The Nine Best Bars in Guilin, China

Li River
Li River | ©一元 马/Flickr
Bailey Berg

After a long day of traversing rice terraces and soaking up the natural beauty of the area, you’re ready to unwind with a couple of choice cocktails, right? Here’s our guide to some of the best watering holes to choose from in Guilin.

1. Baidu Bar

Bar, Chinese

Hidden hills, Li River
© Grey World/Flickr
Though the bar shares the name with China’s version of Google, there isn’t a connection. What this bar is more commonly associated with is being right on the banks of the famous Li River. Locals and laowai (foreigners) rub shoulders at this bar because it caters to both Chinese and Western bar cultures. Don’t leave without belting out your favorite ballad in the KTV lounge on the second floor.

2. Cats & Rabbits

Bar, European

Hookah
© Quinn Dombrowski/Flickr
This upbeat bar is one of the more popular amongst expats, thanks to its substantial beer selection (it even occasionally has home brews), hookah and live music. It also hosts parties and bar crawls for major Western holidays like St. Patrick’s Day and Halloween.

3. U Bar

Bar, Chinese

Billards
© Leo Hidalgo/Flickr
Thanks to its location outside the downtown district in the Shangri-La Hotel, this bar maintains a pretty mellow vibe. Fitting, considering the Chinese character for “U” means “relaxed, free and easy.” The decor calls back to a bygone era with records used as wall art and pool tables as the dominant features. Don’t let the billiards fool you, though. This place is fancy, making it an ideal place for cocktails and quiet conversation. Bonus: The bathrooms are Western-style.

5. Guilin Back Garden Irish Pub

Bar, Pub, Irish, Chinese

Guinness
©Yumi Kimura/Flickr
A favorite amongst older expats, Houyuan Irish Pub boasts a classic Irish pub experience. Down the road from Amani Bar on the Zhengyang Pedestrian Street, this bar offers indoor and outdoor seating and often has live music.

6. Paulaner Bar

Bar, German

6. Paulaner Bar
©Don LaVange/Flickr
For those jonesing for a malty German brew, Paulaner Bar is the place to go. You can enjoy their namesake Paulaner, along with Erdinger, Ayinger and other well-known Bavarian beers and wines. Enjoy them either inside or on the cozy outdoor patio. If the sports paraphernalia doesn’t clue you in, this is also a good place to watch soccer matches.

7. Pan Street Bar

Bar, Chinese

You’ll hear Pan Street Bar before you see it. That’s because all the seating is outside — all the space inside is taken over with a massive bar. The al fresco seating gives the vibe that you’re at a buddy’s backyard bash, rather than on one of the busiest shopping streets in town.

8. Muse Music Club

Nightclub, Pub Grub

Neon swirl
©Thomas Quine/Flickr
The biggest nightclub in Guilin, this venue gives insight into the Chinese club culture with fruity drinks, neon lights, snacks and often Russian dancers performing on the stage.

9. Degree Bar

Bar, Chinese

Sun and Moon Pagodas, Guilin / China
© martin/Flickr
Considering it’s on the Li River and connected to the Sheraton Hotel, 100 Degree Bar is a little more upscale than the other downtown bars. It’s also a favorite among locals who will go in large groups to jam out in the private KTV rooms upstairs.
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