The Best Hidden Hutong Bars in Beijing

Great Leap Brewing
Great Leap Brewing | © Roman Boed / Flickr
Fran Lu

The old-fashioned Beijing hutongs and the modern bar culture magically share the same characters: they are both low-key, even with a slight enigmatic quality, and the people at both places know how to enjoy life. When the two meet, the chemistry it gives off will only make customers unable to tear themselves away.

1. Yan Whiskey Bar

Pub, Pub Grub

Yan is a high-end pub located in the Qianmen area. It has a tranquil ambience that makes its customers think of nothing other than the glass of wine in their hands. The pub specializes in whisky and cocktails, the latter having no menu provided, as the professional bartenders there will make you perfect cocktails according to your personal taste. Reservation only.

2. Mao Mao Chong

Bar, Pizzeria, Italian

Mao Mao Chong is hailed by some locals as “the best small pub in Beijing,” and more than that, it also has some of the most delicious pizzas in Beijing. It’s not easy to find but once you see the graffiti on the shopfront, you’ll know you are at the right place. The shop has even curiously adapted the famous Chinese poet Li Bai’s verse “I look up to the mountain moon; Look down and think of home” (translated by Stephen Owen) into “I look up to the mountain moon with a glass of wine,” and cutely written it on its wall.

3. Kura Zanmai

Restaurant, Japanese

Technically, the Kura Zanmai Japanese pub is not on a hutong; it is hidden in a hotel on a hutong – but we just can’t resist the temptation of recommending it because, on top of the comprehensive list of quality Japanese drinks, the food is super delicious. Reservation is a must, or you’ll probably find yourself making a trip in vain.

5. 4Corners

Restaurant, Vietnamese, Gluten-free

4Corners is one of the best Vietnamese restaurants in Beijing. What has even made the place more attractive is the fact that it is one of the distributors of the local Beijing brewery Jing A Taproom. Here you may have a glass of Jing A lemon beer along with the Vietnamese pancake or pho – a definite drool-inducing combination.

6. Liao Zhai, Beijing

Gastropub, Pub, Chinese

The pub has a beautiful name, borrowed from the name of Qing dynasty-era author Pu Songling’s study, Liao Zhai, which literally means a “chatting room.” Its wines are as beautiful as its name – all traditional Chinese wines home brewed from flowers and fruits. You may also get to taste other Chinese snacks along with the wines here, such as Beijing’s Miancha (flour tea) and beans flavored with anise seed.

7. Great Leap Brewing

Bar, Bistro, Chinese

The Menu of Great Leap Brewing
© Charles Haynes/Flickr
Great Leap Brewing is one of the most prestigious local craft beer bars in Beijing. It has three branches in town, and it is said that the one in Shichahai area is its main location. It doesn’t provide any food, but you can order takeaway food from any other store you like.

8. Wiggly Jiggly’s, Beijing

Bar, Chinese

The brick wallpaper and the flowery sofas at the Wiggly Jiggly’s make it more like your grandma’s house than a bar, but that’s exactly the reason why customers are attracted to it – this harbor away from the stress of daily life is a welcome respite. The cocktails here are good, both in flavor and look.

Since you are here, we would like to share our vision for the future of travel - and the direction Culture Trip is moving in.

Culture Trip launched in 2011 with a simple yet passionate mission: to inspire people to go beyond their boundaries and experience what makes a place, its people and its culture special and meaningful — and this is still in our DNA today. We are proud that, for more than a decade, millions like you have trusted our award-winning recommendations by people who deeply understand what makes certain places and communities so special.

Increasingly we believe the world needs more meaningful, real-life connections between curious travellers keen to explore the world in a more responsible way. That is why we have intensively curated a collection of premium small-group trips as an invitation to meet and connect with new, like-minded people for once-in-a-lifetime experiences in three categories: Culture Trips, Rail Trips and Private Trips. Our Trips are suitable for both solo travelers, couples and friends who want to explore the world together.

Culture Trips are deeply immersive 5 to 16 days itineraries, that combine authentic local experiences, exciting activities and 4-5* accommodation to look forward to at the end of each day. Our Rail Trips are our most planet-friendly itineraries that invite you to take the scenic route, relax whilst getting under the skin of a destination. Our Private Trips are fully tailored itineraries, curated by our Travel Experts specifically for you, your friends or your family.

We know that many of you worry about the environmental impact of travel and are looking for ways of expanding horizons in ways that do minimal harm - and may even bring benefits. We are committed to go as far as possible in curating our trips with care for the planet. That is why all of our trips are flightless in destination, fully carbon offset - and we have ambitious plans to be net zero in the very near future.

Culture Trip Spring Sale

Save up to $1,100 on our unique small-group trips! Limited spots.

Edit article