Zhongguancun might be known as China’s Silicon Valley, but it’s also the university hub of Beijing. And where there are universities, there are thirsty students and teachers. These are the best places to grab a drink in Zhongguancun.
Bar, Restaurant, Bistro, Cafe, Nightclub, American
Lush is one of the rare bars in Beijing that has stood the test of time. Ever since opening in 2003, it has only grown in popularity, thanks to the affordable food and drink (try the burger) and lively, community-focussed atmosphere. Lush has weekly pub quizzes that attract a large crowd, and it was the first place in China to host open-mic nights – many performers got their big break here.
This popular neighbourhood restaurant and bar works just as well for a family meal as it does for an after-work drink or weekend party. The bar is simple and straight to the point with a short drinks menu of beers and mixed drinks. Its food menu is also concise, offering burgers, sandwiches, pizzas and other typical bar food. There’s nothing fancy about The Steps, but then that is part of its charm.
This place is all about good music and good drinks. More of a live-music venue than a club, 13 Club books bands and performances from within China and abroad. Some nights it’s an indie band, and, on other nights, it can be punk rock or even folk artists. So grab a beer or a cocktail from the bar, sit back and rock on.
Zhongguancun may not be known for high-end cocktail bars, but that hasn’t stopped Catail from setting up shop here. A cocktail bar and lounge offering creative concoctions in a cool, speakeasy-esque setting, Catail is a versatile space where you can easily come with a date or a larger group.
Even though Orange Bar is technically a hotel bar, sitting on the ground floor of the Ariva Beijing West Hotel, don’t rule it out. It’s a solid place to grab a drink in the area, with a strong list of spirits, especially whiskies and cognacs.
Pyro Pizza is a restaurant and bar where you can get classic New York-style thin-crust pizza and beer at an affordable price. Opened by the group behind Lush, Pyro Pizza has become a favourite among Zhongguancun residents for friendly gatherings. They also have beer-pong tournaments on Thursday nights, which are always good fun even if you’re not a student.