cocktails. You can’t imagine what a match chocolate and martini is before you try the chocolate cocktails at Awfully Chocolate. Both their dark chocolate martini and white chocolate martini are highly recommended.