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.
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.
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.
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.
One of the oldest establishments on the Zhengyang Pedestrian Street, this open-air bar is on the corner of the busiest intersection, making it a prime locale for people watching. People come to Amani for the Western food (the place slings well-above-average pizza and pasta for China), fruity liquor drinks and European brews.
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.
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.
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.
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.