The Best Bars in Chengdu, China

Chengdu is a lively place with a thriving bar scene
Chengdu is a lively place with a thriving bar scene | © Stockinasia / Alamy Stock Photo
Megan Eaves

Chengdu, one of China’s most vibrant, young-spirited cities, is full of great places to go drinking. Here are 10 of the best bars in the Sichuan capital for a tipple.

Interest in craft beer has grown over the past few years in Chengdu, as has its appreciation for wines and cocktails. The city’s thirst for great pubs, bars and cocktail joints has also grown in tandem with its love for live music, which is reflected in the growing number of performance venues throughout the city. Chengdu is one of the best places in China to catch underground rock, punk and hip-hop gigs.

Chengdu has a thriving bar scene

The popular Jiuyanqiao Bar Street (九眼桥酒吧街) is one of the city’s main nightlife hubs, with lots of small, intimate bars clustered in one easily crawlable spot along the Jin River. However, there are plenty of other great drinking dens scattered throughout the city, as you’ll discover from this list of fantastic bars in Chengdu.

1. Music House for live music

Bar, Pub Grub

There are several locations of this arty lounge, but the best one is in the Lan Kwai Fong entertainment district, where there are live bands every night. The musical genres featured in the line-up range from Chinese pop and blues to hip-hop. There are sometimes guest performers, which in the past have included international groups such as French post-rock band Microfilm and Taiwanese Mandopop artist Lo Ta-yu. The choice of cocktails is varied and extensive.

2. The Beer Nest for summer beers on the street

Bar, Craft Ale Bar, Beer

The Beer Nest specialises in craft and imported beers, including four house beers and the odd craft brew from further afield in China. It also has a big cocktail menu and a selection of wines and whiskies from around the world. It hosts a daily happy hour from 2pm to 8pm when house craft beers are “buy one, get one free”. The atmosphere can get lively on weekends, particularly on summer nights when crowds spill out onto the pavement. A diverse food menu includes ribs, pasta, burgers and Belgian-style mussels.

3. Little Bar for serious punk concerts

Bar, Beer

Little Bar and its younger sibling, New Little Bar, are two of the best places to catch live gigs – especially punk and rock – in Chengdu. This tiny bar-club lies in the Yulin district – the heart of the city’s rock scene. Past performances have included Chinese hardcore band Noise Gate and British metalcore group While She Sleeps. New Little Bar is quite small and super busy on weekends and during concerts – expect a rowdy punk crowd. Gig tickets cost anything from ¥30-100 (£3.34-11.12).

4. Jah Bar for riverside reggae

Bar, Beer, Snacks

Jah Bar is a laid-back bar that hosts regular jam sessions, attracting those who enjoy alternative, indie and reggae music. During the summer, the bar’s riverside location makes it an ideal place for sunny days – chill outside on a bamboo bench with a beer or cheap mixed drink. Besides the usual selection of alcohol, you can also enjoy Jah Bar’s house-fried rice and egg pancakes.

5. Mooney’s Bar for upscale drinks on a nice terrace

Bar, Pub, Beer, Wine

Part of the Shangri-La Hotel Chengdu, Mooney’s Bar is an upscale Irish-themed pub with a beautiful terrace and regular live cover bands. A classic of the “China international hotel bar” genre, Mooney’s serves imported beers, mixed drinks, wines and a menu of international comfort food. The sirloin steaks and red wines are a consistently popular option.

6. FLAIR for cocktails with a serious view

Bar, Wine, Cocktails, Tapas

Sitting on the 27th floor of the Ritz-Carlton, FLAIR is an expectedly swish lounge with amazing views. Its open-air space features a lot of sleek but comfortable couches to sink into, where you can appreciate the scenery of Chengdu from up high. The expansive drinks menu includes fine wines and whiskies, as well as cocktails. The food menu of tapas, sushi and snacks comes with a hefty price tag, so it’s best to just come for the drinks and skyline vistas.

7. Jellyfish Bar for dancing the night away

Bar, Pub Grub

If in doubt, head to Jellyfish Bar in the Lan Kwai Fong entertainment district; Chengdu’s biggest nightclub is a crowd-pleaser. An evening of entertainment here begins with a few games of pool and an expertly crafted tipple. Then, it heads to the dance floor – the in-house DJ and expert mixologists will keep you here until the early hours. The friendly bartenders welcome you to order off the menu or try one of their unique creations.

8. Machu Picchu for folk music and chilled drinks

Bar, Cafe, Coffee, Tea , Beer, Cocktails

This chilled-out café-bar serves everything from coffee and tea to imported beer and cocktails. Come here to relax on the comfy couches, admire Himalayan-inspired artwork and play some board games and foosball. Machu Picchu often hosts live acoustic and folk gigs and runs a very popular open-mic night, which sees Chinese and international amateurs take to the stage.

9. Funky Town for a neighbourhood bar with an edge

Bar, Cocktails

This tiny underground bar pulls in a dedicated neighbourhood crowd for drinking, dancing and vinyl records. Funky Town exudes a charmingly tattered ’70s, old-school disco vibe, and cultivates an inclusive ethos that bucks social norms. In addition to jam-packed disco and hip-hop dance parties, the venue also hosts drag nights, along with fringe and other eclectic events.

10. Foam Ranger for craft beer on a perfect rooftop

Bar, Craft Ale Bar, Beer

This craft-beer hub has dozens of taps serving Chinese and international craft brews, and its interior features industrial-chic furniture, encouraging you to relax and linger awhile. It also has a lovely, sun-trap terrace that sits on the first floor above the busy, upmarket Taikoo Li shopping district. There are usually lots of specials and deals for happy hour.

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